Today was going to be a certain way: My plans were fully in place.
I was going to get up, get Linda dressed and on her way to Easter Seals (Yes! They did have center today!). Then I was going to take Nettie for her blood work at Lab Corp and then come home and go with Certain Man and my Sweet Mama to look for the grave stone for Daddy’s grave. We planned to leave at ten o’clock.
Then last night, at 8:30, Cecilia had a seizure. It wasn’t a bona fide seizure, but 20 seconds of hollering and shaking and then about ten minutes of lethargy. She does this occasionally, and has been trucked into the ER for evaluation — with no concrete findings. She is on two seizure meds, as well as a whole passel of other meds, and the levels have always been okay. So we have usually chalked it up to pain or bronchitis or UTI or whatever developed in the days ahead. So, we decided to watch her and see what would come of it.
Then, at midnight, she had another one. 20 seconds of hollering and shaking. And of course she was in bed, so it seemed like she just went back to sleep afterwards and nothing more. I was quite upset. I wrote a letter to her doctor and tried to fax it so he would have it first thing this morning. His fax machine would not answer my fax machine. Not even after the third try! I could not sleep. So I read a letter from Eldest Son and promptly wrote him back, and finally went to bed around 1:30, only to roll and toss for an hour, listening to the monitor I have into the ladies’ room to see what was happening. But nothing sounded amiss, so around 2:30 I fell into a restless sleep.
Only to be awakened almost immediately by the chicken house alarm. Certain Man groaned and rolled over and silenced the pager. He sat on the edge of the bed with great weariness, but finally, after the second beep, pulled on his coveralls and headed for the chicken houses. I went back to sleep, only to be awakened at 3:30 by the sounds of Cecilia having another seizure. Very same as before, but I pulled on my housecoat and descended into the lower regions of the farm house. She was no longer seizing when I got down here, but was clammy and listless. I got her a glass of water, and she sat up in bed and gulped it down and lay back down. I watched her for a few minutes, but her color was good, and so I betook meself back to my own bed.
Certain Man had made it as far as his La-Z-boy after his trek to the chicken house, and that was where he determined to finish the night. So I had the whole bed to myself, and I rolled and tossed some more until about 4:30, then slept again until the alarm went off at 5:30, whereupon, it was time to get up. And I pondered greatly what I should do with Cecilia. But no matter what, she needed showered and combed and dressed and fed and medicated. So, I got her up, showered her and dressed her. As I was combing her hair, it started again. The fourth seizure. It lasted 20 seconds, and she did not lose her balance or continence. After about ten minutes of sitting on her bed, she got impatient. So, in response to her coughing and snorting, I brought her out to the breakfast table and she ate a decent amount.
I tried again to fax her doctor, with the same results. So I began to call people. I called the on-call service and found out that Dr. W. was out of town until next week. Maybe the emergency admitting doctor would handle this. They would have him call me back. He didn’t.
I called Faithful Katharine, Linda’s nurse from the department of Disabilities, and discussed things at length. I needed to document the “seizures” and she felt I should call the neurologist. But I couldn’t talk to anyone until after nine o’clock. I could leave a message. So I did. A long and detailed and plaintive missive concerning the needs at my house. And I waited. Nettie waited, too, and was patient.
Finally, at 9:15, I called the Neurologist’s office and “No, they hadn’t gotten the message. Did I wish to speak to someone?” “That would be wonderful, if you don’t mind.” (HELLO!!! MY CLIENT, YOUR PATIENT, HAS JUST HAD FOUR SEIZURES. OF COURSE I WANT TO TALK TO SOMEONE!!!!!!!!!) (Didn’t say it, but I surely thought that would be helpful)
I finally got to speak with a real, live nurse — who said that she would talk to Dr. V. and call me back. And so, the waiting game started again. But finally, around 10:00 or so, she DID call me back, and said that we needed to get blood work done, and then they would see her in their office, maybe next week or whenever it would suit to fit her in!
“And if she continues to seize?????” I queried. “You know, I have a fax machine. I am on my way to Lab Corp this morning with another client. Couldn’t you just fax me the orders, I could get the work done this morning, and then you could see her sooner?”
“Oh, you mean, if I would fax you the orders and have them written STAT, and then maybe we could see her tomorrow or the next day? Let me see what is available tomorrow.” She came back on shortly and said that they could see her tomorrow at 11:00AM. What a relief!
So, Nettie, Cecilia and me, we all haul off to Lab Corp. Three people come in to assist with the blood letting. One holds the right arm, one holds the left and one of them sticks. I hover at the doorway, sending silent, fervent pleas to Heaven for mercy — that there would only be one stick, and that the noise would not bring the waiting room to edge of their chairs. Thank God! One stick only! And the noise was loud, but it was short, and most people were sympathetic. And wonders of wonders, we were home by 11:30.
And Eldest Daughter, Middle Daughter and Youngest Daughter who had sallied forth to Dover with small charges, Carson and Nevin returned home around 1:15, which meant that Certain Man was still available to drive his wife and his Mother in Love to Dover to pick out a stone for that year old grave. And this was accomplished with a great deal less trouble that I would have thought. My Sweet Mama found something that she liked quickly, the price seemed reasonable and the transaction was completed. Then the trio headed over to BayHealth Medical Center, Dover, to visit with Sweet Mama’s sweet sister, Gladys, who finds herself confined there for a couple of days with some perplexing maladies. That visit was sweet, and then there was time for a quick supper at Bob Evans, and then it was home again.
Tonight, home by the warm stove, in my soft warm housecoat that Certain Man gave me for Christmas, I crashed into the comfort of the La-Z-boy that is Certain Man’s and went fast asleep. Sometimes I was dimly aware that there were people talking to me, asking advice or direction or giving valuable information, but it all went right over my head. I finally bestirred myself to get meds given and ladies ready for bed, and have worked on bookwork for the church for a while, but nothing too profitable. Just quiet evening things with classical music playing and Middle Daughter ironing and me dancing about on this computer. It is time to lay it down and get something constructive done. And so, all you in Xanga land who stayed for this last sentence — sleep tight, and never say “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city . . . carry on business . . . Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil . . .” James 4:13-16 (excerpts)