Thursday, December 17, 2009

5AM: back to the ER

We're taking Mom to the Fairfax Hospital emergency room. Dad woke up earlier and noticed Mom touching the top of her skull, where a large, soft lump has appeared during the night. The lump sits just at the edge of the crater where Mom's bone flap is missing. It might be an infection; it might be something else.

Obviously, the timing is horrible, as we're supposed to be leaving for New York today. We may still do so, but we'll have to see what's going on with Mom first.

More later.

UPDATE, 5:30AM: We're about to head out. Mom needed some bathroom time. While she was on the toilet, Dad saw that Mom's tongue was covered in a thick white paste; this may be related to the lump if we're looking at some sort of infection. Mom isn't feverish, though, so who knows what's happening?

UPDATE, 6:50AM: I've dropped Dad and Mom off at the ER. As of 6:45AM, they received a berth. I have no idea whether they'll be out of the ER in time for us to leave for New York; it's likely that our trip will have to be rescheduled in light of what's going on. To make matters worse, I appear to have misplaced my wallet in the rental van, which Dad turned back in yesterday to Honda. A Honda staffer had told Dad that he would drive the rental van back to Enterprise Rent-a-Car, right up the street from the Honda dealership. My wallet could be at either place: the Honda dealership or at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Here's hoping a sharp staffer at either place saw the wallet and stuck it in a lost-and-found box.

I'm about to head back to the hospital. I drove home to collect Mom's wig (a possible source of irritation, which might explain the red patches on her scalp, if not the swelling), my cell phone, and Dad's NYP/WC paperwork, so that he can call and reschedule, if necessary. Traffic was already starting to look bad at 5:45AM; it's going to be even worse now, at 7AM.

Final note: Mom had slept on the couch during the night, instead of going to her bed. Dad had thought she looked very comfortable and peaceful there (she'd fallen asleep before dinnertime), and I agreed that, maybe this once, we could leave her where she was instead of forcing her to wake up and move. Dad chose to sleep in the living room with her, to watch over her. My brother David stopped by, probably a bit before 5AM, to drop off his GPS navigation device (for us to use to get to NYP/WC and the guest lodging). This visit woke Dad up, and after David had left, Dad said he noticed that Mom was rubbing her wig-covered head. Upon removing the wig, Dad saw the scarily large bump. He woke me a few minutes later, told me he thought we needed to hit the ER, and that's how we ended up where we are now.

Right-- off to Fairfax Hospital.

UPDATE, 9:34AM: I'm back home as of about 8:50AM. Put $10 of gas in the van (which was nearly empty), then drove home with the intention of finishing up my trip packing and helping Dad by finishing up his and Mom's trip packing as well.

Dad just called (9:32AM) and had no further insights from the docs. Mom's had blood work done (no results yet), and is being taken in for a CT scan as I write this. We still have no idea whether the docs will feel it's OK to discharge Mom soon. Thanks to the paperwork that I'd fetched from home and driven to Dad, Dad was able to call up to New York to reschedule Mom's MRI tonight. They rescheduled her from 6:45PM to 8:30PM, which buys us some time.

Many thanks to Pastor Jeri, my buddy Mike, and my brother Sean for their text messages this morning (I had texted both my brothers at 6:50AM to relay what was happening with Mom).

Enterprise Rent-a-Car has yet to call me back: I had spoken with Honda first, and they had told me that their lost-and-found contains no wallet. I called Enterprise next, and found out that Honda still has their van, but they-- Enterprise-- will collect the van this morning and call me after they inspect it. I'm still awaiting their call; I might actually drive over there once I've showered: they're just 7 or 8 minutes down the street from us, as is the Honda dealership.

More news on Mom when we have it.

UPDATE, 10:02AM: After being interrupted twice while in the shower, I've learned that NYP/WC messed up Mom's MRI scheduling to begin with: she should never have been scheduled for an MRI after 4PM. Why? Because she's part of a clinical trial, and for whatever reason, patients in her group all need to have their MRIs done before 4PM. The lady who spoke with me said she'd try to work something out for tonight, but my own prediction is that a trip to New York today is going to be a bust.

And maybe that's for the best: we need to stabilize Mom, I need to get my wallet back, and certain parts of the NYP/WC need to get their act together. As of this writing, I no longer know what time Mom's MRI is scheduled for.

UPDATE, 10:30AM: Just spoke with Erica from NYP/WC. Mom's MRI has definitely been scheduled for 8:30PM. The ball is now in our court: we have to make sure we can get Mom there in time.

UPDATE, 12:14PM: Mom's had her CT scan and blood work. The blood work doesn't show anything remarkable; the CT scan, however, has prompted the ER docs to schedule an MRI for Mom. There's good and bad to this: the bad part is that we may be dealing with something serious. The good part is that NYP/WC has told Dad that they might-- might-- accept the Fairfax Hospital MRI in lieu of doing their own. That would free us up to travel to NYC at our leisure. I'm going out the door, but someone from New York is supposed to call me about whether NYP/WC will indeed accept Fairfax's MRI images. We're coming down to the wire, now.


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