Family · Health · Travel · Wellness

Trip of a Lifetime turns into trip to ER

I was trying to write a fun 3-day travel itinerary for Memphis for today but I’m having difficulties. Since today is World Health Day my problems sort of fit in with the theme of the day. This day marks the anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO), which was founded in 1948. The World Health Organization is the leading global health authority within the United Nations System. Every year they have a theme that pertains to an international health issue; this year’s theme is Depression. Although I am saddened by the current turn of events, I wouldn’t call it depression, but, as you will see by the end of this post, there is a connection.

Monday my mother and John, her significant other, went to Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ, to see the Saguaro Cacti bloom. It may sound strange to many of you, but it was something she has always wanted to see. She had been having respiratory issues for the past three weeks leading up to the trip and had seen the doctor several times including right before they left for Arizona. Steroid shots, antibiotics, and a “rescue inhaler” were all that were prescribed. She was short of breath but the inhaler seemed to help and they had a lovely day Tuesday looking at the Cacti.


But at 3am Wednesday morning she woke up having difficulty breathing and by 6am John called an ambulance. They arrived in the ER and she was given a chest x-ray and lots of blood work. Doctors thought it might be pneumonia and admitted her to hospital for antibiotics and steroids. I thought things were okay. Then I received a phone call at 4:30 my time (2:30 PST) from the hospital. It was the doctor in the Intensive Care Unit telling me that my mother had collapsed and was septic; she had to be intubated and was now in the ICU on a ventilator with a major change in antibiotics plus vasopressors and diuretics for her heart. WHOA! Big change! He mentioned tests for pneumonia and Congestive Heart Failure and of course my emotions were on a roller coaster.

Yesterday, Thursday, she showed signs of improvement and they were able to take her off the ventilator. Her blood work results were better and her test results came back negative for flu. Another chest x-ray showed positive changes over yesterday’s. They are still waiting on results from blood and sputum samples, but since she seems to be responding to the antibiotics they are assuming bacterial pneumonia for now.

Isn’t it sad that a trip of a lifetime can change so suddenly and drastically? So here is a link to a wonderful article on getting through hard times. I have a copy saved on my iPad and read it whenever I have to deal with one of life’s bigger “curveballs”. It helps you realize that you are not alone in your troubles. The hardest part is not being able to be there with her. I’m usually “just around the corner” and can be there when she needs me. This distance is difficult to handle.

Today is her birthday and that makes it even harder. So Happy 76th Birthday Mom! I Love You! I know you will be better soon and able to come home.


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