I got to work at 7:45 a.m. Around 8:45 my phone started making a strange sound, like an alarm, rather than a ring. I pulled it out of my pocket. It was Melanoma Man. I answered. He was crying. He said he needed me to come home because he was having a brain freeze. I got my things together, saw my boss in the hallway, who said simply "Go, explain later." She could tell it was emergent. On my way to the car I called Sara G,, hoping she would be at home. She was home and at the ready. I was twenty five miles from home, worrying that Melanoma Man might be having a stroke. My phone rang again. I expected it to be Sara G or Melanoma Man. Instead it was Azalealand, the nursing home my Mom lives in two and a half hours away. They had not been able to reach my sister and needed to know if we wanted mom to go to the hospital. Mom's oxygen saturation had dipped into the low 70s and they weren't able to get it up by administering a higher volume of oxygen. I hit the pause button to call Johnny Reb. I didn't want to be a consensus of 1. We agreed, no intervention. I spoke with the social workers. A few minutes later sister called. I relayed my thoughts, my conversation with Johnny Reb and she was in agreement. I think it is hardest for sister and I am not sure why. For me, as a nurse the hardest part is seeing people trapped in bodies and or minds that they cannot maneuver the way they want. Maybe she feels it is her responsibility to keep Mom alive. I felt it was mine for years until the survival of my own family took over.
I arrived home to find MM chatting in the kitchen with Sara G. He explained that he had had a 15-30 minute episode of word scramble, unable to access and produce the words needed to express the thoughts. It happened while he was driving imac to school. He was worried that imac would be scared. Sara G drove to school on my behalf to reassure imac. I remembered my days as a Candystriper at Georgetown University Hospital. I was usually assigned to the Neurology floor. They needed a lot of hands on help there, with bathing and dressing and feeding. I remember a young attorney in her late 30's, early 40's at most, with short hair, Isabella Rosselini style, pretty. She had a stroke, The nurses felt she was lonely. She couldn't speak, but she could understand. She had a brightness in her eyes that followed your words. They sent me to keep her company, to tell her stories. So I sat with her and told her stories from my 14 years on earth. She cried. I think because she so wanted to speak.
Melanoma Man began cancelling volunteer commitments while I left messages for the Neurosurgery Team at Moffitt. Jen and Ruth and Robin called back, which was AWESOME. They collected information, relayed it back to Dr. Etame, called in prescriptions for steroids to reduce brain swelling and anti seizure drugs. They advised us of next week's schedule: pre op Wednesday, craniotomy Thursday. Tonight we will tell Butter. imac will be home late, playing flute in his high school band tonight for the Music Performance Assessment. We'll tell imac in the morning. I am wishing I could be in 3 places at once, Savannah with my Mom and sister today, home with my boys, and at Moffitt in Tampa next week.