This post was supposedly published on Monday of this week, but the post is sitting in ‘Drafts.’ I’m not sure what to make of this anomaly. Rather than edit it, know that Jane and I hung out in the ER a week ago yesterday.
My daughter called me Wednesday just as I was leaving a community to tell me that Jane was being transported to the hospital. She’d fallen out of her wheel chair in her apartment, and then was ill. It was assumed she had hit her head. The two go together.
I joined Jane at the ER. Test result showed no head trauma or broken bones. Blood work looked good. There’s a slight, slight chance she had an aspiration pneumonia, but as she has no symptoms, they didn’t treat for it.
The one thing that came to light is that she was having trouble draining her bladder. She was experiencing a lot of discomfort due to this. A catheter solved this problem. She wanted me to stay with her while the nurse inserted the catheter. Seeing the relief on her face as her bladder emptied was a gift.
I haven’t been able to see Jane since early March due to COVID. Her community is shut down, as it should be. That’s over 7-months. When I entered her room, I told her who I was, and then offered that she might not recognize me due to the mask. She said she recognized my voice.
We had varied conversations:
- She wanted to know where she was and why a number of times. She accepted my explanation each time without resistance.
- She asked how the family was a couple of times, but this time wasn’t specific about who. Before she’d ask about my mom, and didn’t. I was relieved. Not that I would have told her that mom had passed, but just as glad not to have to fib.
- She floated around where we were (she had our state incorrect), and what her circumstance were. She asked where I would stay, how I would get home, where her car was, where my car was, wondering if there was any food in the house, particularly milk. I told her I’d make sure there was milk in the house, which seemed to make her feel secure.
- The most touching thing she said to me was, “I don’t know quite how to regard you.” Touching because it’s likely the most introspective thing she’s ever said to me. It seemed a lucid moment that came from almost 40 years ago when her son and I first got together and ‘lived in sin.’ Joan was not a fan. I replied that she and I had known each other for a long time, and while we hadn’t always spent a lot of time together, the last 8ish years we’d clocked some good hours. She agreed with me and gave my hand a squeeze. All that matters is that squeeze.
Jane was able to return to her community that evening. I followed her ambulance ride back. On the way out of the hospital I commented what a neat ride she had. The drivers gave me a look. I said, “Mom, this gurney is black and yellow, like a bee! Bees are so important!” The driver’s were entertained, and Jane, I think was amused. When they placed the safety straps across her, I said they were putting on her seatbelts, “Because, boys.. Racing through hospital corridors is a thing!!” She chuckled, and the drivers laughed. anything to lift her spirits!
I gave her a masked kiss on the forehead as she was taken into her community. She has a follow up urology appointment in 11-days. Home health comes on board this week. While I was able to be with Jane during this, my eldest, Jane’s POA, is the one who responds to all the emergencies, makes all of the hard decisions, coordinates all of her care, including working with Jane’s community, PCP, and specialists. And so much more. I empathize as until recently, I was doing the same.