Friday, January 25, 2008

Buckets of blood

What a day. Let's try to put this on a scale of things. A 10 would be if, say, the weather was perfect, you were surrounded by all your favorite people, all wars had ended, a cure for cancer had been found, you won the 200 million dollar lottery, and you had just lost lots of weight and your skinny pants fit. A zero would be the earth spinning off toward the moon, global warming didn't matter since the sun had mysteriously gone out, your friends all moved away in a hurry, your portfolio had balanced out to minus $20 and all booze had evaporated. Today was a 4.

Hey, 4 isn't that bad, right? Ok then, on my imaginary scale a 6 is status quo, except you found you were fired and you were losing your house. Today was a 4.

It started out much closer to a 6. Maybe even a 7. I was on my way home! We had an appointment this morning with my mom's doctor. Her elbow is healing very well. Yay! The x-rays were fascinating, showing the nails and wires. Her hip (which she had replaced with a nice plastic and metal one a few years ago) is in great condition. Her knee, bruised and bloodied in the fall last week, was scabbed over and healing up very well. The doc changed the dressing on her elbow and knee, and said the knee wouldn't ooze anymore and just change the dressing every few days. We made an appointment for next week to have the staples removed and went back to her house.

We packed and headed out toward the airport for the 3:45 flight to Oakland. I told my mom it was a 3:15 flight because I'm a freak who doesn't like to be late for things like that. We parked the car at the off-site lot, got in the shuttle and got to the airport pretty darned early.

Mom was in the front seat of the shuttle van because she couldn't get in the back seat. That was fine, we were the only passengers. No problemo. But then Mr. ShuttleDriver opened her door first and started to drag her out. I tried to open my door but I don't think there's a handle on the inside. Mom yelped. Loudly. Louder. I could see something was wrong and finally got the door open and got out to help her. She pulled up her pant leg and blood was POURING down. No, it was GUSHING down her leg, and would have been even heavier if her doctor hadn't placed a waterproof bandage on her knee. Mr. ShuttleDriver had apparently let the door swing right into her leg, hitting her unhealed knee.

While I tried to find my mom a wheelchair or some assistance, Mr. ShuttleDriver unloaded our suitcases and hightailed out of there. A very helpful bystander went inside and requested assistance. A porter finally came with a wheelchair but there was blood everywhere. Even all over the sidewalk where my mom was standing.

To make this already way too long story short, a bevy of incredibly helpful people assisted me in soaking up the blood from my mom's clothing (note: Uggs are very absorbent) and from her knee. I have nothing but the highest praise for the TSA agents (is that redundant?), Southwest Airlines employees, San Diego Airport security and paramedics and porters and innocent bystanders. A horrific episode was contained and remedied. My mom was patched up, wrapped in plastic (really, I'm not kidding; we didn't want to alarm other passengers with blood dripping off her pants and shoes) and we made our flight in good time.

I'm not a nurse. I'm not a medical worker of any kind. I'm kinda grossed out by blood and bodily fluids. I can't watch when I (or anyone) get an injection and I turn off medical programs that show any detail. But my mom was in trouble and I mopped up blood and cared for her without any (external show of) hysterics. I was horrified but mostly for my poor mother who's been through so much.

There was one funny thing. When we finally agreed that we could use a paramedic, simply because nobody else had any gauze pads, the whole panoply of security forces showed up to take reports. Although they were helpful and respectful, they wanted every detail. While the paramedic was trying to fix my mom's knee, and I was sopping up blood out of my mom's shoe (damn, those Uggs soak up the liquids!) I also had to answer questions from a cop. Airport or TSA or San Diego, I'm not sure. General questions, names, addresses, what happened. He asked where we parked and I said the brewery lot (the brewery has been closed for I think decades, it's just the building now, with the cheapest off-site airport parking in the area). He looked at me very seriously and said "I have to ask you m'am. Have you been drinking?" I looked back at him very seriously and replied "No. I was waiting until we got on the plane."

I had nothing to drink on the plane. We got into Oakland, I retrieved the car and my mom, drove home through the pouring rain and then fixed up her knee, gave her some clean and dry clothes, made sure she was comfortable. My brother and his family showed up with take-out Mexican food. THEN we went through an entire bottle of Tequila.

Gee, my first night all week without wine ...

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