Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of Human Bandage

As much fun as we were all having just ambling along, processing the acquaintance phase of this - it is hoped - shared life experiece, something has happened which unfortunately has the effect of, oh, let's just call it "progress interruptus" or simply "TODAY", if you prefer. Of course the fact that today,ie, 01/27/2011, was going to 'happen' did not escape me yesterday (not much gets by this been-living-a-while bundle of 'anima-draped' acuity). But, as so often happens in my world, today was frought with happenings - some anticipated - that set off one of those free-association chains that culminate in feelings of frustration, aggravation, anger even.
(And the fact that the TV is on at a barely-audible-volume setting and that inane spot for a formerly-enjoyed chocolate-covered candy is being aired is just intensifying my aura of negativity. I mean, having to endure repeated, different frames of grown people grinning like mentally challenged chimps after LOUDLY biting into and open-mouthedly chomping on a morsel REALLY GRATES, ya know? It's rude, crude, defamates the image of this previously enjoyed sweet snack, for THIS former fan for one, and sets an offensively poor example for our already endangered children.)
Today, my sister-in-law, who suffered severe optic nerve damage at birth, was to have a cataract, now occluding the pupil causing total loss of vision, removed. Tricky business as this is not your ordinary cornea. No. Her corneas constantly move - up & down; side to side -a condition called nystagmus which presents quite a challenge to the surgeon who would dare to swipe a blade across this rapidly-moving target and claim it as "cataract, OD" before dropping it into a specimen container. But such was our mission this morning and, armed with drops, rosary beads, more than a soupcon of guarded anticipation, my husband and I ferried Margaret to the hospital Outpatient Surgery facility. Paper work completed, we took our seats in the dreaded "Family Waiting Area" - with Margaret , star family member today who was most anxious to become a patient. Her brother, my "Dear and Glorious Physician" husband, has never acquired 'patience' - just the important feelings - and I took refuge at the computer to update the children. Eve, the relator, communicator, began with the youngest, Jennie, mother of Emma -3 - and Charlie -7 mos., 22 lbs, happiest of cherubs, victim of what is becoming a debilitating respiratory condition - because she's had a bad week. Charlie back to doc Monday; pulmonologist talking about possible bronchoscopy next week and death of husband's best friend. Emailed her @ work that surgery would be soon; would text updates & requested she pass it on to bro. I would contact daughter Julie via text as she was in an OR in Richmond assisting a cardiac surgeon as he ablated a patient's life-threatening heart rate & surgeons can get cranky when nursie takes calls from Mommie whilst he plays God. Which got me thinking about Julie's "bad month" with Mia - 3 - and her Strep throat infections. Guess that's about when 'today' morphed into "TODAY".)
And before you could recite - in Russian, backwards - the names of the Royal Romanoff Brood, they called Margie's name. She gathered herself, her cain, beads, hopes, wildly-dancing corneas and hopes and in a split month, proudly, independently groped her way to the patiently-waiting pre-op nurse. Dr. Jitters went to the computer to research a stumper in the crossword puzzle he'd been working on, "Yellowstone Park monster", then skittered out for a walk around the parking lot. You must appreciate that it was now noon and the patient was not even 'prepped' for her 9:30 surgery and Dr. Jitters was due to report to the Emergency Department in a neighboring city whence he would be charged with saving lives from 2 PM until 10 PM. No pressure. Of course they called for the family during his ambulation so I went back to keep her company. FINALLY, after pep talks & tears with her dear lady surgeon; robotic questions and impersonal routine recordings by the anesthesiologist and a "we're giving you some 'happy juice' in your IV now, Margaret", she seemed on her way. In the interest of levity - feelings rule - I said, "no dirty jokes, now, Marg." to which happy-juiced Ms. M shared with OR nurse, "I could just smack that one." Right. Guess not everyone gets HAPPY on ye ole juice. I then went out to find Jitters so I could take him home in time to jump in his mid-life crisis 'electric blueberry' - Mazda Miata, 6 gears, royal blue, limited edition - and barrel off to 'bells and whistles' HQ.
(This thing with Mia has had me in a rage. Sometime late summer - when she began Day School - she also began getting quite sick with Strep throat infections. Temps of 104+, NO sleeping, decreasing appetite and - ultimately - a 10 lb. weight loss. She'd had seven such infections. "Why are they not removing her tonsils?" asks Mom. "BeCAUSE, you have to have eight documented Strep infections before the pediatrician can give you an ENT referral, Mom!", ouched Julie. "Well, they're clearly NOT working," pleads Mom. "I KNOW that, Mom. It's the insurance company's rule," spits Julie, R. N. Soooo, when Mia had to be admitted to the hospital two weeks ago with viral pneumonia and severe dehydration, GiGi - Mia can't say the hard 'g' in grams. Calls me GiGi - BSN, JD, plaintiff med/mal atty begins - silently, privately, at the obvious direction of 'animus'/masculine attribute - to compose a "COMPLAINT" - just for yuks.)
I returned to the hospital JUST in time to catch our 'Miracle Worker', Dr. Annette, dashing to her car. "Surgery was a piece of cake. Put her under, paralyzed the nerve that controls the muscle that make her cornea move, removed cataract, put in implant and she's HUNGRY! So get her some lunch & then to see me in the office." Margaret was thrilled. No pain. Starving. Moving guardedly - & Jitters had me call son Philip who volunteered to drop everything and meet us at our house to escort her into her room safely and without hitting the proverbial deck with recently-disc-fused Mom. Annette also noted that Margie has significant astigmatism which was NEVER addressed in her spectacle prescription. Soooo, if the cataract surgery works and the astigmatism is corrected, she will SEE the SuperBowl for the first time! God is good.
(And this 8 documented-infections-with-Strep-causing-temps-high-enough-to cause seizures is CRIMINAL. Surely, dear reader - if you put yourself in a "There but for the grace of God-mode" - you'll agree. Out Patient Surgery; drive-by deliveries; NO surgery, unless. What's next? Will your hardware store start selling "Do-It-Yourself Kits" - Adenoids to Valves? PULEEEZ!)
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