Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where I Disappeared to in July

I planned to post regularly during our vacation, and technically I did.

I posted once the last week in June and then SURPRISE, an unexpected event happened on the third day of our three-week California/Oregon trip - during an absolutely scrumptious abalone dinner at my nephew Max's house in Sacramento, to be exact.
Have you noticed that unexpected events can be good news or bad news, but at first it's often too early to tell? Not so in this case. My Aunt Jean called to tell us my mother had just been admitted to the hospital with a raging sinus infection. She'd been on oral antibiotics, but the infection got worse.
Our vacation gave way to panic (after a five-minute period of denial: Me-"She's probably just dehydrated. Maybe it isn't that serious." DH-"She's in the HOSPITAL, honey. It's that serious.") The next morning we were on the road at daybreak, headed a days' drive north to Bend, Oregon.
By the time we arrived at St. Charles Medical Center (AKA, 'the hospital'), Mom was getting re-hydrated with IV fluids and getting some pain relief from IV morphine, but she couldn't remember the word for animal doctor or that stick with the bristles you use to clean your teeth, and I couldn't convince her she hadn't gone home to find her house overrun with bad little boys who'd drawn on the walls with crayons.
Dr. Boddie (pronounced 'body'; isn't that a hoot?), my husband, and I all came to the same conclusion at about the same time: sinus infections don't require patients to be harnessed to their beds because they are in La-la Land. Something else was afoot.
Dr. Boddie transferred Mom to the ICU and ordered a spinal tap. Long story short, the infection had spread to her spinal fluid. Mom had meningitis and encephalitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord as well as the brain itself), a life-threatening infection.
Luckily this story has a happy ending. Mom is one tough mother!

And the staff of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and support personnel at St. Charles are phenomenally professional and compassionate angels of mercy.
A different combo of IV antibiotics began to kill of the killer bacteria. When Mom was strong enough, ENT surgeon Dr. Villano cleaned out all the unmentionable gunk that blocked her sinus openings and then enlarged said openings so she wouldn't get another infection. A semi-permanent IV hookup thingy called a 'pick' was installed in Mom's arm so that she could have infusions of IV drugs twice a day for a week after she went home.
I cared for Mom in her home until she could manage on her own, but I'm down to weekly visits now (in August). She's made a miraculous recovery, thanks to the St. Charles staff and some answered prayers.

I'll blog later about silver linings and messages from the Other Side, but first I'll post the one blog I wrote while at Mom's but was unable to post.


  1. Wow. Scary times but at least all good now. I'll be watching for the Other Side messages. :)

  2. Yes I have noticed that unexpected things come unexpectedly and that sometimes it takes awhile to find the silver lining. I'm so glad your experience had caring, professional, compassionate medical staff. That in and of itself is a huge blessing.

  3. Nice to see you here, Terri. Next week - Messages from the Other Side.

    LOL, Judith. Yes, we are very blessed indeed.