Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sundays In The ER With Mom

Wow, what a fall break this has turned out to be.

My mom has been in the hospital since Sunday with pneumonia. She's going to be okay, I think. Her road to recovery is slow because her doctor (and at this point I use the term loosely) didn't get the diagnosis right at first and she wasn't initially on the right antibiotic, but that seems to be resolved now (though it is only 5:00pm, and for whatever reason, when things go wrong with my mom's health they go wrong after dark.)

I am always struck when in the ER and hospital with a loved one just how different the real medical world is from the world depicted on TV medical shows. If only Dr. House were a real guy, and if all pediatric residents looked like George Clooney, these trips I make accompanying someone during a medical emergency would be so much less frustrating and so much more enjoyable. Alas, things don't get resolved with good humor and well-chosen music like on Scrubs. And problems certainly don't get wrapped up tidily in a half an hour.

There are so many things frustrating me about my mom's care now that I dare not get started on them all. Suffice to say I have been trying to give the staff surrounding my sick mom the benefit of the doubt, because they have hard jobs that I couldn't do, but after a nurse got snippy with me today when I asked for another blanket for Mom, it was all I could do to keep my head from exploding. I know they're busy. But when my cold-natured mom shivers under a paper-thin sheet and is not running a fever, I don't see the big deal. I aksed nicely. Tell me where the damn blankets are and I'll get it myself. Bitch.


So it's back to work with me tomorrow, and I know I will spend the whole day worrying and jumping at every phone call from an outside line. I will feel guilty, as I always do, that I have a small child and a full-time job and can't be ever-jigilant in her hospital room until the crisis is over. I always thought the baby boomers were just whining when they bemoaned at being the "sandwich generation", torn between caring for kids and caring for aging parents. I still think they may be a little self-important there, because doesn't every generation have to care for both kids and parents? But I am starting to get why they are stressed. It's hard to work, to raise some kids, and to know that the person(s) who sacrficed to get you where you are need(s) you to look out for them, too. I don't know anyone who does it who doesn't feel guilty that one branch of your tree in a moment of crisis isn't getting the attention it needs.

All we can do is hope that those who get paid to administer their care are doing their jobs when we can't be there, when we have to come home and get some sleep and look after our spouses and kids and houses, are having a good day and are on top of things and measure out the right medicines and the right emotions in that order.

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