Sunday, May 11, 2014

Code Blue

On Easter Sunday, Anna June and I experienced a few of the holiday's great traditions.

The Easter Bunny visited AJ. She was very, very excited and could not sleep. After over 30 minutes of being awake, we let her up to see what the furry guy left for her. In her new, blue camouflage Easter bucket (her choice!), she got a bunch of candy, including a chocolate bunny, Cadbury eggs, jelly beans, Reese's eggs, and Blow Pops. She got an origami kit and a pair of pajamas. She was very, very excited. We made her go back to bed.

We had Sunrise Service at our home church, and breakfast afterwards. AJ's favorite part? Donuts, of course.

We got dressed up and went to church, and then we went to Aunt Connie's for the big family dinner. We brought broccoli salad, a dish sped up by the "donation" of leftover bacon from Crestline's breakfast. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?

AJ was ready to get out of her Easter dress and into a pair of shorts for eating. Lunch went well, and Ben got tired, so I took him home and came back. By then, our cousin Judy had arrived, and we enjoyed spending a little time with her.

I changed AJ back into her Easter dress, because there was still one relative we had to go see.

My grandmother Hazel was in the rehab unit at Trinity (Montclair) Hospital. I figured there were only a few people in the area who really, really wanted to see AJ in her Easter dress, and Grandma would be one of them.

The week or two (?) before, on Sunday night, Grandma fell in her bathroom, with her leg hitting her cast iron tub. She waited until the next morning to go to the emergency room, in a lot of pain. Her leg is fractured, although the doctor at St. Vincent's described it as "smooshed." When they were going to release her to rehab, we were very fortunate to get a spot in Trinity's small unit.

The rehab unit at Trinity is called "Easy Street." It is a very cute but practical place - they have all sorts of real-world items simulated, so those learning how to walk with crutches or use a wheelchair can get some good practice. There's an ATM, a car with a gas pump and working doors, a grocery store and a vet's office. The waiting room for the floor is an exact replica of an Applebee's. Getting in and out of a booth or navigating a room full of chairs is a challenge patients must learn to handle.

So, we went to visit Grandma and, the nurse informed us that Grandma was in the restroom and we'd have to wait. We went over to the chairs and started watching TV. I heard the nurse trying to get Grandma's attention. "Ms. Robbins? Ms. Robbins? Ms. Robbins?" As her voice got louder, I was more and more alarmed at the lack of response. The nurse called to me to call the nurse, so I hit the call button on the wall and found the one on the bed. It wasn't fast enough, so the nurse with Grandma asked me to run down to the nurse's station to get someone. AJ and I ran, for sure. The nurse came quickly, and then told another one in the hall to bring the crash cart. The nurse from the desk told us to go to the waiting area, as there would be "a lot of people coming." Nothing sounded stranger in the moment than the lady saying, "Go to Applebee's!" I knew what she meant, though.

As we went into the room, we heard over the loudspeaker, "Code blue, room 1114." I was terrified. AJ was, too. We just held each other and prayed together. We saw a bunch of doctors and nurses rushing by. I called my mother, who had just laid down for a nap. Fortunately, my parents live about 4 blocks from the hospital, and Mom was there as soon as she could get the car parked. Soon, we saw the doctors and nurses heading away from the room, and we either knew that everything was OK, or else there was nothing more they could do.

I feared the latter. That morning, while Mom had her phone off and we were at Sunrise Service, Grandma experienced sudden numbness in her hand. After an MRI, it was tentatively determined she had a TIA. This is not really the first time, and given her cardiac history, frankly, scared doesn't even begin to cover it.

Eventually, the chaplain came to "Applebee's" with AJ and me. He was able to tell us that Grandma was OK, and had regained consciousness. Mom soon arrived. Then, the nurse supervisor and the nurse came in turns to explain what had happened and that she was OK. The nurse told us that they did not have to shock her or give her anything to wake her back up, but she did lay her on the floor and begin chest compressions.

Once they got everything situated, we were allowed back in the room. Rusty and Beth came, and brought her a plate of leftovers from our dinner. We were all just so relieved.

AJ and I came back home, and I put on some sweatpants and told Ben to just take us to the Waffle House for dinner - I could not do one more thing that day. I had had enough.

Although at the time she kept calm and quiet, AJ just kept repeating, "That was so scary. That was so scary." And it was.

Those nurses actually made me think about resurrection in a whole different way.

So, most of Easter was great. That last little bit was awful.


Anonymous said...

azo HeThis is HORRIFIC!! I HOPE Hazel is doing MUCH better ! I am so sorry you and Anna June were there to go thru this scary, scary experience. Is Hazels chest alright after the compressions the nurses were doing ?? I am just SO Sorry to hear of her going thru all of this !Such a sweet lady! SO DESERVING of a better retirement than this! I will certainly keep her in my thoughts and prayers! Praying too that the docs can get a handle on this , and spare her --and all of you -- further crises!

Laura Gallitz said...

So far, she is doing much better. She is out of the hospital and rehab, and is staying with my parents. She didn't complain to me about her chest, so I guess it is OK. She has always had blood pressure issues and is a diabetic, so there are always good days and bad days. This is one of those "life-changing" events I nebulously referred to the other day. However, it's been life-changing for Grandma and mostly Mom and Dad- not so much for me. But my Aunt Heidi came up to help with Grandma when Mom had to work for the big Indy Car Weekend at Rusty's, and then my Aunt Vicki came up to help when Mom had to be at the restaurant and Rusty was out of town. Dad is, of course, tied up with the auction since Drew also still has a broken leg! I haven't helped all that much, but we have the Friday night shift when my parents are gone to the auction. With working, that's about all we can do. Thanks for your prayers.