My mother got her blood drawn more than any other human I know. It started when I was young, and it continued up until December of 2019. That’s an awful long time. No one had an issue, and if they did, it wasn’t a big issue. But on this day, November 2nd, 2019, for some reason, this kid couldn’t draw her blood. He kept popping her veins. It was embarrassing, and annoying. If he had had just been able to draw some blood, the rest of the story would have been different. We would have been able to go home.
Because he couldn’t do it, Mom had to go to the ED (Emergency Department). When I tell you ten people tried to draw her blood, I’m not exaggerating. Two people at a time, nurses, EMTs, I’m surprised the janitor didn’t try. It was a mess. All the while, people kept coming in and asking so many questions, the same questions by five different groups of people. All I’m thinking is, “She’s only here to give blood. She’s only here to give blood. She’s…”
I’m not quite sure when it dawned on me that she would be admitted. Probably when they hooked up a heart monitor to her. Probably when they put her in a hospital gown.
No, it was that morning when she decided to go. I think I knew right then what was going to happen.
I still held out hope, though. I still saw a picture of them taking her blood and us walking out of there. I also saw it fade as every hour passed and things got more serious. We weren’t leaving.
Mom’s blood pressure was low, which was normal for her. Before and after her heart surgery, it was “low.” Of course, no one believed us when we told them that was her normal blood pressure. They were right, we were wrong. It wasn’t supposed to be that low.
Her heart rate, that was another story. A normal heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute. Mom’s was quite a bit higher than that (140, anything about 100 is considered too fast). They were also concerned about that.
So they gave her an IV, with a fluid to lower her heart rate. They also gave her a couple of antibiotics.
That pretty much sealed it for me. I knew what was coming.
I remember the moment all too well. “I can’t let you go home with your heart rate that fast, and your low blood pressure. You have to stay overnight until your heart rate comes down.”
I can’t let you go home. I know.
This scared me. In my experience, once you’re in the hospital, you don’t get out. Unless you force your way out. And there was no way Mom was going to do that, so I had to. And as strong, and stubborn, and “against the rules” as I was, I wasn’t going to do that either. This was my mom, and I wanted her to get better.
I had to go home. Without her. I had to be at home. Without her. I don’t remember anything about that drive. I don’t remember what I did when I got home. Cried, most likely. I’m pretty sure my brain is suppressing that night. But I can’t imagine me doing anything else.
This was the start of our journey. The beginning of the end.