Friday, December 10, 2010
Once in the NICU, Eric had finally procured for me the air mattress, a pair of orthopedic boots that gently lifted my sore heels off the bed, and didn’t stop ranting and barking orders until there were a team of neurologists hovering around my bed. The EEG’s had been done, the lab results were in, the phlebotomist was gingerly trying to locate a vein in my painfully thin arm and there was at least one nurse present to address his concerns at all times. Still everyone was baffled as to why I was having such severe brain seizures while in the coma.
When I still could not be revived the next morning and no meds were being administered, Eric threatened to carry me out in his arms to another hospital on the South Side of Pittsburgh. He had telephoned my spinal cord doctor to fill him in on the grievous details of my condition and the lax treatment from the hospital staff. My doctor was very adamant about the fact that several of my meds will CAUSE a seizure when stopped abruptly the way mine were. It was as if the staff was learning medicine as they went along. After his outburst the head of neurology sent a tech to my room to look at my case. He did an EEG right on the spot using a state of the art laptop/EEG recorder. After the test the specialist had more questions than answers and Eric was beside himself with irritation and worry. Just when it looked liked things couldn’t get more complicated all hell broke loose.
My blood work came back showing my platelet count dangerously low. Every specialist on my case was taking six tubes at a time to run their various tests and apparently that is what caused the serious drop. So Eric was called and told that I needed a blood transfusion immediately and of course he gave the word to go ahead with the procedure straight away. Unfortunately, my oldest sister Linda was not finished trying to wrestle power of attorney away from him. She had called the legal department AGAIN to inform them that I had a grown son who should be making my decisions and taking care of my “estate”. Forgive me now for I must digress and tell you what my sisters had already tried to do. Linda had already put Eric and me (even though I have no memory of it) through hell once before when I was first admitted and the medicine error and resulting lung collapse caused pneumonia and I was medically sedated with propofol. She actually called our mother and told her I was dying and then called the hospital asked who to speak to find out about getting power of attorney since I had two sisters and a mother. Where would my last Social Security check go? We are her family; we should have the authority over her care! The head of the legal department’s hands were tied. When Eric found out about this he blew a gasket. He called my younger sister Mary and tore into her with questions about me: Who’s Lori’s primary care physician? She couldn’t answer. Who’s her spinal cord doctor? What are medications? Can you tell the doctor about her medical history? My sisters were quiet. I don’t remember ever seeing either them OR my mother during my entire stay at Presby. They had to bring me out of sedation to get my verbal consent that Eric did indeed have power of attorney relating to matters of my health and well being while in the hospital. When I think about how poorly I’ve been treated by family over the past five and half years I get physically sick to my stomach.
Now, back to the emergency blood transfusion, the hospital administrator had to track my son down who was away at tech school. Eric broke the speed limit to get to the hospital to be there for me... he got there in record time. Regardless, we still had to wait six hours for what the specialist considered an urgent procedure. My son Bill was stupefied by the actions of his Aunts and immediately told those in charge not only that he had no interest in having power of attorney but that Eric was the only person he knew who was qualified to do so. Thus I finally received the blood I so direly needed. Still, I lay in coma having undiagnosed and unexplained brain seizures hovering somewhere between a never ending nightmare and far away world of confusion.