March 24, 2011

St. Patty's day Fistula surgery

Last Thursday, my mother had an apointment for a procedure to have her fistula x-rayed and then opened up ( a balloon put into the vein) so the blood can flow easier during dialysis treatments.  Dad had asked me to take them because he was unsure of downtown.  But as I lay in bed that morning and thought about what that would entail, I realized it would be so much easier if I just took mom and dad stayed here with the boys...they could do their schoolwork and he could putter around and then we wouldn't all be sitting in a waiting room for who knows how long.  Dad was thrilled!

So we went at about 8 a.m....

The room I wheeled her to was very crammed.  Kind of like a hospital room for eight people, squooshed and yet, somehow even smaller! 
There were carts with laptops on them to track curtains draped around each bed, people trying to walk around, trays for the patients and then there was mom's bulky wheelchair...eventually they moved that out of our way.  It was rather unnerving, but mom took it all in stride. I, on the other hand, was irritated and shocked that the medical profession makes so much money from this kind of work and couldn't afford larger rooms to work in. 
After they took her vitals, asked us questions, and generally connected with her, the nurse came in that would assist the physician with the procedure. 
As mom headed into surgery, I left for the waiting room, watched  Rachel Rhea demonstrate cooking an Irish was St. Patrick's day, of course!  Then I read my book, 'Radical' and waited. 
I was taken aback when a receptionist told me the doctor wanted to see me.  NO one wants to hear that!  So, I began to pray. 'Stay calm' I told myself. 'You've already prayed and now you've got to trust.'
Scrubs, masks, nurses and the physician were standing around her.  She looked tense, completely out of it as the doctor related that she complained of chest pains, shortness of breath and that her stomach hurt. (I wasn't sure if they'd done the surgery until I asked and in unison they all smiled at me and said, 'Yes, it's over!') 
 I looked at her and immediately knew it was anxiety, which the nurse said out loud as I thought it~!  The stomach pain was from stress causing the stomach juices to get all churned up.  The chest pains came as a result of anxiety, which caused the shortness of breath.  Each one was watching her, the fear on their faces  evidenced by the immediate decision to give her this medicine, that medicine.  At that moment, I wanted to just yell, 'stop pumping her with junk...!'  'She'll be fine.'

There was an oxygen clip on her finger and the blood pressure machine would go on every so often. 
Then came the words I dread...'We have to put an IV into her'! 
Oh, no. 
Every time a nurse has done that, it's failed, her veins collapse and she winds up black and blue for weeks!  I asked if it was truly necessary and the friendly, blue-eyed nurse-her eyes stood out because her mouth was covered--said that she was going to give her Pepcid intraveneously.  I was absolutely amazed and grateful for this wonderful nurse!  She got it in the first time.  Oh, if only she could do it every time, no matter what hospital mom went in.

After the Pepcid was in, they gave her a sandwich and she began to feel much better.  She told me later that the anxiety was because she really didn't know what they were going to do to her.  She forgets so easily and since she'd never had this done, she didn't feel they explained it well.  They, too, said they'd do it differently next time...this is something they'll be doing often...they told me it's like when you get a kink in a hose, you always have that kink.  Some people come in every three to six months.  She's had the fistula in her arm sixteen months, so that's a good sign.  They did tell me that the vein had narrowed to a hair's thickness, which is why she would bleed for so long after they'd take out the needle at dialysis. 
She is such a trooper.  It amazes me.  I wonder why she is still alive sometimes, but I am not the Author of Life, so every day she lives, I rejoice.

We were there three hours.  She was concerned that dad would be worried, so I found a phone, called and gave him headlines, no details...that wasn't the time to tell dad anything that would worry him.  He actually didn't hear any of the complications until supper, around the table during our highlights...

Each day for me is one of letting go of the things that really don't matter so I can live in the moment.  Some days I do better than others.  My goal is to live out 2 Cor. 3:6-10:
 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.  In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.  We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.  We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within usand by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.  We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything."

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