Saturday, July 04, 2009
Happy 4th of July, Y'all!
Been closed, sort of, but we're open again here at Portland Oregon Daily Photo.
The closure came about when our trip to Lincoln City didn't go like we planned, not at all.
First change, Mama and I decided to go on over on Sunday--the cottage at the Ester Lee in Lincoln City was available for Sunday and Monday nights. Lamont and Leland planned to drive to a campground at Cape Lookout, north of us by some miles, and spend the night, get up real early and hike the cape. They left after Lamont got off work and got to the campground around 1 a.m. Glad they're young. Mama and I stopped at Spirit Mountain on the way to Lincoln City and played the penny machines for a couple of hours, got to the Ester Lee and checked in, rested up and went to the Chinook Winds to play their penny machines for a couple of hours. She loves to sit there and push that button, wondering all the while if she'll win. I enjoy it, too, for some totally unknown reason. I had enjoyed sitting outside our cottage for a while, but it was extremely windy, cold even, so I didn't miss the actual beach.
Monday after Mama and I got up, spent some time looking out our many windows, eating watermelon for breakfast, we decided to go play the penny machines for an hour or so at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City. Not a surprise, right.
Second change. About noon she said she couldn't see right, she could see me but things didn't feel right. So I said, "Let's go and eat a hot meal at the Pig and Pancake, a nearly place several people had told us to try. She agreed but accidentally pushed the maximum bet on her machine, $1.80. It went to a bonus and when she played, she won $45! So I said, "We're really going now." So we got up and walked over to the cashier's window to cash in our tickets from the machines. I asked her to stand at a nearby counter while I went to the window. I looked over at her once I had her money and she was leaning on the counter with her elbows, her feet out from the counter like when someone is stretching their calves. For a split second I wondered if she was having a cramp and trying to get rid of it. I asked, "Mama, can you come over here?" "No!" she said. I immediately realized something was wrong and asked for Security. A man nearby helped me get her into a chair to wait. She said she thought she was OK but didn't understand what had happened.
They came and took her in a wheelchair to their first aid room, checked her out and said we really ought to go to the hospital to get her checked there. She didn't want to ride in an ambulance, so they gave me a map and we went there--it wasn't very far at all. The staff there at the Lincoln City, Oregon, hospital was great. The doctor read two different EKGs and compared them with some from January 2008 when she was in the hospital in Portland. He told us that there was a radical difference in the new ones and the old ones, that it seemed that there was a part of her heart that was not getting enough oxygen. He went on to say that he wanted to send her to Portland in an ambulance, straight to her hospital and to the care of a cardiologist. She asked, "Do I have to go in an ambulance?" He replied, "No, but if you don't go in an ambulance, I have to release you as against medical advice." I said, "Mama, we're not doing any AMA, Mama," so she signed the paperwork and they got busy setting it up.
I had talked to Lamont--the guys were still hiking--around 2:30 p.m. and told them what was going on. They decided to just go back to Portland once they had returned to the car. I decided to go on back to the Ester Lee, pack up and head to the apartment so that I could put Duncan in his kennel and head to the hospital. Mama agreed that would be best, that she could wait for the ambulance by herself. The staff didn't know how long it would take anyway, that they couldn't order the ambulance until they knew that she had a room at the hospital in Portland. One of them told me that she'd be going with lights and the siren, so there was probably no way I could get there before her.
So I drove back to the cottage, ate a peanut butter sandwich, some Pringles and a few Oreos, drank some milk, took a shower and washed my hair, packed our stuff and made five trips up and down the 17 steps to the car. All in an hour and 15 minutes. I went to the office to turn in the keys--Mama called from the ambulance to tell me she was on her way. I could hear the siren.
Duncan and I made the 86 mile drive OK(which takes much longer than you would think--most of it was 55 mph max, some 45, some as slow as 25 mph, up as high as 760 feet and then back down to a valley floor, through several small towns--some with a four-lane, some with just a two-lane highway). Twice I turned off into shopping centers to drive at a different pace, to sort of get myself out of that highway trance that can come on after a while. I had the radio on and three windows down, too. Lamont called at some point, after I'd called and he didn't answer so I hung up, not sure if they were on a highway or not--we really shouldn't talk and drive, should we? When he called he said they were home. I told him approximately what time I thought she'd be at the hospital, between 6-6:30 p.m. Leland called when I was only a few miles from home to tell me what room she was in. That made me feel good, to know that they were there.
I parked at apartment's front sidewalk, put on the flashers, grabbed Duncan and the few frig items we had and came up. I put him in his kennel with his food and water and put the cold stuff in the frig. As I got into the elevator, Leland called again and said that Mama wanted her shoes. Her stuff was still in the car, in the bag the Lincoln City ER had given me, so I told him that I would be there in a few minutes.
She looks OK, lying in the bed, with her two tired grandsons beside her, and her tired daughter on the other side of the bed. We didn't get to see a doctor before we had to leave--all three of us were yawning some, so Mama told us to go on home. Leland came with me and helped get our stuff into the apartment, then drove off in the car. Thank goodness I didn't have to try to find somewhere to park the thing!
I called Mama to tell her that Duncan was fine, that he'd poured out his water and somehow had food in both bowls, now, not just his original food only bowl! She laughed, then told me that Dr. L (I can't spell is whole name) had come about 20 minutes after we left and said nothing by mouth after midnight and that he'd see her in the morning to let her know what they'll do to try to figure out what's going on. All three of us will be there tomorrow, off and on.
Duncan has been walking around, looking for her. Bless the little guy. We're off to bed now--I'm too tired to proofread this.
I'll let y'all know more when I know more.
Tuesday she had two tests in nuclear medicine involving a radioactive isotope and an ultrasound in her room, plus several EKGs. None of these tests provided a definitive answer as to what had happened on Monday. It was a long, long day, waiting for the doctor to come give us the results--Mama had left for the first test at 7:10 a.m., and we finally saw the doctor at 7:35 p.m. The doctor, cardiologist Dr. Ratkovec, looked over all of the results, asked some questions and decided that the electrical impulses in her heart were not quite right and that at some point in the future she might be a candidate for a pacemaker. In the meantime, Dr. Ratkovec wants her to wear an event monitor for a month. All we know about that is that Mama's to push a button on it when she feels a spell coming on so that it can record what's happening which can then be sent to the doctor using our land line phone. We're supposed to find out all about it this afternoon at 3:30 p.m., if the referral from her primary care doctor gets processed quickly enough. You see, her Medicare supplement will not pay if the primary care doctor hasn't done the referral. It doesn't matter that the cardiologist wants it and has referred her for it. Plus, her primary care doctor hasn't even seen her through this. Ah, the joys of bureaucracy.
About her spells--the one Monday was not like the others that she has had and will have again, I imagine. At those times, she'll look over at me from her recliner, put both hands up by her ears and say, "My head feels crazy." I haven't been able to get a clearer explanation from her about that, but Dr. Ratkovec mentioned "shadow coming over you," and Mama said, "Yes! That's sort of what it is." This happens probably twice a month, thus the event monitor for a month.
We got home last night around 9 p.m., tired and ready for bed. Duncan was so glad to see us! All of slept until around 8 a.m. this morning--well not real sleep for me after 4:45 a.m. when I started wondering what was next, etc. I did go back to sleep several times, thank goodness!
I ought to be able to go to work tomorrow and then the office is closed Friday for July 4, so I'll have a three-day weekend to keep an eye on her. I think she's fine, but I'm glad the doctor is still looking for answers.
Mama says thanks to everyone who sent her their prayers and well-wishes. Me, too!
We made it to the appointment at 3:30 p.m. The approval came through at 2:30 p.m. which gave us plenty of time to get Leland back home after he came over with the car and then to the doctor's office. Mama is now wearing her event monitor, a device named King of Hearts. It's always looking, the technician said, at her heart and then will record what's going on if Mama pushes the button which she should do if she feels that my-head-is-crazy feeling or something like what happened to her on Monday. While I hate to think of such happening to her again, I want it to so that it can be recorded and then looked at by the doctors. It might provide them with a next step in Mama's care. What I really like about it is that when she pushes the button, it captures the 50 seconds prior to the push and the 50 seconds after the push, therefore hopefully capturing the event and the recovery form the event.
I will have to change the two leads on her chest every day--in the evenings. We have to return the device by July 31.
Mama once again thanks everyone who has sent their prayers and best wishes for her health and well-being. So do I, for hers and mine.
We've spent a very good almost two hours watching "So You Think You Can Dance." Each year we've fallen even farther under it's spell. Y'all should take a look at it, honest. And think about supporting The Dizzy Feet Foundation, a way to keep dance available for the talented without their own resources. Look at http://www.dizzyfeetfoundation.org/ and donate if you can.
OK, I'm off my high-horse.
Mama's tired, weak, but mostly herself, thank goodness. We're about to watch the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona--what a stupid name for a race. It ought to still be called the Firecracker 400, for Pete's sake. It's on the 4th of July!
Sorry, I got back on the high horse for a minute.
Hope your 4th has gone well so far. Ours is uneventful which is fine with the two of us. The guys finally have some neighbors who are entertaining, so they're going over there. Good for them, to be guests for a change!