Tale Tues: Posting Early…

…as on Tues I’ll be stuck in New Year’s Day traffic after my in-laws wing-ding-noise-maker New Year’s eve party (to give you an idea, at Easter they serve vodka-spiked jello eggs):

Life can be too damn interesting for the sake of my own fragile sanity. You know, the kind of fragile sanity that winds up dangling by a thread. A fragile thread, one easily shed from some gossamer heirloom dress in your great-great grandmother’s attic….

Ok, so I can carry a metaphor far past its limits. Limits that can be well tested, by the way, by the new pup who got his new teeth into my brand new Paperwhite KINDLE… limits are for another post.

Back to the interesting – I’m ready for the far less interesting. Never mind a respite from the usual holiday hoopla, of freshly-hung tree lights only to find they’re burnt out; the setting up of the handcrafted wood Christmas manger only to discover baby Jesus is missing; poor Mary’s stiff wooden arms outstretched and empty; the wrapping of presents, down to the last tiny junky Christmas stocking ones of light-up Rudolph reindeer noses….

Speaking of wrapping presents: My now built-in pessimistic instinct for crises served well this year, to get that task completed well in advance of Santa’s annual visit down our wood-burning stove pipe (“How does he fit?” my skeptical nine year old has to ask. “He’s magic,” my thankfully still-less-skeptical seven year old answers).

As this year, the holidays started off far more interesting than I ever would have hungered for. During a simple lunch of onion soup pre-Christmas Eve Day, with my mother, as we were planning just that, the holidays: Christmas dinner. Should we roast our usual eye-of-the-round? With string beans and mashed potatoes? When her right arm began to ache.

Within ten minutes that right arm was in agony.

In another five, she began to lose all sensation except for a tingling in her hand.

And her hand turned ghostly. A delicate light blue.

I called 911.

To confirm she wasn’t having a stroke, the nice 911 lady asked my mother to repeat back  some stupid sentence about bees bumbling in a blooming bush something or other….

She could repeat it back better than I even could.

Then the nice 911 lady asked my mother to smile.

My mother obliged, as she had in all our wedding photos, by smiling her thin tight grin, considering her less-than-perfectly straight teeth too unsightly to be photographed.

“Is the smile equal on both sides?” The nice calm lady asked. I imagined a steeping cup of green tea at her elbow.

“Yes! It’s equal!” I yelled, really yelling more at the damn pup I was trying to restrain on a very short leash. This was all too great fun, and he really wanted to dig into the red emergency bag of the police officer who arrived within a reasonable amount of time.

Good thing, since the actual ambulance arrived a good unreasonable half hour later; long enough for me to call back and yell at the nice 911 lady who, calmly sipping that tea, said they were having a hard time “pulling together a crew.” What were these on-call volunteer folk doing? Sucking down the last sip of some Starbuck’s pricey specialty Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino? Letting the washer finish its cycle?

My mother could have been dead.

She actually would have been dead if the blood clot had travelled up rather than down.

But she did eventually make it to the hospital, and emergency surgery was quickly scheduled for an arterial occlusion; a blood clot that had shut off all blood flow down her arm to her hand – If you were to check her pulse in that wrist, you’d assume she were dead. Except for her complaining about the TV remote, for how long we had to wait for not only bedpans, but for the actual so-called “emergency” surgery that was delayed three hours….

“How is this an emergency if they can delay emergency surgery?” she asked. Not an unreasonable question…

“And why won’t they just let me get up to go to the bathroom?” A less reasonable question perhaps,  waving around her lifeless blue wrist tagged with a bright yellow “High risk for falls” bracelet.

I thought of explaining to her why she was tagged with that bracelet, but have learned not to talk sense into my mother especially during nonsensical times like waiting for delayed emergency surgery and bedpans.

The surgery was a “cinch,” as the surgeon later told me, sucking out the clot through a tiny incision above her elbow.

Keeping my mother pacified in the hospital for a few days while they monitored her Coumadin levels proved not such a cinch. “They leave me forever sitting on bedpans,” she complained, and the salmon dinner was cold. The coffee, dishwater.

Who wouldn’t complain. Maybe only those lucky enough to be doped up on morphine and hallucinate monarch butterflies fluttering around their beds.

The good news with holiday crises is sometimes the holidays still can go on; my mother got out in time for Christmas and to see her grandchildren open Santa’s presents, even as I realized in my wrapping rush I’d forgotten to scrape off stocking present prices. Ones my Santa-skeptical-nine-year-old likes to point out with glee: “Oh, boy, thanks Santa, $1.99 from Michaels” he said, holding up the reindeer nose.

Have a super-safe and if you prefer, like me, an uneventful New Year’s Eve spent in fuzzy slippers.

Best to all my cyber readers. I do love you all and do wish you only good things, simple moments of reprieve from daily grinds,  in 2013.

About Sandra

Author;editor of The Woven Tale Press at thewoventalepress.net; mother; weaver
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12 Responses to Tale Tues: Posting Early…

  1. I read your Facebook post so I knew a little about this. I had never heard of a blood clot in the arm before – scary! Especially when you have the amount of shoulder arthritis that I have! I doubt there’s any connection, though! (My grandmother died after surgery to remove a bloodclot in her leg. Of course, it was much more invasive back in 1957.) Anyway, I’m sure glad your mother came through another crisis OK.

  2. Debbie says:

    So glad your mother got out of the hospital in time for Christmas and may her health continue to be good.
    Seems I have something in common with your in-laws, because I just love a good New Year’s Eve party! 🙂 Wishing you all the best for 2013 and beyond

  3. Barbra says:

    I wish peace and serenity for you and your family in 2013! Hugs.

  4. Daphne says:

    Oh boy, Sandra… What a scare! Glad your mom is fine…. Happy New Year!

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks, Daphne. And glad it sounds as if you and your husband are getting some time together. What an inspiring relationship you two have!

  5. Sarah B says:

    Wow, how terrifying! Glad everything is ok now. Thanks for linking up with us for Mommy Moments!

  6. Amy Morgan says:

    So pleased all ended so well with your mom Sandra and you had her with you for the holidays. If it helps set your mind at ease, my husband is the supervisor for the 911 dispatch center here on Grand Island. Although the questions the dispatcher asked may have seemed irritating, they are necessary and are a set of protocols designed to get to the route of what is happening in the fastest manner possible. Of course, not all 911 centers are alike, but by the questions you mentioned, it sounds quite familiar. Happy New Year, my friend. Hope you had safe travels and that 2013 is a bit calmer for you all!

    • Sandra says:

      thanks Amy. yeah, I gather those questions are protocol which was fine. It just was frightening how very long it took for a crew to get there. Really. If it had been any more serious I doubt she would have made it.

  7. stephanie says:

    Good heavens! I love your sense of humor in detailing a frightening event. What else can you do? It pushes back the panic. The image of the green tea at the elbow of the 911 dispatcher is great! I’m very glad your mother got home in time for Christmas. Wonderful writing, Sandra. Wishing you an uneventful, very Happy New Year!

  8. Suzy says:

    I hope your mother is better now. Wish you and yours a very happy 2013.

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