Feb. 25th, 2008

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At 7:13 on Saturday morning I was awoken by my cell phone. I didn't get there in time. I saw that it was Karen's cell calling and I listened to her message. She was barely coherent. She kept stating that she was at Crittenton Hospital on the 8th floor and that it was an emergency. She mentioned something about her kidney medication. The message cut off suddenly as she complained that it was all confused in her head.

I called the hospital after looking up the number on the interent to find out her room number. I got there around 9:00 and apparently the nurses were expecting me. Karen had made me her medical durable power of attorney about two or three weeks ago after I told her she had better get her daughter off the document since she tried to kill her mother in October. She had her lawyers from her divorce who drew up the original documents make the changes so it is official. The doctor even took the time to explain to me my rights and how it worked when I grew nervous about possible conflicts with her family, especially her daughter.

Karen was in ICU with viral meningitus. When I got there the doctors and nurses were frustrated because Karen was not making any sense and and serious memory problems at the same time. She was brought in by amubluance the night before when her parents found her screaming in pain and with a high fever. I wish I had been more together but I was overwhelmed with the responsibility and worried about Karen. My own memory was a bit scattered and foggy. They gave me some paper and I wrote everything I could remember about her medical history including recent problems. One thing is for sure, when she is better I need to get WAY more organized about her medical information.

When I told the doctor that she has lupus, he actually gave me a heart felt thank-you. It explained a lot apparently and he was concerned that it was making the meningitis much worse especially the mental side effects. I stayed at the hosptial by Karen's side until 7:30 that night. They have a nurses aid sitting with her constantly to keep an eye on her. Karen is very mobile when confused and in pain. My day was filled with watching her doze and then calming her down when she got afraid or confused. She was having some sort of attack that looked like an anxiety attack but could have been her seizures.

I went back the next day and stayed from 9ish to 6:15 without even eating lunch. The attacks were growing more frequent and severe with extreme pain in her head and spine. I tried to help her relax and not scream out and focus on her breathing and reminded her that the pain would stop. I suspect that they very well could have been some sort of seizure because when her mom brought her activater for her vegas nerve stimulator and she used it when it started coming on it stopped the attack.

She recovered remarkably quickly over those two days with the meningitis at least and they said she would probably be transferred to a regular room today. She became a lot more coherent as well and that really encourages me and takes off some pressure. The nurse thought perhaps by Thursday she could go home. I'm not so sure though because if they do find the lupus is attacking her brain they may try to get that under control first and I'm not sure that would be possible without light chemo at this point.

It was a surreal weekend. Everyone seemed so surprised a mere friend would go through all this and take on so much responsibility. When I explain to them the ineptness that is her family they gain a little understanding. I can't just stand and watch this train wreck. I want to work towards making this world a little more balanced in the love and light direction.

It is so odd interacting with her loopy parents. They think the world of me and I think so little of them. I do make allowances for their extreme age mind you but they have big strikes against them in that her father used to beat her and her mother ignored that and is emotionally cold. I told her father in no uncertain terms that I did not want Lindsey in Karen's apartment like what happened last time Karen was in the hospital in December. He pretended to not remember what happened or even broach the subject of how Lindsey might have gotten a key after Karen changed the locks.... He better not forget that I'm watching out for Karen's interests. I reminded him though. He gave me a key to her place and that seems to show that he is willing to cooperate. I'm sure he realizes that I will take a lot off of his own shoulders in my helping her.

If what the parents say can be trusted Lindsey doesn't even know her mother is in the hospital yet because they could not find her phone number. I suppose she should be told, but I feel a little relief that she may not be upsetting her mother with her presence. I'm sure she will get told eventually.

I saw way too much of Karen's naked body. The gown they gave her was far too small and kept falling off, plus she had to use the bedside commode and they gave her cream for her rash. I feel guilty for even noticing but her sickness has made her body bloated and grotesque. Her distended body is covered in skin like sand paper and she had a bright red rash over most of it from the meningitis or from her lupus. She is like a living corpse in more ways than one. Her family often treats her as if she were a ghost and all her friends she had when well seem surprised she is even alive when she runs across them. No one from that period of her life even has contact with her.

I noticed an interesting social behavior in the ICU. Family and friends that go to visit patients there have the same attitude you often see in churches. I wore a low cut shirt on Sunday and the looks and sideways glances of older women of disgust who would simply have ignored me on the street or in the mall was interesting to note. It was like my cleavage was an affront to them while they dealt with death. They seemed to think such obvious abundance of health and life must not be shown around illness and death. It was very much as if I wore a red low cut dress to the funeral of my lover.

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cosette_valjean

August 2009

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