Sunday, August 21, 2011

ER (1)

Last night around 2 AM, I heard some soft banging noise. I thought it was my neighbour forgetting her keys, which was not uncommon. But there was no one outside when I looked. So I went back to e-mailing.

After a short while, more noises. This time it came from our hallway. It was mom taking dad's commode downstairs. Aunt Y pooped her pants. What happened was, she wanted to go number 2, but felt nauseous and couldn't get up. So she banged on the wall trying to get help. It wasn't loud enough and she pooped in her pants. (Extremely gross and stinky.) It was so stinky, it woke mom up. By the time I joined in, mom was helping her onto the commode. Aunt Y was looking very bad. She was completely limp. I was holding her up around her armpits from behind, and was shocked to find out she's down to the bare skin and bones! She kept saying she wanted to vomit and couldn't breathe. It was time to call 911.

I went upstairs to do that since the wireless handset in that room is useless. I couldn't answer the operator's question of "whether she's changing colour or not" because I couldn't see her face. Then I realized she could die. After hanging up, I went outside to standby as instructed. Although I'm not exactly fond of aunt Y, that few moments felt like an hour.

First the firetruck came. 2 paramedics started tending to her while one took info. Then 2 more ambulances showed up and all of a sudden there were 7 paramedics in our basement. I thought this would wake cousin K up, but nope. She must be very tired form the flight despite acting energetic. Aunt Y was given oxygen, and then carried out in a back-pack chair by one of the guys. Mom went with the ambulance since they could only take one person, and I drove there after. The whole house was stinking badly.

It was around 2:30am when I arrived at VGH. Amazingly, the ambulance arrived only moments ago, in spite of me having to change, preparing water bottle and snack for an unknown duration in ER, and turning off the lights. Mom said they drove slowly. Hmm... Aunt Y got a bed in ER very soon. Some people only got stretchers in the hallway. There were a bunch of medical staff asking tons of questions, mostly medical history. I don't know much about that. That was why mom was there. She was smart to take aunt Y's day-timer with her. However, she was sleep-deprived and nervous, so I was there pretty much to translate and relay. Aunt Y speaks good English but she was too weak. Somehow my back felt very wrong. Adrenaline was the only thing that kept me going.

Aunt Y's blood pressure was too low and heart beat not regular and with a murmur, and her skin was icy cold. (Scary.) I over heard the paramedics said that they had not have a good reading (of something) since they arrived at our house. Not sure what that meant, but it really didn't look good. Mom said when I was upstairs calling 911, aunt Y was turning purple.

All the time, staff came in-and-out, asking similar questions. They gave her a chest x-ray and suspected that she might have a blood clot in her lungs. A CT scan was quickly arranged and risks explained. At the end, there was no blood clot, which was good. However, they couldn't find out why her blood pressure was so low. Poor aunt Y got poked and pressed multiple times from internal bleeding exams. She had been nauseous and vomited every time she was moved (mainly for the CT scan). She was throwing up dark green bile. After the 5th time, they finally gave her nausea drugs.

One of the doctors ask if anyone's told her what stage of cancer she's in. We couldn't answer because we never heard anything. Then it dawned on me that aunt Y may have very little time left. The doctor also brought up resuscitation wish issue. Since she has osteoporosis and so tiny, CPR will for sure break her ribs. I didn't think she had a clear enough mind to deal with it at that point. Nevertheless mom kind of asked her. She didn't say anything. It's a tough issue for anyone.

Mom was commenting on how the IV fluid pumped aunt Y up, and she looked much better. Even her panda eyes disappeared. 2 liters went in and she never needed to pee. I suppose she was extremely dehydrated. Seemed like the potassium (or was it sodium???) they gave her helped too. Then the second bag of IV started and after a while she needed to pee. We were asking the staff for bed pan every... I had no idea how long. After 3 times, they decided to set up a catheter. I suspect there weren't enough bed pans in ER.

Around 6:30 she complained less about being cold or couldn't breathe or nausea. Around 7 her skin was warm again. Her blood pressure was back to normal. She was talking much much better too. All the paper work was done for admission, she was stabilized, and we could finally go home at 8.

20 minutes later, we were home. Felt like a whole year. There were still aunt Y's poop and the commode to clean up. Mom was doing that. (Sorry... I'm unable to face that kind of stuff...) The house stunk because when mom was trying to put the tighter lid on, the paramedics were leaving and she had to leave immediately. The seat cover was down but not air tight. I still hadn't showered from last night so I had to do that. All the running around and staying up made me feel sticky.

Since I didn't leave a note before I left, I worried that cousin K might panic after waking up in an empty house. But that was unnecessary. She finally got up after I finished showering. Turn out she heard the wall banging, but thought it was me hammering upstairs. Yikes... (T_T)

Ended up going to bed at 9:30 am. Need to get up at 1:30 pm the latest if I were to take mom and cousin K to London Farm.

But... but... right at noon, the hospital called me to update aunt Y's condition. (Which gave me and mom 2 hours sleep each...) Aunt Y was doing well, but they're keeping her there for at least a few days. Plus, for terminally ill (?!) patients, they will not give CPR. I didn't know she's terminally ill. I thought lung cancer can be shrunk with just pills. I've been wrong.

The first day my cousin visits, and this... yikes...

No comments: