Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Joy Ride in an Ambulance

I decided, Sunday afternoon, to get Mom out of the house for awhile. She doesn't like trekking around in the cold, but personally, I don't know how she doesn't go batshit crazy from cabin fever, and it made me feel better to get her out of the house. That's what she gets for making me put on a sweater every time she was cold, when I was growing up.

The agenda for the day: hot chocolate and book browsing. Whoo hoo!

She was dressed and had her hair washed when I arrived. I dried her hair, and tweaked her appearance a bit, turning her sweatshirt around so it was on front-ward. We were out the door in no time, looking forward to some lazy afternoon browsing.

We had a nice time at Barnes and Noble, and ran next door to Bed Bath and Beyond. I was going to purchase a knife, and then we'd be off to some cocoa. With whipped cream of course; she loves the whipped cream.

As I was paying for my purchases, however, Mom tapped me on the shoulder, and I could see immediately that something was wrong. "I feel dizzy," she said. The young lady that was waiting on me, Ashley, was right on top of it, and directed us to a chair in a small, open office a few feet away.

I got Mom settled in a chair, removing her coat and gloves to cool her off. A bottle of water materialized, and after taking one sip, she lost consciousness, sending the bottle flying. The BB&B staff may have a different story, but in my mind, I remained calm, saying "uh-oh, she's out, can you call an ambulance, please?" I knelt in front of her, holding her hands, and talking to her, trying to wake her up. She opened her eyes, looked right into mine, and zonked back out. It's all kind of spinny from there; I was shaking, thinking she'd had a stroke, and playing out 100 different scenarios in my mind.

By the time the firetruck arrived with 3 EMTs in tow, Mom had acknowledged that she knew my name, but the word "Lori" was slow in coming and difficult to manage. An ambulance showed up shortly after. IVs and tests were administered right in the store, and Mom slowly became more coherent. She was too out of it to be scared, she thanked the people that were helping her, and yes, she would like to go to the hospital, please.

My eyebrows raised, as on the way out, she answered all of the EMT's questions with spot-on accuracy. Her name, how to spell it, her birthdate, and her address. These are questions that trip her up when a doctor in an office asks. The pressure to get such simple questions correct makes her mind go blank. I listened, not having to correct her, thinking "Go, Mom."

After a few tests, Mom was given a clean bill of health. Her fainting was due to a "Vasovagal reaction," that occurs when you bear down and hold your breath at the same time, causing your blood pressure to drop and make you faint. You've seen videos where the bride or groom passes out at the altar? Same thing there. Perhaps her shoulder panged her, or her back ached, as it sometimes does, or perhaps she felt dizzy from the heat or from hunger, and held her breath a second too long. We are thankful that it was minor, of course, and hopeful that it doesn't happen again. Too scary.

So, Mom was fine, hungry, and ready to find some chow! My sister and I had to keep her from crawling right over the guard rails on the bed when she was told they were going to release her. She still had an IV in her arm, and several other wires attached to her body. I swear she would have just dragged it all out behind her if we hadn't stopped her.

We were finally given the all clear to get her dressed, but she insisted first on having all of the tape and doo-dads removed from her being. Stuck on with 3M tape, the job of pulling these things off was left to me.

Not sure whether to take it easy or do the quick-rip, I started out slowly. While I was worrying that I'd hurt her, my mother threw up her arms and yelled "BOO!" You can imagine how this sent me jumping 3 feet into the air, while she and my sister rolled around on the floor, laughing themselves into tears.

Here's my devil mother, still giggling at her own evil self:

To add insult to injury, I arrived home to find that as I'd been removing those snap-things, and setting them aside, my sister had been picking them up and carefully tacking them to the back of my sweater as I worked.

With these 2 ladies in my life, it's really a wonder I don't carry a flask, don't you think?


  1. Y'all really know how to spice up an afternoon, eh? :-) I'm glad everything came out OK...it was good to see your Mom's smiling face at the end. You should also know by now that you never turn your back to a sibling. :-)

  2. Well, that sounded like a fun little adventure. NOT! So glad she is fine. That's what happened to me a week after my surgery when the flu visited our house. One minute I was fine the next I was waking up and stopping my husband from calling 911.

  3. Karla: Yeah! You should pencil in afternoon with us, next time you come back! It's all fun and games until you're waiting HOURS in the ER.

    Mim: You had surgery, then the flu, then passed out?!! I imagine your husband nearly had a heart attack. Good lord.

  4. I'm glad she's okay and sorry you had such a scare. I like that your family can make light of a tense situation. It's the best way to do things.

  5. Oh yeah, it was the same day he had taken a CPR training course. He was freaking out.

  6. StFarmer7:40 AM

    I'm glad your mom and sister kept their sense of humor!

  7. You made it sound like you're The Three Stooges in drag..... Our family deals with stress the same way- humour..

  8. Oh god you scared the CRAP out of me at the beginning of this post...my eyes were all swelled up and everything.

    I think it hit home the most because my mother is procrastinating on moving here and the thought of her going through something like that alone pains me...even if she is a nurse and would know what to do better than I.

    You have no idea how happy I was to see that picture of your mom smiling at the end...I think if you hadn't posted a picture I would have been devastated even though it had a happy ending all around.

  9. I just assumed you did.

  10. Geewits: Sometimes you just gotta laugh; things could have been a lot worse at the end of the day, that's for sure!

    Mim: Interesting timing; did he feel like the course helped him?

    StFarmer: Yes, they are hilaaaarious...

    BuffaloDick: Nyuck nyuck nyuck!

    Brown English Muffin: It scared the crap out of me too. I didn't mention I'd left my cell phone in the car, and had to ask someone to call 911!

    Melody: HA! I figure I don't dare--I'd be emptying the thing out whereever I go!

  11. Go Mom, indeed. And go Lori, too.

    Oh, and if anyone ever (Anyone. Ever.) suggests a tilt table test to check and see for certain if you have the tendency toward vasovegal reactions, simply say "Oh, I don't need that; it's already been diagnosed." Or, run screaming from the room, whichever you find more appropriate in the moment.

    Tell me you at least got cocoa with whipped cream eventually.

  12. Ugh, I'm nauseous just thinking about it.

    And in the end, no cocoa; she was starving, and woofed down an entire big fat cheeseburger. If you knew my Mom, you'd be amazed, she usually takes 2 bites of something, declares herself stuffed, and takes the rest home.

  13. I knew there was a reason for the lateness of NYE Part III. I was worrying a bit. Glad it turned out to be nothing serious.

  14. Anonymous3:04 PM

    Good to see she was okay.

    I must tell you in detail sometime about how MP whacked her elbow on the seat of a plane in Egypt and then fainted and how I threw her back on the seat and raised her legs to my shoulder to get the blood back into her head. I looked down the plane to see all the horrified looks from the passengers.

    I guess they thought it was a variation on the Mile High Club!

  15. Oh your mom is a sweet woman. I am so glad that she is ok. I bet she enjoyed the day.

  16. Im so glad that your mama is okay. I love seeing the pictures of her. I will always remember the times that we would go to her house and she would get down on the floor with me and play paper dolls....(she never did anything mean, like make me eat salmon or skanky tuna bags.)

  17. If I'd have known that was all it took to pass out my childhood pranks would have been a lot different. Glad mum is ok!

  18. What the heck are "skanky tuna bags??? You still know how to make me laugh til I cry.. those stories about your mom do just that.. you crazy lady! So glad she's ok..

  19. Cassie: Very perceptive of you. The day did put me into a bit of a tailspin.

    Dogbait: Since I read your comment, I've been slapping my forehead. Elevate her feet! Of COURSE! There was this odd "at least she wasn't on the floor" reaction with me. Duh!

    Greg: It was a bit of excitement for her! Each day this week, she has referred to what happened "yesterday." She is definitely precious.

    FrugalMom: I BELIEVE that you drove your OWNSELF to my home to indulge in those delicacies, that you spit out on my fine china. I mean, Chinette.

    (Have to give you credit for trying them, though. Go, you.)

    Sven: I'm sure you could still use it to your advantage, if you perfect it. Think: Free Meals....

    Di: "Skanky Tuna Bags" are MarceeSpeak for "Spicy Tuna Sushi"...though admittedly we coined it ourselves (me and Shy Smiley) because it's so much funnier that way.


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