Our telephone rang at 3 am two days ago. It was my mother gasping for breath.
My husband dropped the phone and we ran to her house (she lives next door to us) to find her gray, barely breathing and in and out of consciousness. I felt sick. In fifteen minutes the EMT’s arrived and only minutes after that she was lying in the Emergency Room with IV tubs coming out of her veins, oxygen over her face, monitors over heart chest and a gazillion people lad in blue pajamas running on and out of her room.
As a physician, I took on the bossy role. I asked the ER doctor how long he had practiced and I questioned why he was administering the dose of morphine he chose. Why hadn’t they gotten her to the cath lab and where the hell was the cardiologist? After all, it was now 5:30 am and the hospital should be fully staffed.
I turned into a monster because I was scared to death. My husband gently reined me in and reminded me that larger things were happening than I could control. That’s hard to hear when someone you’ve loved for 54 years is gasping for air. I felt her life slipping out from under me and I couldn’t bear it.