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We’re in Oconee Memorial Hospital – the Mecca of sick and afflicted rednecks everywhere. So far we’ve seen 12 doctors:

1. Hunter – oncologist. Saw Thursday when fever went up. Gave a prescription of antibiotics and sent us home. Have seen many times since… we like.

2. Harris – oncall oncologist. Spoke on phone Friday morning. Said that we should give it a few hours and bring her in if it doesn’t get better.

3. Leap – Friday night, ER, told us it was a kidney infection and sent us home

4. Walls – oncall oncologist. Spoke on phone Saturday morning. Said that symptoms sound like kidney infection – said to wait for improvement. If none, go to hospital.

5. Stevenson – oncall oncologist. Spoke on phone Saturday evening. Said to bring to ER.

6. Worthington – ER doc. Said blood cultures were positive for bacteria.

7. Bell (aka Jingle Bell – a nod to the holidays) – Saturday night and beyond, ER, onstaff hospitalist, Jennifer told him that Mama had had a “tubal litigation.” He chortled. We like.

8. Edwards – came in Saturday morning. Said in a nice doctorly way that he didn’t know anything. Would check back later. He didn’t. We don’t like.

9. Kwafie – Infectious Disease specialist. From Africa or the Caribbean or somewhere. Pokes her port, her leg, her shoulder. Switched her antibiotic from what Jingle Bell prescribed. Has come in several times. I have no opinion. Daddy likes. Mama doesn’t like (but she doesn’t like anybody, so it’s really no reflection on Kwafie)

10. P-something – lady doctor from India or somewhere. Bobby didn’t get the full name. Shed pretty much no light on anything – just checked in because Mama’s on this hall.

11. Daramola – came in Tuesday morning. Said that she needs to see a physical therapist and needs to increase range of motion. Left. We thought we liked. Then came back. Said that liver enzymes are bad, getting worse, wants to run ultrasound. Didn’t fully explain. Left. We decided that we don’t like after all.

12. Greg – physical therapist. Bobby says he’s not a doctor, but he’s on the list anyway.

And then there’s Dr. O’Rourke, of course. He’s in Mexico on freakin vacation or something.

It’s my birthday. It doesn’t feel like my birthday, but I didn’t really want to turn 29 anyway, so it’s ok. But it did make me mad this morning when Bobby got up and didn’t give me a present. So I gave him the silent treatment until I felt better.

Other people we’ve met:

1. Kate – ER nurse. We like.
2. Laura – ER nurse. We like.
3. Suzie – CCU (critical care unit) nurse. We like.
4. Bett – old blond biddy nurse. Told me that I had met our question quota and couldn’t ask anymore. We definitely don’t like.
5. Rachel – nurse. Cute and told a funny story about scratching her broken leg with a butter knife and dropping it down into the cast. We like.
6. Jan – nurse. Knows lots of info about everything and actually volunteers to tell us stuff. We like.
7. Kathy – nursing asst. Pee police. Fussed at us because we didn’t tell anybody about Mama peeing, even though we did. We explained to her that we had told someone every time, but nobody had been taking notes – she snippily said “well, good help is hard to find” and we replied “obviously.” That was the end of her… she never came back after that. We don’t like.

The medical 411 – Mama had strep bacteria in her bloodstream when they brought her in Friday. Took a blood culture – came back Saturday, and they told us Saturday night. Checked her in. Her aches and pains include (but aren’t limited to) her lower back, her right shoulder, and her leg. This weird bump came up on her left leg Saturday night… red and feverish. It’s gotten bigger and nastier – apparently there’s a pocket of infection (eww, that’s just nasty) forming. Dr. Kwafie is waiting for it to fully encapsulate, and they’re going to have to open and drain it. Well, that’s just disgusting. And the shoulder and lower back don’t show any signs of injury on the CT and MRI – they’re just hurting either because she’s pulled a muscle or because there’s bacteria in the joint.

And for the best part – Dr. Hunter confirmed this morning that he’s compared her previous CT scan (from 4 weeks ago) with Saturday night’s scan and (this is a quote) – “it doesn’t look like the same person’s liver.” The tumors (largest of which was 2.5 inches in diameter a few weeks ago) have either shrunk or broken up so that they are nearly “indefinable.” Dr. O’Rourke won’t get excited (of course – skeptical scientific hope-crushing pagan that he is) but Hunter’s excited, so we are too. So yay for Mama’s liver. This Christmas has sucked royally in many ways, but a clear liver is truly a great thing.

So now it’s 4pm and I just opened my presents and it feels like my birthday. Mama and Daddy gave me $100 in a card that Daddy picked out – it was one of those long, versey cards, but it was sweet and it made me teary. And Jennifer & Sue gave me a quite lovely little Vera purse – one of the newest styles, black with white embroidery. And Bobby gave me a phone earpiece so I don’t kill myself chatting and driving, and a filigree egg from Turner’s. It’s beautiful, but I wasn’t sure about it – it looks more like something that Mama would wear than my type of jewelry. But then he said that “I know that this is more a “mother-type” of jewelry – and this is to let you know that I’m ready.” And then I cried and Jennifer and Susanna got all teary and now it’s official… I might be 29, but I’m gonna be a mommy, dammit!