Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hospital drama

My mum nearly died today.
First I got the call from my sister-out-law, that something had happened to my mum and an ambulance was already on its way to her home. When I rang Mum, hoping to speak to her friend who just happened to be with her, at first I thought I'd rung a wrong number, because I couldn't understand the voice on the other end. I kept saying "It's me, Mum - what's going on?", only to hear a distant voice that sounded as though it was talking to someone else in the room.

By the time I'd arrived at her house, my brother was already there and the paramedics were wheeling her into the ambulance. They were having trouble finding out what had actually happened, because she was speaking incoherently in Cantonese. To me, she only repeated over and over that she was feeling very faint and light-headed.

It turned out that her heart was beating very slowly, which was affecting her blood pressure. This had caused her to almost lose consciousness, and the oxygen debt was affecting her brain. I am so damned grateful that someone was there to call for help.

At the Emergency room, staff in green scrubs, blue scrubs and office clothes (that would be the cardiologist) bustled around getting blood and checking her vitals. At one point, I was asked to put my finger on her arm, where they'd put a needle in. And that's when it happened.

My brother and I had been trying to talk to her, but she wasn't responding. She didn't seem to hear us. Then she was making strange gurgling sounds, and one of the green scrubs was hoisting my mum's chin up so hard that it left finger marks around her jaw. There was a brief commotion involving an oxygen mask and more chin-hoisting, before we were asked to go to the back of the room i.e. get the heck out of their way. Seconds later, there were audible sighs of relief. The leader of the green scrubs (the chin-hoister) said something to her colleague about Mum "nearly giving up" on her, and that was when I realised how close my brother and I had come to being orphans.

Although they aren't sure, the general consensus is that the problem is likely to be due to some of the medication she's on for high blood pressure. Mum's okay now, resting in the cardiac unit for overnight observation. Her blood pressure and heart rate are back to normal and she's already started to complain about the food. As far as she knows, she merely dozed off for a while this afternoon.

14 comments:

Make Tea Not War said...

Oh no Violet...how awful. Glad she is was ok in the end.

cesca said...

Oh no! I hope she's okay now. What a scare that would have been for you.

EB & JB said...

Oh no! Glad your mum is okay now.

charlotte said...

Glad to hear she is doing better. It's so scary when things go wrong. My mother in SA recently had to have heart surgery which was unexpected because she is a mungbean-eating fitness freak. It was a horrible time, but thanks to great doctors, she doing fitness and eating beans again.

Nigel Patel said...

I'm glad she made it through and is fit enough to complain now.
I feel so small when something's wrong with my mom. But she's an ex-nurse so she's like General Patton about everything. 'It's just a flesh wound dear.'

happy and blue 2 said...

Glad your Mother is ok..

Drugs-about.com said...

Edward J.

Some more info about classes and pharmacotherapy of hypertension and others medical conditions of high blood pressure:
Drugs-about.com - ICD-10 - Hypertension Diseases

darth said...

sorry to hear that violet, how scary for you and your family...i'm so happy she is doing ok now :)

onscreen said...

I have a nasty habit of reading ahead and missing out words. It's notm,ally just mildly frustrating, but just now it nearly gave me a heart attack as i mised the word nearly on your post...

It's a bloody frustrating and nerve racking experience when parents are in the emergency room - my dad has had a series of problems over the last 5 years, starting with him having aheart attack during surgery, that lead to threes years of emotional roller coaster rides as he was shuffled bakc a forth from one emergency to another. Fortunatley he seems to have come through it all now, and is on Holiday in England celebrating his 60th birthday with family.

Parents, don't want to live WITH them, but really don't want to live WITHOUT them...

The Skirt said...

How rotten. Sending healthy vibes your way.

Violet said...

thanks for your nice comments everyone. My mum is a bit of a hypochondriac anyway, which makes it hard to know when something is really wrong. It was a little scary and traumatic for me, so I don't think I'll be wanting to watch ERI any time soon.

Cathi said...

I'm glad she's OK, Violet. These things can happen so suddenly and you get swept up in them without being able to prepare or even understand what you're experiencing.

I've always assumed I would want to be right there in that situation, but maybe it's better not to be? I just don't know.

The Editter said...

Even though I did read the "nearly", it was still a heart-racing post and I can understand how traumatic it would've been for you!

Ironic, isn't it, that she's a hypochondriac the rest of the time and when she nearly dies she doesn't even realise.

Violet said...

cathi: yep, it's often been a worry to me that something could happen and because she lives alone, I wouldn't find out until too late. We're going to organise a personal alarm for her.

the editter: Yes it is (ironic, that is). Just before we found out she had mild angina, she kept telling me about her chest pains which, to me, sounded just like indigestion. I felt pretty awful when I realised I could've gotten something done about it earlier.