Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hell on Earth

I've been to hell. And it ain't pretty.


It looks innocuous enough.
There are four walls. Large light-letting windows, complete with shades to block the sun-glare. Seats.
Recliners, even.

But it is Hell, just the same.

It is the waiting room outside an ICU at a major Boston-suburb hospital.
(I'll refrain from naming the place. They're doing the best they can. I don't want to misalign somebody accidentally; if I do it, it will be on purpose.)
(My kids say "By Purpose" which I find just flippin' adorable.)
(They also say "By Accident", which I find curious, and incongruous.)

I have likened this room to The Twilight Zone, where time passes of its own accord.
Sit in one of these chairs, have a conversation with somebody, and be amazed to find that four hours have passed in the blink of an eye.

Conversely, plop your butt into one of these chairs to await a blood gas result, and you can actually see time cease to exist.

It is a vacuum.

Nature abhors a vacuum.
I abhor that room.
( I like the word 'abhor'. It is the strongest synonym for 'hate' I can find. I'm really enjoying it.)

This room could be the subject of a Stephen King novel. It's a bestseller in the making.
Stephen, give me a buzz. I'll hook you up.

One of my cousins calls it The Crypt. He says there should be crime scene tape around the entrance.

The time has come to 'come clean' about my extended absence.

Long story short...my Mother had surgery, and developed not one...not two...but three major post-op infections.
Go big, or go home.
She has beaten the three infections, but her lungs are suffering their cumulative effect.
She is fighting for her life.

I share this with you, here in this space, not to gain sympathy (I don't need it), not for encouragement (Not yet, anyway), but for Patty. She needs it.

I ask you to pray, if you're so inclined.
I know some of you are, and I would appreciate it greatly.

She is making miniscule progress, which is right on track, but sloooooow going.
This is how the game is played, they assure us. Tiny baby steps.
OK. We'll play.
We'll wait. She'll heal. Over the course of weeks, we'll see improvement.
That's the plan.

In the meantime, we sit in Hell. It's limbo. She needs to hear us. We are her cheerleaders. (Or, ahem, Drill Sargeant.)
We don't dare to leave, for fear that this will be The Moment.
We populate the waiting room (Hell) to its maximum allowance. 24/7.
p.s. Those recliners suck to sleep on. We're scared of the floor. We're obsessively cleaning the room to our own high standards. And all the chairs have arms so you can't stretch across them.
Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:
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My Father said this is where 30+ years of the night shift really paid off for him. He can sleep anywhere. Even a coffee table. He used a roll of toilet paper for a pillow. I have pictures. It was impressive.

DSC_0074.JPG

Hello, Hospital? Are you kidding me with the lack of a coffee machine? (I called to complain express my wish for a machine, and was told 'It's unhealthy to sit for hours on end drinking large amounts of coffee. It's available (yeah, for purchase. &%$)*^&%.) in the cafeteria, where at least some exercise is involved in obtaining it'.
I will spare you my response. I'm pretty sure Blogger would ban me from the internet if I published it.
So we take turns bringing in the Box of Joe from Dunkin Donuts (my heroes), and gamble with our intestines ingesting questionably fresh cream and food that is two and sometimes three days old.
Because there is also NO REFRIGERATOR in Hell.
I haven't called about that one yet.
I'm beginning to wonder if it's the hospital's way of drumming up additional customers. After a few weeks of partially spoiled food, I'm probably cooking up a solid case of e-coli.

There is no way to improve Hell, really. Coffee and a refrigerator would be nice, but...it's still Hell.
And no matter how people try, we cannot be distracted from Hell.

We need to sit, to absorb, to research, and yes...I'll say it, to watch every move the medical staff makes.
Nobody's perfect. Though they are very, very good here, the more eyes, the better.
So we don't want to be distracted. We need to be ON.

We've set up a Carepage (basically a blog) to expedite getting updates out to family and friends.
It saves 482 phone calls a day, and that's no exaggeration.

It will ask you to become a member to view the page. Trolls, you know.

So that's what I've been doing this last month...what are y'all up to???





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