Monday, January 27, 2014

Lost Gauze

To my son Tommy,

I don't want you to get the impression from these letters that the recent health issues with your mother are all solved.  It is funny that I sometimes ignore the most obvious and pressing issues in our life as I write to you.  I guess it is a form of escapism.

Your mom is home and has been since Thursday, though the night she came home we had a trip to an urgent care facility and almost ended up back in the hospital.  It seems, despite your mom's objections, that one of the nurses at the hospital used a two by two gauze while packing her wound.  When she went to unpack it at home, she had trouble finding the silver alginate they used and that opened her wound further, thus totally losing the gauze.  My first thought was to take her back to St Josephs so they could fix their mistake.  Your mother, not wanting to be admitted yet again, decided to try alternate methods.

We ended up going to Patient First and asked them to x-ray the wound to make sure the gauze was indeed in there and give us a direction to try and get it out.  At the time your mom was running a low grade fever as well and we were aware of this and just dealing with it.  Because of the fever, they wanted to do blood work and all types of extra things that I assume are very chargeable to the insurance company.  There was nothing that their labs would tell us that the blood work taken at the hospital earlier that day didn't already tell us.  It was kind of like coming in for a hang nail and them wanting to remove a kidney.  After some lengthy discussion they finally agreed to just x-ray your mom's belly.  After three hours of this whole ordeal, the doctor says they couldn't see anything and then informs us that regular gauze wouldn't even show up on an x-ray.

We went home and tried a couple things.  We used her wound vac to try to suck it out.  We even considered me grabbing her by the ankles and shaking her upside down.  In the end, it was your mother's determination and willingness to deal with pain that finally found and removed the gauze through plain old trial and error and digging with tweezers.

The next day, Patient First calls and says a radiologist reviewed the x-ray and we have to come in immediately for a cat-scan.  They saw a mass or something unexplainable and proceeded to describe the exact location of the gauze.  Your mom said, "Don't worry, I dug it out."  The nurse was astonished thinking that your mom had somehow dug out a tumor or something.  She explained it was the gauze that we were looking for and that they are more than a day late and we were now more than a dollar short.  They suggested she come back immediately for another x-ray to make sure she got everything.  She politely declined and said they got all the money they would get from us on this (and most likely any other) occasion.

Your mother, later telling the story on the phone to another, stopped and asked me if there was a patron Saint of lost gauzes.  I responded St Jude.  "I said gauzes not causes!" she added and I matter of factly responded, "Oh, well then St Anthony for lost items."  I credit my mom and her mom with my extensive Saintly knowledge, but I was definitely winging it this time with the lost gauze.  It was good to hear your mom laughing and she was again armed with the Patron Saint of Lost Gauze story for her next phone calls.

No matter if it is from St Jude or St Anthony or any of the Saints, your mom can still use their prayers.  She isn't feeling up to snuff yet.  She is still having a rough go of just about everything, from fevers to lack of appetite to pain and just general miserableness, but she is home and determined to stay out of the hospital.  She is still looking for explanations for and relief from various symptoms.  It is easy to feel abandoned in tough times, but we must persevere.  So fill the heavens with prayers for your mom and we will all try our hardest in the face of what seems like a never ending ordeal to have faith that things will get better.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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