Cascading failures

by wonderfullyrich on February 5, 2008

Many of you asked what I was doing in urgent care and how urgent it was. I am fine, I just had yet another sinus infection and my Primary Care Physician is at GW University’s Medical Facility Associates (part of a Teaching Hospital) where getting a regular appointment is generally more then a week out. They have an Urgent Care facility which is attached to the PCPs and only schedules 48 hours in advance so if it’s less then emergency, but more then regular you go to urgent care. (Think of the show House M.D. and his clinic duties, I was in the clinic.) I have good antibiotics for sinus infections and my sinus will be fine here shortly.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I’m emotionally doing all that well. I found out a day after I posted my last blog post that my grandmother went from being in the board and care facility where she was recovering from a pelvic fracture, to the hospital. Grandma is an 88 year old former nurse who, with my aunt here in Sacramento, is the last of the Jeong’s in America. In addition to the pelvic fracture, she’s diabetic, in congestive heart failure which is causing gross edema (swelling of the body due to a lack of being able to pull blood back to the heart), and recently her kidneys have failed. So I found out on Friday night that she went into the ER for shortness of breath and while she was their decide that she would like to be considered for “emergency dialysis” (daily dialysis until labs return to normal). I found out that night that earlier this week they had figured out that her kidneys had failed so she had two options put in front of her, hospice and dialysis. It’s not as obvious as a choice as one might think, as dialysis is a painful process even for a younger person. Having just witnessed it yesterday and about to go comfort her again today, I can attest to how painful it is just to witness. Apparently her first dialysis went poorly as it was ridiculously painful, after which she changed her mind and said she didn’t want to do the dialysis anymore. After some more discussion with the doctor and my Aunt, she changed her mind again, as she indicated she didn’t want to die. She is a full code patient (meaning all lifesaving operations will be taken to save her) and this like the dialysis is her own decision so she’s stubbornly clinging to life. (I expect and admire nothing less from my Grandmother.)

I spent Friday till Sunday afternoon in the mist of indecision on when to go as I want to be here when she passes. (I don’t know why.) My mother and father flew on Saturday. They didn’t really give me anything that swayed me, but I finally just decided it’s better to do something then not do anything. I told my brother of my intention and he decided to join me. I book us on Sunday from Washington to Denver to San Fran where we rented a car and drove up after landing at 11:30. It was 2 am before we arrived (or 5 am our time). Long trip, but so far it turned out to be extremely worth it. I got to see the best part of this recovery and I think I’m going to get to watch her go back to the board and care facility, at least for one more time. The cascade of failures she has is not recoverable, but she’s still lucid and now that the dialysis pain is being managed, she’s not in lots of pain. She will continue to live, at least for a time.

I fly back on Thursday (same trip in reverse) and am hopeful that I can plan another trip out here that isn’t a drop everything and run. There’s still lots to talk about in my family, but things are looking good for now. I am extremely thankful as I am not emotionally doing the greatest before, but I am much relieved now.

Thanks everyone for your support!

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