Surgery Day

4:50 am seems early to put a suit and tie on. I didn’t even know why I was putting a tie on, I was going to the hospital to be with my 86 year old mom to have a new pacemaker put in. I think it was out of respect for my mom, at 86 and with advanced stage of Alzheimer’s, well you just never know if this is the last time I will have with her. I wanted to be appropriate, whatever that means.

I had spoken with her cardiologists about the risk of the surgery, he assured me they were relatively low, but then she is 86, suffers from total memory loss and with Parkinson’s is pretty stiff.

We had coordinated a cabulance to transport her to the hospital, I knew she would be there just as I arrived. As I pulled into the parking lot, a big fire truck and aide car pulled in front of me, I got irritated by the fact they were driving slow. It didn’t seem like an emergency and I wanted to get in the hospital to be with my mom. They crept around the entrance to the driveway.

I finally got by the fire truck and made my way to the top floor to park. I met my sisters in the designated place, just as I saw my sister, I saw 7 fireman wheeling my mom in. The cabulance had forgotten her pick up and these great fireman who I was so upset with just three minutes earlier had transported my mom. She was in the aid car that was moving so slowly in front of me. I suddenly felt like a schmuck. They were so careful with her and accommodating.

When we approached the surgery center, the nurse immediately said, “you are 30 minutes late, we are going to have to reschedule.” The firemen, again our advocate began to explain the situation, that the cabulance was late and it wasn’t our fault. The nurse gave in and allowed us to go into the pre-surgery center.

With an Alzheimer’s patient everything is more difficult, the transfer takes 2-3 people. She can’t tell you if she is comfortable or not. Then they came in to start her IV, of course with elderly, their veins are small and collapse. The nurse was so kind as she poked to find a vein. My mom let out a yelp and then made the clearest statement I have heard her make in three years,” take the damn thing out or I will slap your face.” She yelled. Wow, now that’s my old mom. Worst yet, that vein collapsed and she had to do it all over again.

The surgery lasted a little over an hour and all went well. My sisters and my wife all advocating for to her to get the best care. The staff were exceptional, even the CEO came down and spent time with us.

I am glad this day is over. Mom is ok and another chapter is closed.

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