Jewish World Review March 21, 2003 / 17 Adar II, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

One of those weeks | It was one of those weeks. It started last Thursday morning when I got a call from my sister telling me that our mother had fallen and the paramedics were on their way over to her house. I jumped into the car and raced over. By the time I got there, the paramedics had already been there, checked her out, and rushed her to the hospital. I picked up my sister and off we went. On the way to the emergency room, Debra gave me the details.

She had gone over to Mom's that morning to take her to the beauty parlor and then grocery shopping. There was no answer when she knocked on her door so she used her key and went in. She found mom on the floor of the bathroom where she had gotten dizzy and fallen in the middle of the night. Fortunately, she didn't hit her head or break a hip and she was conscious. As we were to find out, though, she fractured several ribs in the fall and her backside was quite black and blue. She also had an elevated blood count, but that was it. Considering what could have been, we considered ourselves damn lucky.

We spent all that day in the emergency room while they gave Mom the usual going over -- X-rays, blood work, poking around, asking questions, more blood work, on and on. Then my wife called saying that she had to take our golden retriever to the veterinary hospital. He had a bout with diarrhea which turned out to have been caused by bacteria and parasites. While I sat at the people's ER Jane sat at the animal ER.

Finally, in the early evening, they transferred my mother into a regular room in the hospital where she would be spending the next several days mending. By the time I got home, Jane and Moose were back from the vet's. But Moose was still not right. He spent a restless night and the following morning he wouldn't eat and could hardly walk. After a quick call to my mother, back to the vet's we went. We were told that his pancreatitis, a disorder he had developed before, had reoccurred. Now they had to keep him overnight and treat him with antibiotics and pain relievers and hook him up to an IV. My mother was hooked up to an IV too.

So there they were -- my mother and my dog both hooked up to IVs, not eating solid food, neither one walking, both feeling crummy and weak, and spending the night in their respective hospitals. For the next five days all our time was spent going from one hospital to the other. Mom gained her appetite back after a day or so and started complaining about the hospital food, which we took as a good sign. Her infection cleared up and her pain seemed to be subsiding. Although she wasn't walking on her own yet, physical therapists would be working with her.

Moose's news wasn't as bright. His vet didn't know why he was still refusing to eat and why he seemed to be in discomfort even after his pancreas appeared to be getting better. She recommended a Sonogram to investigate further, so we agreed to it. That meant another night at the hospital for him -- making four so far.

The Sonogram disclosed a couple of masses growing inside the spleen. If left alone, one or both of the masses might rupture and cause internal bleeding and necessitate either emergency surgery or, as she put it, "putting him down." She recommended surgery now to remove the spleen. She could perform the surgery in a few hours -- around midnight. We agreed and went home without moose for the fifth consecutive night.

The surgery went fine, we were told early the next morning. I called my mother at the hospital, as usual, to see how breakfast went and to give her a Moose update. She was just beginning her physical therapy when I called, so I told her I'd call back. When I spoke to her later she told me she was able to take a few steps this morning without any pain to her side. She also ate most of her breakfast. A very good report. She was happy to hear that Moose's surgery went well, too.

So as it stands now, both mother and puppy are doing fine. Hopefully Mom will be out of the hospital, if her walking improves enough, by the end the week. Moose could be home by Friday also. Both of their infections have been cleared up, so now it's simply a matter of healing and rehabilitation.

We will drive over to the people hospital soon to spend the afternoon with Mom. Then this evening we will return to the doggy hospital -- call it a tale of two hospitals. This has been the routine for us every day for the past seven days. Every day feeling like the day before. Scary. Uncertain. Days filled with anxiety and nervousness. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for something to change for the better.

This feeling of uneasiness and wait is very much like the anxiety and uncertainties that we've all been feeling these past months concerning the coming war with Iraq. Each day feeling like the day before with nothing really changing. But then things did change this week. President Bush gave Saddam 48 hours to get out of town or we're coming in to get him.

So now things, at last, are moving along. My mom is walking. My dog is eating. And America will soon be liberating Iraq. Yep. It's been one of those weeks.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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