Thursday, December 17, 2009

MRI, finally

Mom was admitted to the Neuroscience wing a few hours ago; Dad's been watching over her. Sean was with the parents a while; David's here now, having arrived only a couple minutes before I did.

When I arrived in Room 364, David was feeding Mom her bland dinner: Salisbury steak, broccoli, and potatoes. I offered to take over so that David and Dad could go eat at the cafeteria. Dad hadn't eaten anything all day.

After Dad and David left, I began feeding Mom. She was already close to finishing her meal, but she began coughing as if she were choking on her food. I sat Mom up higher and called a nurse. Mom's airway wasn't blocked-- this was audible-- but it was alarming to watch her gasp as she struggled to clear her throat. The nurse read the situation the same way: as long as Mom's airway wasn't blocked, something as extreme as the Heimlich maneuver was unjustified.

Eventually, Mom was able to steady herself. The nurse asked me whether we should feed Mom softer food from now on. I nodded yes. She left, and Mom and I were alone.

Mom looked terrible, as if she had just been in a fight. Even before her coughing fit, Mom was in bad shape: she was largely unreactive, eating mechanically, and her right arm was shaking uncontrollably. After the coughing episode, she settled back into her mattress, exhausted. She closed her eyes, and just like that, she went to sleep.

A few minutes later, another nurse came in and announced that it was time for Mom's MRI. We'd had no warning of when this would happen; perhaps the imaging department itself had no idea what its schedule was.

The nurse had to change Mom's diaper before the MRI tech could transfer Mom to his gurney. This took a few minutes. I texted three people while Mom was changed, and held her hand just before she was wheeled out. She looked small and helpless in her gurney.

Dad and David reappeared about two minutes after Mom had left. We're sitting quietly in Room 364 right now, waiting for Mom to come back.

Dad managed to cancel our hotel reservations, but ended up having to pay for a day's stay because he had canceled less than 24 hours before check-in time. David, meanwhile, lost a huge amount of money on his Priceline plane ticket: Priceline refunded the ticket's value after David explained his situation, but the airline penalized David pretty heavily.

With Mom's health deteriorating, we can expect more situations like this: sudden dips in cognitive ability, bacterial, viral, and fungal flareups, and so on. I don't know whether this is something I'll ever get used to.

It'll be interesting to hear and see what this MRI shows. I doubt it'll surprise me as far as tumor growth is concerned, but if it sheds light on the bump atop Mom's head, that will be something.


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