Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Nour

My adventure to secure 3 units of blood AB-negative to mother in a second class hospital

My 90 year-old mother fell for the nth time. This time was serious: for the first time, she volunteered to ask me to be dispatched to the hospital. Every time she fell, this tough and light woman Julia managed Not to have any bone broken. Just serious bruises and black spots in many parts of her body, and pains. For days, I would cook for her and feed her in bed.

This time also, we thought Nothing of the matter. The X-rays were Not confirming 100% of any broken bone, but the  newly installed scanner at Beit Chabab did.

Mother is the type of people who refuses to piss in a diapercouche” (those Pampers kinds): she’d rather suffer all kinds of pain in order to reach the bathroom and do it properly. Actually, mother barely drinks on account she will have to go to the bathroom more frequently than necessary

The night before taking mother to the hospital, I installed a potty on a chair in her bedroom. I asked her to holler to me when she needs help. I knew that the “couche” she agreed to wear for the night, because she was in great pain, won’t do: she will try to get up herself and do piss on her own.

My hunch turned correct. The next morning she had used the potty out of the bed. With such feats, who would imagine that she has a broken bone? If it were Not for her first-time insistence of checking at the hospital, I wouldn’t have taken seriously that anything was broken. Though, I had suggested to her to have an X-ray taken anyway.

Actually, a couple of years earlier, she burned her arm, hand and chest and part of her face in the 3rd degree, and she managed for 20 minutes to clean up the kitchen before asking for help.

Mother underwent a 5-hour horror check up in the emergency room for a series of tests, X-rays, scanner, blood extraction… while vomiting from a dizzying travel in the Red Cross van. Every time she saw an equipment that she is wheeled to she gets totally upset and frightened. She was sweating, dizzy and her face pretty yellow.

The last equipment was for checking her heart condition before being taken to her room #306. It was already 9:30 pm. And Cedric showed up to give me a ride home

The operation to replace the head of the hip with a prosthetic is Not difficult and does Not require much blood transfusion, but the surgeon demanded 3 units for any eventual emergency.

We were asked to secure 3 units of Blood AB-negative for the surgery. That was news to me that the family has to go around to find these 3 units of a rare blood type: one in 10,000 donors?

And I had to caught up the cost of the prosthetic in the thousands of dollars since the insurance would Not cover these extra materials. And I had to pay in advance before the administration gives the green light for the operation. Otherwise, the operation will Not take place.

The next day, Marie, a US born and raised citizen, gave me a ride to the Red Cross center in Antelias/Rabiyat in order to bring the units. Marie had to drop her toddler to the nursery, Garderie (kindergarten) and then to the nearby center. The center had none of such kinds of blood. We called the main headquarter in Spears (Beirut), and they had none. Not even A-, B- or even O-.

Marie said: “I appreciate Lebanon system. It is an opportunity to gather friends and ask for their contribution”

We called the NGO “Donner sans compter”. They told us they will do their best to call upon their volunteers. We received no feedback from them.

We had to wreck our minds for alternative sources. I called Jeanine who works at B7aness hospital for help. Hanane posted a request on her social platform. I posted this demand on FB and Twitter. Victor also posted this request on his list of retired army officers.

Tony suggested that Victor calls the military hospital because once his late mother Therese needed urgent blood transfusion and the former army officer Victor managed to secure the required quantity from volunteered soldiers.

Jeanine called back and said she secured 2 units and they’ll be delivered at 6 pm. Fact is, Nour, Janine daughter,  who is in the headquarter administration of the Red Cross drove to the hospital and delivered 2 units of blood around 9 pm. One of the unit was dispatched from Saida. 

Meanwhile, mother was fretting and hysteric: she was denied any food and drink in the last 24 hours, on account that the surgery is very soon. Actually, mother has been forgetful in the last couple of years. And keeping her in the dark is Not an excellent method of securing her cooperation.

I went to the administration at 1 pm and told them I am taking a decision to transfer mother to another hospital. An hour later, the surgeon called me and said that the operation is scheduled for 2 pm.

The night before the surgery, she woke up at 3 am, sat up, removed all the tubes and syringes, dangled her feet from the bed and waked to the bathroom. After a while, the night guard saw blood all over the room and the bed. They had to tie her up.

After her surgery and waking up from the local anesthesia, mother did it again, and twice within an hour: her eccentric behavior forced her to remove whatever were attaching her to the bed and dangled her feet, and blood running every-which way. And she did it again after things were cleaned up before the Chieftain called me at home, angrily telling me: “We are unable to manage your mother”. And I am thinking: “If an entire hospital is unable to care for a patient after surgery, how am I to care for her when she is back home?”

My conjecture is that Mother antics of constantly trying to stand up before going to the hospital exacerbated a tiny fissure, and made it “observable” with the scanner. Someone said we should have asked for a second opinion. Sure, he is Not the one doing the calling for the Red Cross ambulance and transferring mother to various hospitals for confirmation.

This time around the nurses figured out to tie her wrist to the bed guards, with about 15 cm leeway for mother to move her arms without being able to remove any tube and sit up, instead of wrapping her hands in a boxing fashion. She kept telling the nurses that she has arthritis and her fingers hurt her when wrapped this fashion. I guess they thought she had lost it and there was no need to take her observations seriously.

I explained to mother: You don’t have to go to the bathroom. anymore or have to suffer a couche. After surgery they insert a tube for pissing in a bag. Your behavior is normal after anesthesia since it take a while to recover your normal reflection. And she said: Why didn’t they explain all that to me?

All that time mother was in a limbo and unaware of what was happening and nobody cared to explain anything to her.

The morning after the surgery, the nurses wheeled her to the ground floor for another X-ray to check on the prosthetic status, then they infused a unit of blood and performed many task on mother, without even caring to explain to her every step of what she should expect and why?

Since no one of her relatives was there, mother felt totally disoriented and abandoned and she cried non stop for hours. A couple of visitors showed up around 9:30 am and found her sleeping out of exhaustion.

Apparently, “second class” hospitals, which don’t have the backing of serious health institutions, delay Non-urgent surgeries so that the family of the patient do “the due diligence” in securing the flow of fresh blood to replenish depleted reserves in blood.

Two main institutions in Lebanon can fresh blood supply to hospitals: The army (if connected) and the hospital of “Rasoul A3zam” of Hezbollah. This is a great means to indirectly financially support the resistance forces.

People think that since you live in a catastrophic environment (and also caring for the eldest members in the family), it is your duty to resume this untenable life.

I spent my birthday in the hospital by mother after her surgery. A few visitors demanded that I sleep over the night there to tend to the “dangerous” eccentricities of mother. I refused. They blamed me.

The last of mother’s visitors in the hospital left at 9:00 pm. He said he no longer lives in Konetra where I live. Those who promised to return and pick me up did’t show up. My calls to a couple of Taxis didn’t respond to my call. I walked home, as usual.

Last night at 9:30 pm, I had to walk home from the hospital, about 70 minutes walking at my slow pace. The weather was fresh, but I managed a sweat after all. Someone asked me what I have in my backpack. I replied “Delivery”.

Someone had asked me: Why you didn’t dispatch your mother to a more professional hospital, such as Bhaness, 12 km away. And I’m thinking: and return walking at home from there?

Why most elder people, reacting to local anesthesia after a surgery, need to take off their hospital gown and every syringes attached to their body? They wouldn’t mind removing their skin too.

On se croit plus intelligent quand on devient malade? Do you think sick people, and the terminally ill, exhibit more reflective opinions that are confused with increased intelligence?

Not when you are 90 and physicians and nurses think they don’t need to explain anything to the hapless patients, since they are the professionals and they treating a disease, Not a person.

Note 1: Mother is schedules to vacate this Tuesday and she will be on my sole care. Trying to convince the surgeon to extend her stay so that mother may get the proper training and some physiotherapy. Mother hates sports, and some sport in the hospital will go a long way.

Note 2: Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The hospital claims it has no vacancies to retain mother for a week in order to rehabilitate her. She barely was made to walk a few steps on a walker. Wish me all the luck on my accelerated training in handling mother at home

Note 3: Things are under control, except at night. Mother wake up totally disoriented and try to go the bathroom around 11 pm. She hobbled around the bed, removed her diaper  and fell on the bed weeping from pain and helplessness. I had to keep the light in her bedroom, change her diaper against her will and let her empty her bag of  bitterness.

Note 4: I don’t want a nurse for mother. or around mother. I want a listening ear to mother’s lucubration and divagation. A person with a genuine smiling face who refrain from constantly trying to comprehend what mother is trying to say. Someone who can recount one of the  “mousalsal Ramadani“. Just for a couple of hours in the morning. And occasionally to change her diaper when mother is fretting.

Note 5: Excellent. Two victories for Julia today, Saturday June 2. She used the walker twice today. Used two versions of potty in the bathroom: The elevated fixed one and the one with a void moving chair. She watched a theater of Fairouz on TV. I handed her a batch of bakdounes (parsley for preparing tabouli) to retrieve. She refused on excuse of her hands. I said what your hands have to do with your hips? She did retrieve some, but felt kind of dizzy.

Kids dropping all their toys to rush see clowns

The old Tempelhofer Airport ( not in this picture- as it is not allowed to document there) is this old huge, not functional airport where refugees wait and wait for their non existent plane.

Then we came with music and bubbles, we sang and danced.

One little boy saw us from far, he dropped down his scooter and whatever he had in his hand, his facial expression changed drastically, – open sparkly eyes, open mouth, open hands- and he ran to us as fast as he could and as happy as he could be.

The heavy dark atmosphere turned into a light happy one with kids and adults playing and laughing.

We sang a happy birthday to Aziz, a man who tried to commit suicide last week because waiting for his wife to make it to Europe and waiting for his kid to find the money for his cancer treatment and waiting in an empty airport not being to do anything about it have made life unbearable.

Aziz smiled and thanked us humbly.

These little interactions and moments are what make life worth living.
Oh and I actually jumped over this fence smile emoticon

ClownMe In, Miriam Brenner, Mayra Stergiou ‪#‎berlin‬ ‪#‎germany‬ See More

Sabine Choucair's photo.
Tonnie Ch shared Lebanon: One Story at a Time‘s photo.
 Mental illness in Lebanon? You feel anxiety?
Lebanon: One Story at a Time's photo. 

“Nour; Starstuff.
We’re in Hamra (Beirut). It’s where my anxiety started, and it’s been an uphill battle ever since.

The thing about mental illness in Lebanon is that no one wants to talk about it.

We’re in a country that still calls cancer “that disease”. Of course it’s going to be less accepting of mental illness.

This society has a stiff-upper-lip approach to it: “Get over it,” “it’s all in your head,” and “you’re overreacting” are just a few examples of what I heard through my struggle to stay sane.

Even my parents, the most open-minded people I know, didn’t want to believe I had anxiety.

Eventually, it was my dad who told me to get professional help. My therapist is two streets down from here, at AUBMC.

The psychiatry department is on the third floor, between two cancer center floors.

The first time I walked in I was terrified, because it hit me, seeing those two cancer departments with the psychiatry department: this is very real, very physical. People still don’t see that.

The thing I learn every time I walked into the building is that I’m not alone in this. I want people struggling through the same thing and are too scared to tell anybody to know that it’s okay. Get out there and get help. You deserve it. You deserve not to feel like this.

What really helped me through this was watching Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

I cried my anxiety out, watching where all this mass of body I have came from. With anxiety, everything is so scary and loud.

When I saw how simple yet insanely intricate my structure is, the noise in my head seemed to calm down: I am carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and miracle. I come from stars and each hand I have comes from a different star. That’s incredible.

I learned that when I threw my dark thoughts against such a darker and vast canvas of outer space, they disappeared. Space is limited with anxiety and you’re never sure you belong anywhere, but looking up at the universe reminds me that I’m freer than I think I am and wherever I look, I’m home.

The Little Dipper tattoo on my wrist is a constant reminder that my thoughts don’t stand a chance. I am starstuff, the product of millions and millions of years of hostile universe coming together.

It’s a reminder of a quote that makes me feel badass: “You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be afraid of?”

Note: No adult person is to be wasted, handicapped, maimed or killed. Seeing how fragile and totally useless we are born and how dedicated the entire community has been for decades to watch me be able to return a service to it, is mind boggling in determination, steadfastness, pain, suffering and courage.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2023
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