Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

In honor of this final day of 2008, and since I'm finally back home after Christmas, and I have an ounce or two of energy left in my waning battery (mine, not the computer's) I feel inclined to give an accounting of our interesting Christmas saga.

First, since a wedding was squeezed into the month, we had an extra trip and fewer days for the mad woman at the sewing machine to complete her masterpieces (ha, ha!, or whatever) of gift sewing wizardry. Absolutely NO baking occurred. (Sigh.) I love Christmas baking. It's a LONG family tradition and I must admit, that aside from baking Sarah and John's Red Velvet Wedding Cake, I baked NOTHING.

Husband and I left our home after church on 21 December, wending our way north into inclement wintry weather potential. We practiced a bit of emergency preparation for such weather. We had quilts, warm clothing, flashlights, energy bars, bottles of water, gloves, hats, mufflers, etc. We sighed in relief as we arrived at Amy's home, complete with her husband and darling children, (sans the bad weather) as we crunched through the icy remains of snow, etc. to her door. However, it was COLD. I think their low temp was 3 degrees before factoring in the windchill. It was a happy beginning.

Things were a little chaotic, what with three very young children who'd been troubled with viral illness off and on for the previous few days, (their Mom included). And that's not to mention that the family was preparing to move into the home they'd just purchased!

Amy and her Dad went off the next day to the Bald Eagles that apparently make an annual trek to the Mighty Mississippi River during winter. When the river FREEZES! And there was ice everywhere. My husband said he nearly didn't make it up a hill on the way back to the house because it was beginning to sleet/rain/freeze and his truck fishtailed all over. Amy earlier caught pictures of the eagles fishing the river. Hundreds of them. Yes, I said HUNDREDS of Bald Eagles! Who would have thought!

Day before Christmas, my husband and I also went down to the river--a different town--and saw some eagles and ice. It was frigid. The wind was blowing like crazy and we only ventured out of the truck for about five minutes. But, we too, got some pictures.

Amy and I proceeded that afternoon to prepare a finger-food Christmas Eve evening meal. It leaned toward Mexican flavor with cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped Jalapenos, the layered bean dip, and other rich, tasty goodies. When I began eating my first stuffed Jalapeno, my tummy protested a little, so I ate very little. It was a good thing, too.

At about 1 am, Christmas morning, the BUG hit me. On occasion, I've been known to pass out when I dehydrate due to flue symptoms that hit like a Mac truck . . . This Christmas morning, around 5 am, "Grandma got run over by a reindeer." I'd lost so much fluid so quickly that I passed out cold in the bathroom and somehow or other managed to hit the 4 by 4 (posing as a door frame) with my face. Broke my nose, whacked my left eyebrow, and, I discovered after each succeeding day, part of my head above the hairline and my jaw.

I came to lying flat on the floor, and noticed a pool of blood under my face--which faced the wall. It was kind of surreal. I was no longer feeling like I was going to up-chuck. Don't think I felt any pain at all, at that moment. I didn't want to move. I wanted to be perfectly still. But, my daughter and husband were having none of that. (Amy, equipped with a screwdriver to unlock the door behind which I'd been resting, had access to my gory state of being along my poor husband, who's witnessed one or two similar episodes--totally bloodless, however, prior to this sterling display of human weakness.) A trip to the ER ensued in the more than frigid blackness of pre-dawn Christmas morning.

One of the silliest things happened as I entered the ER. Picture this scene: A man and woman drive up to the ER door. The man walks in requesting help for his too-weak-to-walk wife. The ER guy comes with wheelchair and assists the man in getting the woman into the wheelchair to wheel her inside where there's a slight chance she won't freeze to death in the next five minutes. The ER guy tells the man he can park over somewhere else and he'll get the woman into the exam room. This is the good part.

As they enter the exam room, ER guy says to woman: "Okay. I need you to get out of your jacket and just hop up here on the exam table."

Woman is thinking: Uh, huh. And didn't you just help me out of a vehicle because I can't manage on my own, and don't you see the huge bruise forming on my face and the blood coming from my crunched nose? The woman could not see his face due to the hood of her jacket that was trying to keep her from freezing to death and other factors not readily available to the writer at this point. She's also thinking, And why are you working in an ER with that kind of mental process or lack thereof going on? Perhaps he was thinking that another fall and subsequent bruising, etc., would make for an even more memorable Christmas. Who knows?

Woman says: "I'm pretty sure I'll need some help with both those requests, you know."

So, ER guy, does help with both items and woman goes nearly into shock due to the cold and covers her lower body with her heavy jacket.

It was so COLD in that room!!! At some point, my husband re-entered and brought the quilt and Afghan to try to stave off frostbite. The ER guy even managed to bring in a flannel sheet posing as a blanket. Had it been about ten or twenty of those (warmed "blankets"), it might have approximated appropriate warmth. Since my blood pressure was down, my body somewhat dehydrated, and I get cold easily anyway, and it was probably 147 degreez below freezing outside and 30 below in the room . . . At least I wasn't convulsing with cold spasms! I don't think . . . But then it has been almost a week since that lovely experience.

They took my blood pressure, my blood and other samples, X-rayed my head, CAT scanned my head and pumped me up with two (2) bags of fluid, COLD fluid, I might add, and I summarily froze to death. Oh! And lest I forget another fun item: Somewhere along, during the re- hydrating process, someone asked me a question. As I tried to answer I noticed that my tongue refused to cooperate with forming intelligible anything. My brain struggled to force my tongue to work the syllables into coherent utterings. Then it dawned on me. They DRUGGED ME!!!! Without telling me!!!! When I was eventually able to form somewhat cohesive words, I asked what the heck they'd stuck in my IV. The nurse fessed up: phenergan! Ahhhh. That now made sense. It was nice to know that the whack on my head didn't render me totally senseless. What relief I felt! You can't imagine.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I only wanted to sleep and recoup. Bless Amy and Darren and their little ones. They waited for Grandma--who'd obviously been run over by a reindeer--to wake before they could open presents! It was the afternoon sometime and I felt like such a slug for making them wait!!!! I was still enough under the influence of the drugs and so worn out by the whole trauma that I must have just drifted back off to sleep. I don't remember much of the rest of the day. I didn't expect them to wait Christmas gift unwrapping for the children on my behalf! But it was sweet that they wanted Grandma, poor and battered as she was, to be part of the celebration.

Stay tuned. The next day was quite another experience. And that's not to mention the day after that!


BB said...

Gads PW... you seriously need to look after yourself. Stories about the US hospital system scare me senseless!!

Mary O. Paddock said...

Good grief Shirley! You need some off to recover from the holidays. I'm glad you're on the mend. To be sick and have a broken nose . . . Owee . . .

Debby said...

I think that maybe you'd have come out of it better if you had gotten run over by a reindeer.

Pencil Writer said...

BB--I'm wondering what tales (other than mine) that you've been listening to about US hospitals. They truly are some of the finest in the world, I believe. Not all of them, but lots. Often it's the individuals one encounters within, sometimes, it's management and if they're run by the government (usually, local) it's often less than ideal!!! (Just wait till after Jan 20th, and I'll have more details of what I seriously dread about US health care coming to pass. As an Army brat, I know first hand about government run health care. Not pretty.) But, truly, like in any other circumstance: it depends on the individuals invovled what kind of care/response you receive.

Mary--actually the "sick" part pretty much was over when I passed out. The "owie" is still very touchy on my eyebrow even more than the bridge of my nose. I look so lovely, I'm still not venturing out much. Trying to decide about the makeup issue for Sunday as I have a class to teach. It doesn't do a great job (the makeup) but it helps cover somewhat.

Debby--I've wondered that myself: What might it feel like to be "run over by a reindeer"? Not willing to submit for that research just yet!

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year!!! Love to all!