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Watch That First Step!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The day started out perfectly normal. A lovely crisp fall day.
I volunteered at the animal shelter (with the cats naturally) and left my phone in my purse in the trunk as usual.
When I finish around noon, there are five messages on my phone, three from Tracy (Mom's insulin overseer) and two from the Emerald Pond managers.

Seems Mom fell around 9:30 AM. The first thing that comes to mind is that she's had another stroke.

Already I feel guilty, but don't know what about or why - how is this possible?! I take the wrong exit and have to drive halfway across Durham to correct it.

Mom's has a compression fracture in her back and is in a lot of pain even after painkillers; slips in and out of sleep. She says she was getting up to go to the bathroom and slipped off the edge of the bed. She does have on satin pj's and her bedspread is also slippery. She doesn't know what time it happened.

I'm there for about six hours, then leave to walk and feed Mookie and change out of my cat hair covered volunteer clothes. Allison has already kindly driven across town to feed my cats. When I came back, because you can only use the emergency valet once in a 24 hour period, I park in the garage on Trent St. (remember this) because this is the garage I am familiar with.

More hours of sitting, waiting, x-rays, questions, pain. It's a good fun time. Around 11 PM, two doctors come in and ask loads more questions; she knows the month, but not the year. She's only had diabetes for a little while. She always looks at me when they ask a question, like I'm supposed to give her the answer.
It's looking like they're about to release her, (OMG! NO! WHAT?! She's in so much pain still - are they kidding me? There's no way they can release her!), when her oxygen levels start to go down; they don't like that at all. A couple more x-rays and they determine she has fluid in her lungs and order her a room. Thank. You. Jesus.

I leave around midnight, ask if they have an escort service to the parking garage and am told there's a tunnel to the garage and given directions to said tunnel. I find tunnel and garage, but not my car.
I know exactly where it is: ground floor, third row down, second car on the left.

Except it's not there. Not there, or there, or there. No matter what third row I go down.
(Note to self - do NOT buy a white sedan ever again.)

I am a bit panicky now, and start to cry, but then try to bully myself into stopping. Who is crying in a garage by herself at 12:30 AM? A victim, that's who. So stop already. Can't. OK, then get out of garage.

And, by the way, in case you haven't guessed, I was in the wrong garage. I parked on Trent St. (remember?), several blocks down from Duke, not in the garage conveniently located across from Duke.

I go back into Duke and ask a lovely security guard named Michael if there's a safe ride to the garage. There is (why didn't the guy over in Emergency know about this?). He calls Safe Ride and I go outside into the brisk November night air to wait. I walk up to a van that people are getting on and am waved off with a curt "I'm not Safe Rides lady."

20 minutes later, still no safe ride. One of the doctors that was in Mom's room is leaving, goes with me back to lovely Michael, who calls again. Another 15 minutes go by. The van that waved me off before comes round again - now he takes pity on me and even though he isn't supposed to, (he's for giving doctors a ride to their vehicles), he takes me to the Trent St. lot.
There's my white sedan, ground floor, third row down, second car on the left. I have a little celebratory relief cry in the car. It's now close to 1:30 AM and I still have to get Mookie and all his stuff.

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