I was bleary eyed from crying so much, I was pretty sure the lack of sleep wasn't helping either. I couldn't hardly read my spreadsheet as I was preparing her morning pills. "No wonder she's gone crazy", I muttered to myself. I didn't know how anyone could take that many pills and not be a zombie. I was lost in my thoughts as I checked each bottle before dispensing the pills.
My mind almost didn't register the increased dosage on the bottle of Neurontin. How had I missed that last night?! It was three times the dose she had been getting in the hospital! "Oh. My. GOD.", I hadn't checked the dosage last night, I had only checked the name of the medication when I returned from the pharmacy. How could I be so stupid, I ALWAYS checked. Why didn't I CHECK?! Wasn't I the one always telling everybody how important it was to be absolutely certain before giving ANY medications? It was a Saturday morning, so the doctor was out. A trip to the ER would likely take hours. Who should I call? I was shaking when I dialed the number for Home Health. I needed to talk to someone NOW.
I was connected to the nurse assigned to mom and started babbling. I don't even know what I said, but she was "on her way". I was amazed when she was at the door just a few minutes later. Turns out she was so fast because she thought I had said mom had a "triple dose of morphine", that would be really BAD. Mom was at the table, seeming perfectly normal when the doorbell rang. The nurse probably thought I was the crazy one. At least that's probably what she thought until mom stopped talking in mid-sentence and asked "Why is that man looking in the window"? This was getting spooky.
"I should have noticed it was the wrong dose", I shrieked. I was a freak about checking and double checking medications. How could this have happened?
After checking moms vital signs and calming me down, the nurse called the doctors office and explained the mix up in the prescription and moms symptoms. She then ordered oxygen to be delivered ASAP. "They will also need portable tanks for traveling", I heard her say in to the phone. Turning back to me, "Her lungs are crackly" (she always has some crackle due to Rheumatoid Lung), the nurse said. As she handed me a list of instructions and symptoms I should watch for, she continued, "I just hope you can get her over the mountains."
The nurse also felt that I should get mom to those specialists "if there is any way possible". Was it even still a remote possibility? I really didn't think so, but I was hopeful - I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl.
I think that may have been one of the longest days of my life. The night would prove to be even longer.
I finally convinced mom that we should turn off the light & try to get a little sleep, we would make our phone calls AFTER the sun came up! We needed sleep. "OK", and then she giggled when she told me she couldn't reach the light.
Exhausted and slightly irritable, I walked around the bed and turned off the light that was right by her head. She turned it off all the time, why was she doing this? It almost seemed like she was taunting me; testing me, like she wanted to see how much I was willing to do. Hadn't the last 8+ months already convinced her of how much I was willing to do? I would do anything in my power for my mother, I thought she knew that.
I woke with a start to mom staring at me. She calmly told me I should call for the ambulance. Not 12 hours ago she had told me she never wanted to go back there. Remembering the instructions from the Nurse Practitioner to call Hospice, as well as how bizarre things can get at "the end", I asked, "Are you sure, mom. They will probably put you back in the hospital, is that where you want to be"? She was sure, "Well, I can't get up and I have to pee so we have to do something". Then the sing-song voice filled the room with questions so fast I couldn't even process them.
My husband arrived just after the paramedics. The paramedics wanted to know if mom could stand up, and use her walker to get to the living room and on to the stretcher. I wasn't sure, "She could last night". Mom was busy chatting them up. She couldn't be bothered to even answer them when they asked if she was able to get up. She was much more interested in explaining "why all the men were working outside" and the "mule would stay in the closet" if the light was on (ah-ha!). I listened as a couple of the paramedics discussed how they were going to get her out of her room, around the corner and on to the stretcher. They didn't want to hurt her and she obviously wasn't going to be able to walk. I had an idea.
I slipped through moms bedroom doorway and passed the paramedics. As I untucked the corners of her sheet, I told them what I was thinking. "Are you sure?", they probably thought "crazy" was running rampant in our family (and it might be!), "You may not get it back". I didn't care.
"She's worth it, it's only a sheet" I told them as they swaddled my mother like a baby and carried her toward the stretcher. With only her face and one finger visible, she smiled big as she was brought around the corner. She wiggled her finger at me and in her sing-song voice said, "They're pretty good at this", referring to the paramedics and the way she was being carried. Then her mind shifted. "You did call him", she trilled as she smiled at my husband and wagged her finger.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7........as I drove toward the hospital I counted how many times I had followed my mother in an ambulance in the past almost 9 months.
1, 2, 3, 4, ................., 13, 14, 15. I think that't it. I may have missed one or two, but I thought that was how many doctors had seen mom in the past 9 months.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10. Just counting to ten.......That's what you're suppose to do when you are losing your temper.