I was absent mindedly staring at something on the tile floor. The din was very distracting. Or maybe it was because I didn't think I'd have to be in this place again. After a couple minutes, I realized that I had been staring at dried up, once cleaned blood stains on a cheap tile floor.
At the time, the whole situation seemed ridiculous. People walking around in uniforms that would be appropriate at the worst Motel 6 you've ever seen. Drunks asking for money. People who couldn't find their cars.
Mom: "We just started to feel normal again. We ate pizza at Pizza Villa and it was just normal, like it used to be." Yet, here we were in the emergency room at the hospital downtown Chicago.
My father, whose immune system is compromised because he is recovering from pancreas/kidney replacement surgery, was in an emergency room filled with sick people. It wasn't comforting. Luckily, we got to be in the 'family' room before they admitted us to a room in the emergency room proper. As we walked in, I noticed almost all the rooms were full. And there were numerous people laying on beds in the middle of it all. Their family members just standing there, looking concerned. How odd can it be to be in such a vulnerable place, with a family member in bad condition, and at the same time on display?
The room we were put in was a 12*8 stable separated from the organized chaos by a curtain. Noise was constant. I could hear people talking everywhere, but couldn't make out what they were saying because there was so. much. talking. beeping. chirping. doors opening.
Dad had gotten nauseous and vomited a couple times. At first I thought, ok, he just had huge surgery 6 weeks ago, big deal. But those are signs of a rejection. So Mom brought him into the emergency room on Friday. They sent him home with some drugs and a good wish. Except it didn't help, and he was back the next day. This time I was there.
We spent 5 hours in that stable. We saw at least 10 different medical professionals. The lesbian EMT trainees that screwed up taking the blood, a resident, the Senior resident, the Doc on staff, numerous nurses. All had something to say. Each had something different to say. Emotions rose and fell at every turn.
Mom's (and Dad's) emotions were on a roller coaster. They'd been through enough goddamit. The problem with this kidney thing my Dad has been going through, isn't the actual health issue. It's the permanent uncertainty. I came to the realization as I stared at that blood that there is no normal anymore. No cough will go unanalyzed. No nap unscrutinized.
When they decided to admit him, we walked out of the emergency room. Past the exact same people who had been sitting in the chaos for five full hours.
So it's been 4 days in the hospital for my Mom and Dad. Mom is staying in the room, not sleeping, eating like crap, and generally frayed. She has trouble leaving the room for even short periods of time, and Dad wants here there with him. "What if he gets the bad nurse?" "What if something happens? What if the doctor comes?"
There's always a What If to answer my requests that she spend the night with us and actually get some sleep and a break.
The good news is that whatever it is, the Docs (really the nurses are doing the communication) think they can turn it around. Most likely its that his small intestine is just lazy, and not processing food.
I found out Monday morning that one of my co-workers is in ICU. He went in for surgery to get his nose fixed (it was crooked inside and gave him sinus problems). Not a big deal. Routine. Except they hit a blood vessel. Now I get emails talking about repairing his ocular wall.
My Dad goes in for major surgery, and recovers so fast he's out in near record time. My co-worker goes in for no-big-deal surgery and is in ICU for a week.