Updated: Jun 3
I remember waking up this morning to the nurse shift change at 7 am. and I am pretty sure I slept through the night as I was exhausted over the stress and trauma of the past 48 hours. That is when a tall blonde-headed lady with a kind face and rosy cheeks, Amanda, RN entered the room and began to plug my mom into the wall as she complained "This all should have been hooked up last night." She walked across the hall to the storage room and grabbed a plastic-wrapped ventilator pack and put it above her headboard. Started attaching a pulse oximeter and heck I don't know what it was, it also isn't my job to know this stuff, but it was my instinct to make note that she was not attached to anything and we were supposed to be in the Progressive Care Unit of this hospital which was a step down from ICU but not a regular outpatient room or that is what we were told Keith in ICU when he said my mom was sitting up, drinking juice and eating crackers.
First thing in the morning Dr. Maredia came by to talk to us and this is the recording linked above and it becomes painfully obvious he doesn't know anything about my mothers' case.
We had visitors in and out this day and I tried to stay out of the room mostly because I was down in the cafeteria writing this down and needed a flat surface so I took advantage of my mom having visitors. I was beginning to become suspicious of the staff at this time because of the lackadaisical way the doctors and nurses went about their shifts. No one seemed to know why she was there or who her doctor was. Each person that walked into the room over the next 24 hour period went up to my mother and asked if she was ready to go home. There was one thing that was certain and that was that they wanted her out of the system. They were trying to cut corners and cut her loose because she was as ill as a person could ever be at this moment. We had no answers and no real treatment. They wanted to sack us up and roll us out with her on O2 (never before has she needed O2 and they had no answer), a catheter
(which she has never had or needed before, but no answer), don't forget the total reverse shoulder replacement and the PT we needed before I felt safe. It was a nightmare day and I actually freaked out a little and demanded more time. I spoke to two different doctors that I was able to record over that 24 hours and they are posted below if you are interested in hearing my conversation with these medical professionals.
We didn't know much and were starting to ask more questions about what the future held for mom on this day because everything was different. It became clear I was a recognized person in this understaffed, under construction, half-empty facility. I was pretty much alone everywhere I went throughout the structure. It was lonely and I was sad and afraid for what the night would bring. Her oxygen levels will not stay above 90 without 2 lpm of O2, she just sleeps a lot.
I stayed the night with her again and that is when we met Norman her nurse. He was very nice and supportive with a giant smile. Came quickly when you called. We seemed to call a lot. She was so uncomfortable and could not get settled. The pain in her shoulder was unbearable so Norman got her actual Vicodin and Tramadol for the night. I think at this time they were trying to ween her off of O2 so she could keep progressing with her recovery.
I remember trying to get us tucked in and asleep for the night hoping for a miracle overnight so we were lights out no later than 10 pm. I could no longer feel comfortable going to the lobby to get online and watch a video or draw. Not after what we are experiencing with her levels and heart craziness. I was becoming weary.
It was not 30 minutes into us lying down that my mother woke me up asking for me to adjust her bed. She didn't feel well and was super hot so I raised her head in the bed and began to uncover her legs. Again I was at the end of her bed, she began to grasp her neck telling me that she could not breathe. Again I stood at the end of her bed frozen in time not knowing what to do. She did not have a cannula at the moment but obviously needed it.
As I stood there I remember feeling my own heart beating out of my chest. Huge gulps of blood were passing through my ventricles so fiercely I felt as if I could see my shirt moving. I had to snap out of it, I was going to give myself a heart attack. I am no spring chicken and this was just too much to handle. Not AGAIN.
All this time my mom is not breathing well and I am stuck in space and time trying to understand this anxiety and lightheadedness I was feeling. The room was dark and I didn't have shoes on but I went out of the room into the hallway and I know I looked like a crazed woman with wild hair and blinded by the hallway lights and with a heart rate that at that moment was through the roof.
I found Norman and said again "She can't breathe. There is something wrong" He assured me she would be okay and went to her bedside, placed her on 2 lpm O2 and rearranged her and talked to her until she calmed down then went back to his station. We were back in the room, in the dark and all I could hear in my ears and feel on my chest was my heart beating. I was terrified my mother was about to die right there, again. Every second was a minute. My chest was tight and I was scared. I look at my notes and see this moment scared me enough that I made note of it several times in my writings afraid I had broken my own heart in all of the overwhelming moments.