Thursday, January 21, 2016

Waiting Room

Today Aidan's girlfriend, Zaira, had to have surgery at General Hospital, the main entrance to which is about four blocks from my house. He took her and her mother there at 7 a.m. and I joined them about an hour later.

Zaira and her family are Mexican-Americans and everyone in the family has a different status in the eyes of the immigration authorities. So her father cannot drive and her mother does not know how to and her little brother is too young. There is also the horrible fear of deportation hanging over her parents.

So Aidan played that role -- driver.

When I got there I could tell both Maria (Zaira's mom) and Aidan were under terrific stress. We did not really have much reliable information on the medical issues surrounding her surgery and Maria was visibly nervous; Aidan not at all. (Not a good sign for a man.)

There was a TV-like screen in the tiny waiting room, which purported to tell us the status of our patient. Each patient was listed as a number plus the first two letters of their first and last name. But the display was broken and most of the time Zaira's name was under an error sign.

There was also a telephone number we could call, which was great, but they had only the most general information about her status.

When it got to be noon, Maria had a friend who owns a Mexican restaurant in the Excelsior deliver us lunch -- burritos and quesadillas -- and refused to let me pay for them. By this point, I had long exhausted my Spanish, both in talking with her and with others who arrived in the surgery waiting room.

The most poignant were a couple with their three-year-old daughter. The father and the daughter were crying and the mother was stoic. I asked them what had happened and it turned out their five-year-old daughter was having emergency surgery to remove her appendix, which had burst.

I was able to navigate my very weak Spanish enough to assure them that in most cases this would turn out okay and they seemed to calm down. After not a long time, the doctor came to tell them their daughter is okay but will need to stay in the hospital 2-3 days while she recovers.

Meanwhile, we continued to get mixed messages from Zaira's doctors, that she she came through surgery fine but then, when she woke up, not so good.

Aidan and Maria went in to see her as soon as she woke up but she didn't speak, was very pale, and in obvious pain. Aidan had gone down to the hospital store and bought her a stuffed animal -- a white cat with blue eyes. As he was holding it coming back up to the third floor, someone asked him if it was real.

Although she was still too sedated to talk, when she saw the cat she grabbed it and held it close.

At this point, our waiting game started. They kept saying she could go home soon, but as it turned out she was having a very bad reaction to the anesthetics -- throwing up, falling down when she tried to stand up and other symptoms.

Eventually they discharged her and Aidan drove her home, but we are awaiting word whether enough of the symptoms have subsided that we can rest assured she truly is in recovery mode.

Meanwhile he somehow has to handle all of this and get to his flights back to Missoula tomorrow, without her. He will set up the apartment they are moving in together. I am so proud of Aidan's character at this moment. So proud.


Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK's Last Speech

As I often do on this date, here is his last speech, and his greatest speech.



We celebrated my youngest grandchild's birthday today. Daisy is two. I also got to give my oldest grandchild his gifts; James is 9.

At the end of the day, my car battery died and I called roadside assistance. It turns out Daisy thought the big truck with flashing loghst showed up for her party and she was thrilled...