Saturday, June 27, 2009

in the ER waiting room

Sean came by just as we were pulling out of the driveway around 3:30PM. We left late because Mom ate lunch slowly (as we'd wanted her to do), from about 2 to 3, and I did dishes and washed up before we took off. As I wrote before, we didn't see the current problem as a dire emergency, but we did feel it was serious enough to warrant a doctor's attention. Where else to go on the weekend if not the ER?

As it turns out, the ER sees the situation similarly (i.e., things aren't dire), so Mom, Dad, Sean, and I are here in the waiting room, waiting for a proper berth.

This is our second time in the waiting room today: Mom had been checked in earlier and had been led to a triage station, where a nurse briefly looked her over and took some of her vitals. Mom's blood pressure was great (something like 108/60-something), and her pulse-ox was a stellar 99%. Her heart rate was around 90, but this is partly attributable to her walking around, an action that still requires effort. The triage nurse is the one who asked us to go back out to the waiting room; that now brings us up to date, as I'm in the waiting room, typing this.

Unless the docs discover something serious, I doubt this trip will end up being much more than an info-gathering excursion, a way to learn how better to take care of Mom's leg wound. Dad's worried about possible reinfection, which is a legitimate concern, given how much the color of the wound has changed. However, it's also possible that the darkening of the skin from pink to beet-red might be a natural part of the healing process for this sort of wound. Not knowing what's what, we're taking what we hope is the most prudent course. Given Mom's previous experiences with infection, we don't want to take any chances. Better to err on the side of paranoia.

We're a bit disturbed that the professionals all believed Mom was ready to go-- ready for showers, ready to sit on chairs and couches, etc. We were under the impression that Mom simply needed to have her wound dried-- just once-- with a blow-dryer set on "cool," and she'd be fine. As it turned out, her wound is leaking both clear fluid and blood (serosanguinal exudation), and Mom has been in obvious pain.

At a guess, this is what's going to happen tonight: Mom will have her dressings redone (Dad used nonadhesive dressings after Mom got out of the shower); her wound will be examined and pronounced non-critical; we'll learn more about how to dress Mom's leg and what dressings to use, and we'll be told to keep her thigh elevated so as to avoid any pressure against it. I'll be curious to hear how this will work when she needs to use the bathroom, as it's difficult to sit on that particular throne with one leg elevated.

I plan to ask about the possible utility of aloe vera, and whether a Bactine spray might help in any way. Sean is here, as I noted before, and he tends to ask intelligent questions, too. Whatever happens, we'll come away from this more knowledgeable than before.


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