Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On The First Day of Christmas...

Christmas eve: We finished our shopping, picked up the house a bit, and brought my mom over for the night. She likes to spend the night so she's here to watch the kids open their presents in the morning. It was shaping up to be a pretty quiet Christmas. My sister stopped by with her husband and their son for a little while. Another nephew and his female friend came by. Very nice to be with family. We had a late dinner of homemade pizza, lit some candles, and had a little settle-down time before putting the kids to bed.

I wrapped presents, and made Christmas come. I fell asleep sometime after midnight.

Sometime after 1, I woke up. I heard a yowling. I heard a yelping.

"Amy! Oh, Amy! Come!"

Eric and I jumped out of bed and up the stairs. My mom was shuffling frantically back to bed, gasping and asking for an aspirin. She flopped down onto my bed, holding her chest, saying, "I think this is what it feels like to have a heart attack." Gasp, pant, howl.

Eric is very good at settling people down. He speaks so calmly and nicely.

I called 911, hoping that the ambulance wouldn't arrive before we got our pants on. We did get our pants on. Well, not my mom. She doesn't care, especially while clutching her chest and making use of a bucket.

It made for a bit of excitement in the night. Our neighbor Millie came down to check on us and offered to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital.

Kelsey got up, but Kayleigh slept through the sirens, the EMT's radio going off repeatedly at about 200 decibels, the howling, the three strange men in the house.

I sent Millie home, put Kelsey to bed with Eric, and followed my mom to the hospital. The security guy at the hospital wondered if I knew what I was talking about when I said my mom had just been brought in by ambulance. Apparently they're not accustomed to women being taken to the VA.

Anyway, they're not sure if it was a heart attack or not. It may have been the congestive heart failure having a big holiday fart. We'll know more today. Since it was Christmas and the VA is a government facility, it was a skeleton crew and not much diagnosis went on. They worked to get her blood pressure down and the fluid out of her legs, feet, and lungs. She's had a hard time getting doctors to do anything about the fluid in her legs, but this experience seems to have gotten their attention.

I was a little dismayed to hear my mom say she didn't want to be resuscitated should the need arise. I already knew that, but in a moment of a possible heart attack, it really sucks to hear it aloud. "I just want to die," she said.

So, it made for a tired Christmas somewhat less full of cheer and peace than I was anticipating. My mom was in pretty good spirits considering what she'd been through and spending Christmas in a hospital.

Like she always says, you just never know what the next day will bring.


Kath said...

Hey hon. Sorry to hear about your Christmas dramas. Thoughts and prayers heading your way.

Lisa said...

Always wear nice underwear, it's not just talk.

I'm sorry that Christmas was not the merry event you worked so hard to pull off. Thank God it wasn't forever the day your mother died either. I hate to think of what would have been if she had been home alone.

I loved Christmas at your mother's house as a child and all the things your mother made and did to make it the hap happiest time of the year.

Cynthia tells me your mother is doing well and was in good spirits on Christmas day. I am thinking her best present was you.

Amy said...

You guys are so nice to me.

You should see my mom's feet and legs! Wow! She's lost ten pounds overnight just from getting all that water out of her.

Lisa, it's nice to hear you talk about Christmas at my house. One of my favorite Christmas memories involves you. We had gone down to Dorothy and Jim's for Christmas eve, and I was tired so I came home. You and Cynthia stumbled in around midnight, giggling and shushing each other. I fell right back to sleep.

I woke up about 3:30. There was a lump on the couch, snoring. Naturally, I assumed it was my mother, but I wondered why she was sleeping on the couch and how she looked so much thinner. I looked under the tree, and there was a skateboard next to my head. I was pleased.

I got up and went to nudge my mom to get her to stop snoring. As I bent down to look, it was you! Boy, was I surprised. So I grabbed a chocolate ball which had magically appeared in a bowl on the end table and went and sat in the kitchen, thinking I'd just wait for everyone to get up.

Right about then, my dad got up to pee, and he found me in the kitchen. I told him I'd just wait for morning, but he said no and dragged me to bed with him and my mom. I was sure I wouldn't go back to sleep, but I did.

It was nice to have you at our house for Christmas. Remember the real candles on the tree? I always loved it when the tree had pine cones in it, too.


Kath, thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Sorry I didn't get a card to you. Only one household got a card this year. I'm terrible. I'm thinking I should shoot for Christmas and hope they're there in time for New Year's.

Kath said...

Ahh it's alright Amy - cards, and pretty much Christmas, didn't happen for me this year either. Here's to spending next Christmas in the USA, instead of alone!!