Disclaimer: When dealing with issues of a more personal nature, such as bodily functions, VB will attempt to illustrate said function by employing various forms of pointed obfuscation and to supplant 5 words where 1 would suffice.
Upon further reflection, I think the title for this weeks’ tale would better be:
An Unplanned Vacation to Little Haiti
When last we visited, Valet Boy’s mother was securely strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance (today of course, they more resemble a U Haul or Bread truck) being bundled and trundled to her doctor’s preferred Hospital, or as we like to say “abattoir du jour”.
It’s important that Valet Boy give his Dear Readers a little bit of back story.
Over the past several weeks, Valet Boy’s Mom has had some gastronomical issues which compelled her to spend more time in a tiled environment than she would normally feel herself justifiably entitled. Unbeknownst to the VB clan, this chronic condition was causing rapid loss of bodily fluids, mild cognitive disarrangement, dizziness, weakness and an overriding acute ill-temperment.
VB and his Right Honorable Fem Sibs were intentionally kept in the dark on the seriousness of this development due to the fact that Mater was booked for a whirlwind tour of the British Isles. Knowing that if we knew, she’d know we’d know she shouldn’t undertake such a journey, so she knew enough not to tell us….Dear Ol’ Mater played her cards close to her vest…or perhaps slightly lower on her person.
Dear Ol’ Mum’s undiagnosed condition was of concern to everyone except her primary physician. She was given some Imodium along with a couple of doses of “It’s just nerves” and “It’s all in your head” and packed off (like poor Smike to “Dotheboys Hall” in my favorite Dickens’ classic of all time Nicholas Nickleby ) for a glorious 8 Day – 1,237 City Bus Tour of England, Scotland and Wales.
Now, Valet Boy is 500 miles away from said mother and siblings, however in keeping with today’s lax journalistic standards, he fails to see how third, fourth or even eighth hand information should stand in the way of a good story, especially if dressed up enough to appear as accurate firsthand-on-site-reportage.
So, where were we..? Ah, yes….
Valet Boy’s Mum arrives at the ER where she is given a good slap on the rump and admitted for a full battery of tests… I sure hope they charged that battery prior to her arrival.
If anyone remember’s Paddy Chayefsky’s Academy Award winning film “The Hospital”, starring the late George C. Scott & Diana Rigg, you will have a fairly accurate picture in your mind of what this place can be like.
When VB was a young lad, he had a few occasions to visit this same Health Care Establishment for a variety of childhood ailments, ie., broken limbs, broken nose, broken this and thats. Back then, Jackson Hospital was smaller, cleaner and easier to manage; populated with doctors and nurses who knew their patients and cared personally about their well-being. But, then that was a gentler time… and there weren’t so damn many people on the planet!
Today, Jackson Hospital has become a victim of its own sprawl. Huge and meandering, cramped, dark, dirty and illogical to the extreme, J. H. is the place to go if you’ve a hankering to visit a Third World Country without leaving the comfort of your own hometown. (I am sure that there are many good doctors and nurses presently indentured at Jackson Hospital, however, it is Valet Boy’s opinion that they were all vacationing in Belize at this particular time.)
Mr. Doctor Man had a series of ordered tests to be administered. Mummy was placed in a Senior’s wing, which one would assume would be a good thing as she’d have plenty of other patient-guests her own age to discuss the pros and cons of Roosevelt’s New Deal and whether or not the kids should be allowed to listen to The Beatles with all that loud music and long hair.
First night, Mum pressed her bed bell repeatedly for some Nurse assistance to the “library” (what our Dad called it because he’d disappear in there with the newspaper and not be seen for days at a time). How long she rang her bell, and how long she waited, is still under investigation. But, as she was hooked to an IV and generally too weak to make the journey on her own, she eventually dispensed with formality and simply let Nature take its course.
And indeed, Nature did take it’s course repeatedly over the next several hours. Dear Mum was not rescued from her restrained plight until the following morning – probably about the time breakfast was delivered (Lime Jell-O on toast points anyone?).
Honorable Sister #2 discovered Mother doing back strokes to keep from drowning in bed. When questioned about the Why’s and Wherefore’s of this neglect, HS#2 was informed that there was a tragic emergency which drew everyone away. ( Truth be told, yes, it was truly a very sad tragedy. There is no heart so hard it would not melt, and all of us empathized and completely understood. )
What we could not understand was why everyone left their posts to attend to this tragedy on another floor and why they were gone all night….And if they weren’t gone all night, why were they ignoring my Mother’s pleas for help?
It’s Valet Boy’s non-prejudicial contention that if a Hospital is not well enough equipped with personnel to satisfactorily manage emergencies and tragedies, then they should cease operation as a Care Facility and become a Two Star Hotel.
There was ONE individual who exhibited great Nursing skill and a caring heart. Unfortunately, she was part of the day staff and couldn’t be there to assist Mother VB when she really depended upon it. However, this kind attentive Nurse did her best to make up for it until her shift ended.
HS #2 waited in the hospital room for the Doctor to make his visitation so she could personally speak with him. After 7 hours, with no sign of the Doc, the required Daughter shift ended. No. 1 Niece, Vagalina, took over 15 minutes later to stand guard.
As luck, fate, and whoever else is fiddling up there, would have it – said Doc made his appearance in that slim 15 minute window of opportunity. I believe he’d been waiting and watching from the linen closet to make sure everyone had hit the road, before he scurried unobserved to VB’s Mom’s room.
God Love Him, Dr. Man discovered that his desired tests were never performed because none of the Nursing Staff wrote them down, or he didn’t write them down, or someone didn’t write them down….anyway, we know what happens to things that don’t get written down, don’t we?
But then just as the Earth must spin on Her axis, and day must inevitably give over to night, the Hospital Gremlins crawled from their cloisters to do their worst.
It’s time for a party! Drinks are on the house!!!
About a half-gallon to be exact of the worst stuff you can imagine drinking, and for those of us who’ve previously enjoyed a Colonoscopy…well, we know. When Valet Boy heard of the pending procedure, he asked, “Are they going to have anyone there to help her with this? She’ll be on the pot all night long!”
“They brought a port-a-potty and set it beside her bed.”
“Oh, well…that solves everything, doesn’t it?”
We don’t really need the details of what occurred after the joy juice kicked in do we? Suffice to say that once again, there was no assistance for VB’s Mother in getting out of the IV, off the bed and onto the “pot”. Ring, ring, ring…. guess nobody’s home.
God Bless VB’s Mom. She yanked the IV out of her arm, climbed off the bed (which if you recall are always set 8 feet off the floor for the patient’s safety and convenience) and wrangled her way to her “port-in-the-storm” where she relaxed with a good book or TV program for the next week and a half….Really, it only felt like a week and a half…
Dear Lord, hear my prayer. I wish this was the end of it. But, it’s not.
It’s just the end of Part 2 of this seemingly never-ending episodic nightmare.
Join Valet Boy and his poor put upon Mother next time for Part 3 (which hopefully will be the end) entitled:
“Just Tag Me, Bag Me and Leave Me by the Dumpster.”
Thanks for reading,
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