Monday, August 17, 2009

ER drama

As I arrived today at a business lunch, Sophie called with news... her mom was headed via ambulance from Jennings Center for Older Adults to the emergency room at MetroHealth Hospital... Bandar had anemia, and it was pretty bad... the doc at Jennings was concerned over the results of Bandar's blood work from last week: dangerously low levels of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports and delivers oxygen throughout the body... she needed prompt medical care, possibly including a red blood cell transfusion.

Sophie asked me to go ahead with my lunch and then meet her at the hospital. Today being the start of the work week, Sophie expected a long wait at a busy ER -- it seems many folks who put off seeking medical care during the weekend have a difficult time getting back into Monday work mode and head to the ER instead.

When I arrived at about 2:30, the ER was hopping with people and activity, just as Sophie predicted. (Since Bandar's a frequent flyer at the ER and I'm the guy who gets to take her there, I had a good base for comparison.) I headed back to intake room 44 and found my girls, Sophie sitting by her mama's side, Bandar laying under sheets and blankets pulled up to her chin. Nothing to do now but wait. Diamonds Are Forever was playing on TNT.

Poor Bandar hadn't taken kindly to the idea of being sent to the hospital. "I'm not gonna go!" She had a few choice words for the staff at Jennings and gave one of her favorite aides the "evil eye" as she was being wheeled out en route to Metro. When Sophie arrived, she had calmed a bit, and by the time I got there, she struggled to stay awake.

The ER doc showed up an hour after I arrived and reported the good news. Bandar's hemoglobin level was fine, about the same as it was a month ago when the hospital last evaluated her blood. No cause for concern. Go back to Jennings. Have a nice day.

What happened? Some kind of error during the first test artificially deflated the level. No way, the doctor said, could the level increase as much as it did as quickly as it did.

Rather than worry about it or try to figure it out, we determined to just be grateful it wasn't more serious. We had reason enough to celebrate. And so we did. While we awaited Bandar's discharge, Sophie sent me to the hospital cafeteria so I could get her mom some celebratory french fries, one of her favorite American foods. Without saying thanks, Bandar ate them with a slight frown on her face. Things were returning to normal.

Late in the afternoon Bandar arrived back at Jennings, as if a conquering hero, receiving the affection of the staff. While she left with a scowl and a snarl, she returned thankful to be back among her new friends and maybe a little happy for all the attention and concern. There will be no more evil eye for her favorite aide.
Here's the news: Bandar completes her physical- and occupational-therapy this week and comes to Casa CadMur Saturday. We're in process of preparing the house for her arrival.

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