I have been neglecting my blog site. Not because I have forgotten it existed, kind of like the time I’d left my car at a friend’s house and made her drive me home after the movie. But because so much has been happening.
Least of all my mother’s operation.
My mother is in her 80th decade, bionic, and German. Germans started the first World War. And after having lost it, they got back up and started another one. Germans invented the ring binder, probably because they were unable to take the chaos of a loose sheet of paper. They also invented the nutcracker, probably because they got tired of crushing walnuts with their thighs. And last, but not least, they invented Gummi Bears, probably because raw meat was not chewy enough for them.
I know it sounds as if I dislike Germans, but that is not the case. I’m half German myself. But the truth is, I have no illusions about their culture. If it is bent, straighten it. If it floats, nail it down. If it giggles, shoot it.
And in my mother’s case, if it’s life-saving surgery, defy the doctor’s orders on principle because NO ONE will tell you what to do.
Which is why she ended up with Sundowners, a temporary condition known medically as ICU Psychosis. I had never heard of it until it happened to my mother. I give you the official definition:
A disorder in which patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) or a similar hospital setting may experience anxiety, become paranoid, hear voices, see things that are not there, become severely disoriented in time and place, become very agitated, even violent, etc. Organic factors including dehydration, hypoxia (low blood oxygen), heart failure (inadequate cardiac output), infection and drugs can cause or contribute to delirium.
Here is mine:
A TEMPORARY mental disorder.
We got the first clue that something was not right with Mom when she asked us why the ceiling was so close to her face. It progressed from there over the course of a couple of days. It went from seeing strange gnome-like visitors bearing bouquets, to eventual respiratory failure (Thanks to a reaction to the sedative Ativan.) The nurses were quick to counteract it, and they revived her. No thanks to the doctor who prescribed it even though Ativan has been known to be cruel to old people. (Which is another reason why I will never take it. I’m old enough to make it a round of Russian roulette. I might be sedated, I might die . . . Let’s see and keep a syringe ready.)
Hey, I have a riddle for you. How many nurses does it take to pull the dentures out of an eighty-one-year-old German woman’s mouth when she doesn’t want you to have them?
Answer: They can’t.
Okay. . . The official answer? Six. Three to hold her down, one to hold her head, one to pull them free, and one to administer first aid to the one with the bite marks. And that was WITH restraints.
GO TEAM MOM!
Just shoot me next time we have to go through that again.
Other things have been happening as well, but none so dramatic as my mother taking on the whole ICU nursing staff of Washington Regional Medical Center and nearly winning.
I wish I had half her spirit.
No, I take that back. I don’t think the world can handle two of her.
Besides, we’d probably kill each other like two praying mantises in a jar.
Do you have any of your own nightmares you would like to share? You could even tell us about the time you went to the doctor and he actually cured you.
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