Butterfly grew up with food intolerances and was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's
Syndrome, and learning difficulties. Now she struggles with OCDs.
This is the story of how we have faced these challenges.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Just Life, But Sometimes It's Challenging

We had a good winter, but summer was shaping up to be very busy again. We weren't doing the Market ~ it had petered out. But a fellow purveyor of homemade goodies had been asked by a small roadside farm market to make things for them. She wisely decided against it, but she recommended me. I said I'd try. But by the time June came around, I was run off my feet trying to make preserves and pies, do activities with Butterfly, and take Mom shopping, and to appointments and events.

I'm only one person, and I was spreading myself pretty thin. It's nice to get some bills paid, but both Butterfly and Mom needed my attention. I would take a dozen pies to the stand in the morning, and they would routinely call me at 1 p.m. to say they were out. Oh well. A dozen pies a day was already challenging. I wasn't about to do more. Moreover, the operators of the stand were taking advantage by charging me more and more for the fruits I needed for the pies. I found better deals on blueberries and strawberries elsewhere, but buying the raspberries from them, I was only making 80 cents a pie. They were making $2.00 a pie, plus what they made on the fruit. It was as if they thought I was their benevolent Aunt Minnie doing all this work just to be swell. But that was not the idea.

Before I could deal with the situation, Butterfly and I had taken Mom to a luncheon with her craft club. Then we went to do some shopping for ourselves before picking her up. We had one more stop to make before going home. Butterfly liked the wieners at a German deli nearby, so we went to get some. When we got there, Mom decided to wait in the car with the dog. When Butterfly and I came back out, I went to put the wieners in the trunk. Suddenly Butterfly yelled, "Mom! Something's wrong with Nanna!"

I dashed to get into the driver's seat next to her. She was upright, yet not really conscious ~ obviously in distress. I called out to her and got no verbal response, but she was clearly trying. I told Bud to call 911 and I grabbed Mom's purse to get out her nitro. I tried to give her some, but her teeth were clenched shut. One woman heard Bud's yell and had already called 911 on her cell. She handed me her phone. I had Bud get the dog out of the car, because he was barking his head off and I had trouble hearing. Two women from the deli came out with cold cloths to use as compresses on Mom's head.

Now, I've learned since that most 911 operators are really good at what they do, but as luck would have it, I got some full-of-himself jerk who suggested that Mom had probably only passed out from too much nitro. "Happens all the time," he chuckled, as only an insufferable know-it-all can. "She's in trouble! You get an ambulance here!" I yelled into the phone. A woman took over at the other end and assured me an ambulance was on the way.

"Wendy, take me home!" demanded Mom suddenly, out of the blue. She was still not really conscious, but she was fighting whatever was happening. I had to smile. "Not this time, Mom," I told her. She had asked this of me several times in the past and I had always complied, including the time she passed out at the dentist. But this time she was going for a ride in an ambulance.

The paramedics had a terrible time getting Mom out of the passenger seat of her little car, but they finally did, got her into the ambulance and started emergency treatment. Then they took off for the hospital with Butterfly and me following. Butterfly was clearly terrified. She had paced back and forth at the deli with her dog, worrying her poor heart out for her Nanna. When we got to the hospital, I found a shady spot for the dog, because Butterfly was just not going to wait with him in the car. She had to wait in the emergency waiting room though, while I went into emergency. I was Mom's next of kin, Power of Attorney, and had her health card, list of meds, etc., so they needed me to start treatment on her.

When I went in to see Mom, she was conscious and had that sheepish look on her face that we all get when we're sure we've inconvenienced our loved ones. I sat with her and reassured her. The Emergency doctor said she had had a heart attack. A bad one. She'd be staying a while, so we talked about what she wanted me to bring for a stay in the hospital while we waited for the doctor assigned to her case. Her own doctor didn't have privileges at this hospital, even though it was local. This sometimes left his patients with a parade of "doctor-du-jour." But Mom only had two doctors while there ~ one in the ICU and another when she was moved to a room. Both were caring, informative doctors.

Anyway, Hubby popped his head into Emergency to check on Mom too. I had called him when I went out to check on Butterfly. He wasn't home, but I'd left a message on our answering machine. After a few minutes, he and Bud left for home with the groceries. Finally the doctor came and said they'd found a bed for Mom in the ICU and would be moving her. That was my cue to go do my errands.

I grabbed something to eat at home with the family, then we all went to Mom's to pick up what was needed and went back to the hospital. The nurses had gotten Mom all settled in, and we brought her the personal items she wanted. It was a chance for Butterfly to see for herself that her beloved Nanna was awake and talking. It had been quite a scare for her.

Longer story shorter, Mom was in the ICU for 3 days, then in a room for 3 days, then they were already measuring her for a walker and talking about discharging her. When my dad had a heart attack years earlier, they had kept him in the hospital for four weeks. But they don't do that anymore. They always need the bed. So Mom was to be discharged after less than a week in hospital after a bad heart attack. The discharge nurse called me one day, just before I left for the hospital. She said that Mom seemed to think everything would be the way it was before she had her heart attack, but Mom was going to require 24~7 care, at least for awhile.


Butterfly at Mom's

Mom wanted to just be at home, so I checked with the fam that they wouldn't mind camping at Nanna's for awhile, and they didn't. I rented a hospital bed. They could only deliver it on Friday morning and Mom was supposed to be discharged on Thursday. I asked the hospital to keep her one more night, and they agreed. We grabbed some things from home and went to Mom's on Thursday night. We moved things around, putting Mom's bed and one of her trundle beds in one room for Hubby and me, and the other trundle bed in the sun room for Butterfly. We stayed over that night so we were there to help set up the hospital bed in Mom's room in the morning. Then we went to the hospital to get her.

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