The past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions.
My mother, Karen Vogts, went to the hospital Monday afternoon because she had fallen while at home. Luckily, my father, Steve Vogts, was home. He found her and called an ambulance, which took her to Memorial Hospital in McPherson.
My brother, Troy Vogts, called me while I was helping teach a weightlifting class here in western Kansas. I didn’t answer his call at first, but by the time he called for a third time, I knew something was wrong.
By 3:20 p.m., I was flying down Kansas Highway 4 toward McPherson with all sorts of thoughts racing through my head as I swung between psychotically pissed off and nearly debilitated with sorrow and fear. All the while I was getting updates from Troy and my cousin.
(One such update was that a nurse there was trying to limit the number of people who could go back to see her. My aunt followed these asinine stipulations the nurse came up with, but she made the comment, according to my cousin, that she’d like to see the nurse stop me from going back there when I arrived. She’s right. I would have let out a blue-streak of foul language that would have roasted the nurse until she got out of my way. No one would have stood between me and seeing mom.)
When I got to the hospital, I went straight to her room. She knew I was there, but her mind seemed very clouded and muddled. She couldn’t even put together a complete sentence. This had me worried.
I quickly learned, though, she had a urinary tract, bladder and possible kidney infection, which was causing the high fever she was experiencing. However, she was vomiting digested blood, and the doctors at Memorial didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from.
This meant another ambulance ride for mom. With dad at her side, she rode to Hutchinson’s Promise Regional Medical Center. Later dad joked he asked to drive since they were already using the lights and sirens, but he said they wouldn’t let him because he would have swung through the McDonald’s drive-through on the way to the hospital.
Once she was placed in her room at Promise, the doctor came and talked to her. He ordered fluids because she was severely dehydrated, and he began treating the infection. He said her inability to answer questions or find the words to string together coherent sentences could be caused by the infection, dehydration and high fever, which means her falling was also probably caused by those things. She might have fainted or simply collapsed with weakness.
He put in the order for a Endoscopy to try to find the source of the bleeding, and he moved her into the Intensive Care Unit to keep a better eye on the infection.
By the time she was settled into her ICU room, mom was starting to act a little more like herself, and she looked a lot better. Once we found out her Endoscopy wasn’t going to be until Tuesday morning, dad, Troy and I all went home to get some rest so we could be back at the hospital for mom’s procedure.
It was then I realized how out of it mom probably was all day. First, it was clear things weren’t right because she was dehydrated, and that woman drinks more water than anyone I know. She always has a huge mug of water with her, so her not drinking on it was a sign. Also, since she has to use a walker to get around the house, she always has the cordless phone in the bag that hangs from the crossbars of the walker. When I got home, the phone was in its cradle, but the television remote was in the bag. My theory is she might have been so ravaged by the fever she thought the remote was the phone. Crazy stuff.
The next day we got to the hospital too late to see her before she had her Endoscopy. They must have taken her back earlier than they told us, but once she got out, we went to see her and she seemed to be doing even better. In fact, dad asked if anyone in the room knew the phone number to the neighbor’s house, and mom rattled it off like it was nothing. That was a great sign since the night before she had told the doctor she was 25. Now she could be 25, but I’m 24 so that doesn’t really work. 😉
During the day she continued to show signs of improvement in conversation and demeanor, and she said she was starting to feel the affects of her fall. She said her arms and head hurt from when she landed, but she didn’t seem too bothered by it. She’s a tough lady.
Later the doctors told us the bleeding was coming from her Esophagus, and the irritation causing the bleeding was most-likely due to acid reflux. The doctor said it could be treated with medication, and she’d be fine.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, we were told she was being moved out of ICU and to a regular room, so she told me to head back west and go to work on Wednesday. Those same orders were given out to dad and Troy. Clearly she was doing better.
I spoke with her Wednesday evening, and she said she was doing a lot better. Her appetite was coming back, she’d gotten a sponge bath and got to brush her teeth. She did have a couple of interesting bits of news, though. She said she was still bleeding inside, but she said the doctor didn’t seem too concerned. Also, she said they found a kidney stone, but they told her it wasn’t a big deal unless it started to bother her. Also, she has a Hiatal hernia. Again, though, she said it wasn’t a big deal.
Like I said, she’s tough.
Most importantly, though, the doctor asked her when she wanted to go home. She said maybe today if she was feeling stronger. After all, she doesn’t need to be going home and hopping around with her walker if she can’t keep herself upright.
I spoke with her on the phone tonight, and she said she was doing very well and even sat up in a chair for about six hours. She also said the doctor was releasing her. She’ll be home tomorrow!
Overall, I think she’s doing a lot better, and I think we owe her recovery to all the thoughts, prayers and offers of help and support everyone gave us. My Facebook page and Twitter feed blew up! It meant a lot, and though I can’t possibly begin to thank everyone individually because there are so many of you I’d need to thank, I do want you all to know your kindness didn’t go unnoticed. It was truly appreciated.
There are a couple people I feel I need to make special mention of though. First, my cousin, Dale Westbrook, who is on the EMS crew in Canton, which is where my parents live. He wasn’t on duty Monday, but he heard the call. He picked up my brother from work and took out the house, and then he rode in the ambulance with my mom to McPherson. That was very important to me. He took care of my brother and my mom. Thanks, Dale.
My roommate, Travis Schafer, did something wonderful too. He teachers second and third grade, so he had his students make a big get-well-soon card for mom. She hasn’t received it yet because I’m going to mail it to her. It is a wonderful card that made me smile, so I’m sure she’ll be delighted with it as well. Travis is my best friend, and I truly appreciate all he did for me during this scary time.
Also, I want to thank my journalism students. While I was with my mom in Hutchinson on Tuesday, they took it upon themselves to send her flowers. When I spoke to mom on Wednesday, she said she had received them and they were beautiful. It means so very much to me to know my students care. I love working with them all, and it honestly made my day to hear my mom talk about the thoughtfulness they showed. Those kids rock, and I’m lucky to have them in my class and life.
Really, with all the support everyone has shown, I have been reminded how blessed I am. I’m glad mom is doing better, and I again thank everyone for everything. I will keep everyone posted on how she progresses once she gets home, so keep checking here, on Twitter and on Facebook.