It was a difficult decision, but since Mom was stable – and the rest of the family was on call, and prepared to handle the potential discharge to the cardiac rehab facility on Monday or Tuesday – i decided to press on with a planned business trip this week. The first portion (Annapolis) of high relevance to my job, the second portion (Chicago) less important, but a meeting of an industrial advisory panel, for which i am chairman, and therefore, feel obliged to attend. At least to kick it off…
So here i sit in a hotel at O’Hare Airport. i just got the text message from DQ telling me that Mom’s lung is no longer collapsed. Mom’s fine. Last night i had a bad night.
After my meeting yesterday, i got a call from my sister, S. She was in a high state of panic – “Mom’s in pain! I’m headed to the hospital! I just talked to DQ, and i heard Mom moaning in pain in the background! She can’t breathe!” After getting S calmed down, i asked her what the ICU nurse had said. “Huh? Haven’t talked to her! I don’t know what’s going on! I’ve got to get over there…”. She said she thought we should call our sister, T, and get her home. And that i should head home, too. i suggested we find out more first… i told her i’d call the nurse and call her back.
ICU Nurse said that Mom had been struggling with her breathing all day, and that she’d had trouble walking – because she was dizzy and winded. She said Mom was resting, her heart is doing well, and that the respiratory doctor would be in first thing in the morning to find out what’s going on with the lungs. No immediate danger. Not life-threatening.
Called S back, calmed her down. Told her to call me from the hospital to let me know how Mom was feeling. When i got that call, i could hear Mom in the background – “Is that daisyfae? Is she home yet?”
[sound of knife in heart goes here]
i didn’t sleep well. Went through the logic a few times. Need to wait to find out more. Not life threatening. She’s in ICU – 24 hour, nearly one-on-one critical care nursing staff. Work issue needing attention… i was on leave all last week. This is what they pay me a lot of money to do when i’m not fucking off…
When i got the call late this morning from DQ, after banging through the necessary working session in near record time, i stepped outside the hotel to talk. i was in front, standing on the covered walkway with the two young parking valets to stay out of the rain. This is what they heard…
daisyfae: What? Her fucking lung collapsed? How the fuck didn’t they notice that her lung had collapsed?
daisyfae (to the valets): sorry. family issue…
daisyfae: OK. i’ll head out soon – i’ll have more return flight options if i get to Chicago. Keep me posted. jesus-christ-on-a-fucking-sk8board, how the FUCK did they miss that? no wonder she couldn’t breathe last night – she lost one of her fucking lungs. i’m not a doctor or anything, but fuck, seems like something you’d check…
daisyfae (to the clearly amused valets): sorry. really….
During the drive to the airport, i spoke with ICU Nurse again – and she confirmed that the Bronchial Loogie Extraction* would be done this evening, followed by a CT scan to confirm lung clearance. Needle aspiration of remaining fluid** will be done in the morning if needed. Confirmed again that it is non-life threatening. Not out of the ordinary for smokers to encounter these things. Oh, and no release to cardiac rehab until Thursday at the earliest.
Got to my hotel early. This one has wireless. Got some work done. Talked to Mom – reassured her before the procedure that this was just another speedbump in the recovery process, and hopefully the last one! She said she slept well last night – and has a new best friend named Xanax. Will wait to hear the results of the CT scan before heading to the hotel bar to get ‘faced with a couple dawg boys colleagues.
In the meantime, just swapped text messages with DQ at the hospital:
DQ: Got out a big chunk. No tumors. Lung opened. CT Scan later 2night.
daisyfae: Whew! Did they keep it? Told Mom i wanted to frame it. She’s been working on it for a week – almost like part of the family.
DQ: Went 2 the lab. U want me 2 tell them?
daisyfae: JUST KIDDING!***
The questions remain… Am i any less self-absorbed than anyone else in my clan? Are my priorities just as fucked up? Do you ever stop second-guessing yourself on work/family balance issues? What’s the capital of North Dakota? Can i drink my weight in martinis before i pass out? Can i do so and be sufficiently functional in the morning to lead off the panel?
* Didn’t catch the medical term, but you get the idea…
** Thoracentesis, aka pleural tap. i know that one!
*** DQ is a good soldier. if i’d said “yes” she’d have probably done it. scary. but good to have her on the team…