Toxic Levels

At 2 a.m. my phone rings — again.  I sit straight up in bed, and I answer it by the second ring.  Since that episode last month, my phone is charged in our bedroom so I can hear it — no longer out in the kitchen.  I won’t make that mistake again.

It is Mom this time.   She says my name tentatively then, “where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital, Mom”

“Why”

“Because you were having some trouble.  Your legs weren’t working”

“Am I going to stay here?”

“No.  You are better.  I am coming to get you later.”

“Where am I?”   I tell her again and I say the name of the town as well.  I assure her she is better and that she will come home today.  There is a long pause and then she says my name again ,

“do I need to be put away?”

“Oh Mom, no. No no no. You are okay.  You will come here.  Mom, everything is fine.  I want you to come here.

“Ok.  That’s good.  Ok, I understand.  That’s good”

“Mom, you’re going to come to my house later today.  I am coming to get you”

“Ok, ok that’s good”

We talked for a few more minutes, and once I thought she had settled, we said our good-byes and our ‘I love yous’, and I hung up.    Wow.  Do I go back to bed?  Do I go to the hospital? This is a first.  She sounded really tired.  Bad dream? She has never had trouble sleeping before. I’m fairly certain she has fallen back asleep already.

At 8 a.m. as I am getting around to head to the hospital, another call from Mom.  ‘where am I? Where are you?  Why am I here?’

Oh my, something is wrong.   I finish getting around and head to the hospital as fast as I can.   She is agitated when I get there.  She points to the white marker board, and in bold letters it says, HOLD DILATIN.   This is a med she has been on for over forty years.  She is afraid to go off due to a few seizures she had over forty years ago.   I cringe when I read the sign, and I know exactly why she is upset.   When she woke up — both during the night and this morning — she read that sign.  Her hearing may be awful, but her eyesight is good.  Her focus has been on that marker board.  She is upset, mad and afraid, and very confused.  I take a few minutes to calm her down and leave her in the care of a technician while I head to the nurses’ station.

As I go, I smile because I know we may have finally landed on “the problem”.  Yay!  And sure enough, the doctor explains to Mom that she has toxic levels of that med in her system.  It takes awhile, but we finally make it clear to her that the poison of this med is much worse than the benefit right now.  We need to deal with that first and handle seizures, if necessary, with other meds.   I text my siblings to bring them up to date.  A bit later, my sister calls me and says, “have you read the list of symptoms of toxic levels of that drug?”  The list is lengthy and many of Mom’s problems are on the list.  We are encouraged.

They begin the process of flushing this med out of her body  and now we wait —  and hope.

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