SOMETIME IN September last year, at about 2 in the morning, I checked on my parents’ bedroom to see how they’re doing. It’s a regular thing for me. The habit buildup started when two years ago, my dad had high fever and was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
That morning, I had just finished editing news stories for Palawan Times. When I went in to their bedroom, I found my mom semi-unconscious, sitting on the bathroom floor and snorting — she was forcing air to her nostrils, which to me was a sign that she’s having difficulty breathing.
My dad was sleeping soundly on his side of their bed; I had to shout to wake him up so he could help me with my mother. I woke up everybody at home and my cousin Jieboy in the next house, who’s big enough to carry her so I could bring her to the hospital.
I learned that when a person is semi-unconscious or unconscious, he becomes heavy as he’s not capable of doing anything to make his weight lighter to those helping him.
My mom was diagnosed with low potassium and sodium — in short, she has an imbalance in her electrolytes . Or at least, that was what her doctor told me even if I have problems understanding what the names are.
Since I didn’t continue my nursing course, I never cared to find out about these things. They’re too science for me and I abhor medical dictionaries because they make me feel like I’m only about a yard away from my crypt.
I don’t even like it when friends give me flowers as they also make me feel the same — feels like I’m going to be buried already the next hour no matter how beautiful the flowers are in a bouquet arrangement.
Again in December, we brought mom to the hospital because she was complaining about pains on her back and she was repetitively vomitting. I was worried … her face had lost color, it had turned pallid. The moment I saw her like that, I told my dad we have to bring her to the hospital before anything worst happens.
At first, my mom was fighting me on my suggestion. She said she’s ok, all she needed was to lie down in bed to rest. I wasn’t convinced.
My parents are my weakness. I’m such a worrier when it comes to them — I don’t know, but I honestly think the habit was formed when my dad had his own case of about a week’s flu and we didn’t know what’s causing it. Not typhoid fever, not dengue, not malaria… we were really puzzled what it was until he went to Manila and sought the help of a hematologist. That was when we were told his anti-bodies were coating his red blood cells.
His ok now. But he’s still continously taking frednizone (a type of steroids) to correct what’s wrong in his blood base on his Coombs’ test.
Both my parents are self-willed and stubborn. They’re always determined not to follow advices when it comes to their health because they think they will forever be physically strong. That’s what I honestly think.
My dad doesn’t like doctors; he never believes in them. I’m trying to understand this is because until two years ago, he has never been hospitalized his entire life.
Because he plays tennis, never drinks and never smokes, he thought he’s never going to fall ill. Many times I have told him that he’s not getting any younger, he doesn’t give a hoot. I’ve always had problems making him understand that when one’s aging, physical changes happen too.
My mom, on the other hand, has diabetes and high blood pressure. These are the two illnesses that make her take many “maintenance medicine” — in many different colors too. Sometimes, I would kid that they all look like little buttons that would look good adorning my most ugly shirt, and she would just laugh.
I used to not worry about her because I trust that she takes care of herself well. She bought a sugar testing tube, and this is what she uses to check on her sugar level, and also a stethoscope to check her blood pressure.
I’ve learned how to use the sugar testing gadget — it was easy. I sought to do this because I want to help her. I don’t really know when she’s going to be incapable doing the test on her own, I figured its best that I know.
Last Saturday, my mother fainted while my cousin was talking to her in the bedroom. We rushed her to the Cooperative Hospital that’s near our house so she can be taken cared of. Once more, her face had turned pallid. This really scared me.
Her doctor said she has low potassium and low sodium again. Last night, while I was in a big event involving our organization, my sister Cecil called to tell me mom needed blood transfusion as she has turned anemic. She needed 500 cc of blood type A+
As far as I know, this is the first time she ever needed to be tranfused. Cecil said my mother’s doctor also wanted her to have her urine collected within 24 hours for creatinine clearance. This is to see if something is wrong with her kidney.
I tried reading today about what’s going on with my mom. I started on the Internet with low potassium and the word “kidney” is there. Then I followed it with reading about “creatinine clearance.”
There are so many words to understand; I don’t know where to jump start my reading comprehension. I know I have to do this so I can help manage her health at home.
This is the same feeling I had when I started reading on the Internet about “autoimmune hemolytic anemia” — words were big to me then, it took me a while to understand what’s being said in the materials to read.
Right now, I’m anxious. I can’t wait to hear the result of this creatinine clearance test. I’m still reading about it online and my head is swimming with medical terms. I had to switch windows just so I can go to an online medical dictionary so I can grasp the meaning of what I’m being informed.
I’m normally patient when it comes to long research readings. This time however, my patience is slowly being reduced to an unmanageable level… I just don’t like the feeling.
Right now, I’m being hopeful and prayerful that everything will turn out ok for my mother. God, let it be ok.