Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mom and License

Yesterday I came home to two intersecting disasters.


First, an angry yelling husband who had opened a letter from the DMV notifying me my driver's license had been suspended due to failure to pay a speeding ticket fine at the end of September. I explained to him that I had intended to go to the trial (to try to talk down the ticket) but that I got hung up with work emergencies and was not able to go so I called the court that day to find out how much the fine would be. Court clerk said it would be up to the judge whether to give me just the ticket or failure to appear fine or whatever and I would be mailed a copy of the decision and the fine amount. That was 3 weeks ago. Last time I checked the record online (a few days later) it still said pending. I understood they were sending it and in NY I have personally seen it take 4 months to send you the fine invoice so I waited, knowing it would come eventually.


It had not come yet as of this week. So imagine my surprise when I got the suspension notice from the DMV with no prior warning! Jon was livid and we had a huge argument right in front of his parents. I will fast forward to the conclusion of this part of the story - went to the courthouse this morning to pay the fine (step 1 in getting my license back) and found that they had accidentally sent the fine amount invoice TO THE WRONG ADDRESS. Hence why I never got it. They printed off a letter stating such to give to the DMV to request the $85 reinstatement fee be waived. The DMV declined to do so, advising it was not their fault that the Prince William County court made a mistake in addressing mail. So I had to pay my fee and get my license reprinted. Blah.

$162 for the ticket + $85 reinstatement fee = too much!


Second disaster waiting for my arrival home was that the assistant we hired to take my mom and dad places when we are unavailable/at work called to tell me that she was at the doctor's office with my mom. Mom had been throwing up uncontrollably since Tuesday night and when her nurse came to see her Wed morning told her she needed to go see her dr pronto. So mom called Emma since I was at work and she didn't want to bother me. (Gah, she should have called me!). Mom's doctor told her (after she threw up on him) to go to the emergency room. So Emma took her there and I came over as soon as I could make it (I was in rush hour traffic on my way home when Emma called to tell me what was going on). Jon came with me and we sat with my mom in the emergency room till she was seen about 2.5 hours later when they began asking questions about her heart and monitoring it.


At first I thought she had food poisoning or something but they seemed to piece it together quickly as a heart issue and ordered blood tests to confirm. There is some really great tech advances in the detection of heart problems and you can read about it here: http://www.patienthealthinternational.com/conditionarchive/cond25_item7790.aspx


They wanted to conduct several tests on mom that would take most of the night so they sent Jon and I home to rest. This was late into the evening on Wed night. We stopped by to see Dad and comfort him then went home. This a.m. my mom called at 6:30am to tell me the tests were done and they were going to admit her for observation and possibly more tests and that she was going to be allowed to sleep until this afternoon when they would make a decision on the next steps. I still didn't know what was going on at that point except she mentioned something to do with heart failure and enzymes and I started googling.


Kept in contact with her today after she woke up this afternoon which was right about when I finished at the dmv and so went to the hospital to see her and get status. Met with the cardiologist – its inconclusive whether Mom had a full blown heart attack or its simply the beginning evidence of congestive heart failure [which is a chronic terminal disease where your heart slowly gets weaker and weaker and not just when you heart stops like I thought/like it sounds]. This is because she had the elevated enzyme levels of heart failure/attack but without all the other typical symptoms. Either way, her body recovered from it on its own, without any complex intervention from both the heart issue and the stomach sickness. They just gave her IV fluids and anti-nausea meds b/c she couldn't keep anything down and watched the progression of the problem till it peaked and began to come back down.


In order to determine if her heart suffered permanent damage from the episode they have to do a heart catheterization which she has refused after learning the risks. She understands without that diagnostics effort they won't be able to really see what is going on and possibly prevent a fatal heart attack in the future, but she doesn't want to endure the procedure. So they are releasing her tomorrow afternoon and want her to follow up with the cardiologist in a few weeks. They can still do some of the old fashioned stress testing to try to determine if there is heart damage, but unlike the cath it won't tell them whether it is progressing. So we wait. Took Daddy to visit her today and then home. He is really anxious as could be expected. Also had to reach out to my estranged sister and brother whom I haven't spoken to in years to let them know what was going on with Mom.


It's been a long day and I am weary.

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