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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What I Did on My Summer Holiday - Part II

More Summer Vacation as promised. I know you're sick of it already, but it is awhile since I've done a running bit so suck up and see it through...

What I Did on My Summer Holiday by Earl Fando - Part II: Sancho Panza goes Surfing

Day Four - Tuesday (possibly):

On day four, my mum had a stroke.

You're probably thinking that's some sort of sick joke, and while we here are not above that sort of thing (Just ask Stew - it's in the bylaws), I'm perfectly serious. A mini-stroke of some sort is what the doctors at the emergency room said she had, but no one seemed completely sure. Fortunately, mum has recovered and is undergoing a battery of tests. I thought the algebra was a bit out of place, but I'm not a doctor.

However, when you visit an emergency room, you do tend to notice things. First off, the attendants at the hosptial we went to had the sense of urgency of the Paleozoic era. Mum was doing fine until she tried to get out of our mini-van at the emergency room and suddenly collapsed. After making sure she was still conscious, which was a fair bit better than me at the time, I ran into the emergency center along with a very helpful passer-by, and announced loudly to two official looking people that my mother had just collapsed in the driveway and might be having a stroke.

Of the two, a middle-aged woman and a man in his late twenties to early thirties, I think the woman responded faster. She did this by looking over at the man and saying in a voice resembling Ben Stein, "You'd better get a chair, Bueller." All right, she didn't say "Bueller", but I think she mouthed it. The man then slowly ambled his way over to a wheelchair and then began pushing it out of the door at a rate that would easily been surpassed by a chipmunk towing a 747. If I could have caught a chipmunk I would have had it push the chair. All that was missing was him spitting tobacco into a nearby spitoon and mumbling, "I reckon."

Once he reached the driveway, twenty minutes later, we set about getting mum up.

"I can't get her in this chair by myself," he announced, frowning and weakly tugging mum by the wrist.

I and the helpful passer-by (Whose name I never did get, I'm embarrassed to admit) lifted mum in the chair, aided in a modest way by the attendant. My wife, who has some medical knowledge emphasized the need to get my mum inside as quickly as possible. At this, the attendant broke into a rather lazy stroll. I beleive my wife may have given him the American version of the "V" sign behind his back at this point, though she has never confirmed that.

Once mum was situated in a room four hours later, we settled down to wait to be able to visit. A few minutes later the middle-aged woman came out and said that we could visit her, one at a time. Later we found out that twosies were just fine with the actual nurses and doctors, and I and the Littlest Fando were able to sit with mum and watch the nurse repeatedly stab her with a needle, looking for a vein for the IV. It wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't kept raising the needle above her head and humming the theme from Psycho. With as many times as the nurse failed you'd think mum was on heroin.

We wandered back and forth between the waiting room and mum's room. The interesting thing is that you have to pass through a secure door to get back there, but just any old person can walk into the waiting room. I think the extra security is to protect the male attendant from violence from the relatives of patients. In any case, my child and I had the secret pass code memorized within four trips back. If you're ever there, it's "5-7-9."

There were other people in the lobby as well. Some of these were very nice, if talkative and extremely revealing people, including one poor woman whose husband was a transplant patient, whose transplant seemed to be failing. The main problem was that he couldn't keep down his anti-rejection medicine, due to nausea, and the emergency room, being a medical facility of the highest order, didn't have any in a form that could be given by IV. Bloody brilliant.

Other types of people in the waiting room were the ones who would sit in your chair the moment you got up to go to the bathroom, or walk over to the emergency room desk, or over to the vending machines, or to stretch your legs for 3 seconds. I would have sat down on one of them if they hadn't broken wind at that precise moment.

Then there was the teenage couple who were so obnoxiously loud they must've thought they were in a cinema. Thankfully, they kept the expletives to a mimimum and hopefully the Littlest Fando still thinks the "F-word" is "fart." (Yes, I know - two flatulence jokes in one post.) Nonetheless, after about 10 minutes, I dearly wanted to put them in the emergency room. I kept telling myself, "They're already here, so they'll get a room really quickly." Thankfully, Christian grace won out, in the form of my lovely wife shaking her head and grabbing my arm everytime I started to make a fist and get out of my chair.

There were two tellies on in the waiting room (No, this isn't a Scum Scum sequeway), one of which had on Fox News and the other Nickelodeon. Please offer you own jokes, as we try to avoid partisanship here. (Conservative readers can substitute the words "Fox News" and "Nickelodeon" with "CNN" and "Cartoon Network" much to the same effect.)

Finally, it always amazes me as to how long it takes to get anything done in an emergency room. I realise that there were some actual emergencies going on at the time that involved direct and immediately life-threatening trauma (or so they offhandedly mentioned a time or two) although you'd think passing out in a hospital driveway with a suspected stroke would qualify for a "stat" or two. The doctors and nurses on ER were the Justice League of America compared to this lot, which seemed to just stand around, slowly fill out paperwork, flirt with doctors, or determinately avoid eye contact with the patients and their family members. I suppose we aggrevated that last bit by asking for the bedpan a few too many times, but it couldn't be helped... I couldn't find the loo.

Anyway, as I said, mum is doing better and is being evaluated (after being released from the hospital after only a couple of tests by an associate of her regular quack... I mean general practicioner), so hopefully all will be well. Prayers are appreciated.

Next - Part III: Felicitous Ambivelance


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