Mama, January 18, 2009
I always call her at lunch, so I called her about 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday. She answered the phone, and I asked if she'd taken a shower--I knew it was what she was planning to do. She said she had but then said she'd started to feel bad right at the end of it, so much so that she laid down on the bathroom floor for a while, then finally made her way to the bed and crawled under her blanket. I asked where she felt bad, and when she told me in her chest, along her left arm, underneath the left side of her chin and on her neck felt very uncomfortable. I immediately said that we need to get that checked, it could be her heart. She said wouldn't something have already happened if it was her heart--she'd felt bad for an hour probably. I said I don't know but I'm going to call Leland and get him to get me, then we would get her and head for the ER. The man in the cube next to mine at work hear me and offered to give me a ride to the apartment, so I called Leland and told him to meet me there. When I walked into her bedroom, she'd somehow managed to go back to the bathroom to get her sweater and underwear which she had put on before covering up again with the blanket. I helped her put on her slacks; when I helped her sit up to do that, she burped and said that she felt a little better, so I'm thinking, is this going to turn out to be indigestion? I got Duncan into his kennel just before Leland arrived. We got her to the hospital in no time, it seemed.
The triage nurse checked her pretty quickly and when she couldn't get an oxygen reading with one of those clip on finger things, we quickly went to a room in the ER for an EKG. It alarmed everyone--I could see it and thought it did not look like any I'd ever seen. All this time she was alert, answering questions, and had even walked down our three steps and acorss the sidewalk to the car!
Once they saw the EKG, the room filled with people all doing different things to get her ready for the cardiovascular lab for an angiogram. They had her chew up four baby aspirin--the nurse told her that she looked like a little bird and I said her shiny brown eyes added to that impression for me, the nurse grinned and said she agreed--and gave her a bigger dose of Plavix that she usually takes every day. By 2:05 p.m. she was rolled through those double doors. A little later on one of the nurses who had taken her there came back by and told us that they were getting her ready for the procedure, that she was in really good hands. Another one came by and said that we'd done the right thing, getting her to the hospital within two hours of when she started to hurt.
About 3:20 p.m., they rolled her by on the way to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, wide awake and having done well, the nurses said, going on to say that the doctor would be out soon. He came not long after and said that no complete blockages had been found on her heart, that the right coronary artery was 80% blocked and they'd opened it up with a stent, that it was located on her heart at the point that the EKG had pointed to as being where something had happened out of the ordinary, the other blood vessels on her heart looked pretty good, that they'd do some blood tests and an echo cardiogram to see if they could find out if she had any permanent damage to her heart muscle which would help to determine if she had indeed had a heart attack, that she ought to do well.
A little over 30 minutes later, we got to go into CICU to see her. Since she'd had the angiogram she had to stay flat on her back for at least four hours, until the places in her groin stopped bleeding. You know that were they put that instrument into you that they then snake up to your heart and look around, etc. She had to be poked more than once, so she had, I think the nurse said, four holes, less than the size of a straw but nevertheless still bleeding some. Mama asked me to stand by her head and feed her ice chips which I did. By 4:50 p.m. she decided that she was hungry. Providence Hospital has a sort of room service thing going on with their food, so I called and got her half a sliced turkey sandwich on a multi-grain bread with a bit of mayo, cranberry sauce on the side, and some black coffee. I cut the sandwich into bite-sized pieces--she ate all of everything and then told Leland and me to go on home.
Duncan was glad to see me because the little guy was hungry! He's asleep now in the recliner. I'm watching "So You Think You Can Dance" prior to watching "Dancing with the Stars." I'll be back at the hospital by 9 a.m. tomorrow to find out what else is known about her condition. I'll get back with you at some point tomorrow. I can't call out from the CICU--you must turn off your phones because they could interfere with monitors, etc.
We all thank you for your prayers!