I made my morning call to my Aunt. The weak voice came across the earpiece: sleepy, weak, sick? “How are you sweetie?” “I am very tired, weak.” “Are you worse than yesterday?” (She can’t really remember much of yesterday, without prompting…silly question). “I don’t know, I just feel so weak.” “I am on my way. I think we should go to hospital ER for a look see, Ok?” “Whatever you think best.”
Enroute, already a bit overloaded and tired, I am planning for a long day if we go to ER. I arrive. Imagine my surprise when she greets me at the door with her immensely oversized green windbreaker already on, wig affixed, earrings and minus a front tooth from her dentures. Attempting to not stare into the abyss of her gap, I say good morning. I then say my you look so pretty today. I say wow, ah…what happened there to the front tooth. “Oh, I have it in my wallet. Let’s go.” I load her up (snap a pic) and belt her in. “So really, what happened? Did you fall?” “No, a darn potato chip” Of course, just the way it seems to go.
So, a real assessment is in order and she says she is down, has no oomph, feels tight in the chest, just doesn’t know how much longer she will be here…”How much longer to you think, really, I will be able to live in my house?” “Well we want you healthy and …..” “No, I mean how much longer am I going to live?” “Years, Auntie…let’s go get you better”
We arrive in short order at the hospital..”now why are we here?” (short term memory loss can be frustrating!). We glide thru Admitting via professional, seen it all, ladies into triage, into a room. Chaos abounds on a Monday afternoon: screaming whooping cough tyke, screaming woman, Life Flight activated…gang shooting. Alarms are activated and it is evident they are gearing up on what should have been a mellower Monday. Nope. But, here is my Aunt, and for all the world of decency they treat her and me with so much patience.
Soon it is evident that she is ‘simply’ low on fluids and her electrolytes are scattered. She is poked and vials of blood are drawn and sent to the lab. Too handsome/beautiful doctors come and go and give reassurances. “All is good, just a fine tuning. Won’t be long”…. Chopper can be heard, there is a palpable pause of a minute or two and the chatter elevates and the energy level causes a cosmic drain away from us… But, as the child with whooping cough whoops and chokes and cart wheels chatter past, we are not forgotten.
She is given fluids, her color comes back, her face fills out, I can see the wrinkles disappear (almost, and yes I know I am not using periods) Soon, the wires, needles, and tags are removed. We are told her BNP test is even higher than last time 390 as opposed to 287, but not to worry just yet. Hmmm. She is redressed with care and we are shown the door with much care and respect. I load her up again. I can only imagine how drained she is: “Let’s go for a burger!” “What?” “Don’t tell me you’re not hungry; I know you are” Lord. Off to BK we go. I won’t go into the hour + it took for her to eat a Jr. Whopper and orchestrate a straw from her gap. I won’t forget her taking me to BK, nor will the twit employee forget the look of ‘I will slap you dead silly bitch if you don’t straighten up and treat the lady with patience and respect.’
We eat our burger. We talk and she remarks how much she misses my mom. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Constant themes that weigh heavy on her mind and heart. “What kind of liquor do you like? Do you like Vodka? That’s what I like”…Really? “Auntie, (you know what I am about to ask) have you been drinking any Vodka lately?” “Oh no, I can’t remember (not reassuring) when I last had it. I just like it”
Home a mere 7 hours after we left, it was a quick trip in all by ER standards. And, she was better. We sat and visited more. We tried to remember (I know) where she had her dentures fixed the last time, when they glued the front tooth back in. “Show me the tooth, Auntie, show me the tooth” “I know I have it here somewhere” (and no, I dont give a crap about passive voice. Frankly, I like violating the rule).