Home, Sweet, Home

Being in the hospital is no reason to stop multi-tasking

I like to think of my self as Superman (or Superwoman, or Supermom or Supersomething!) But, at times like these, I realize that no matter how super I am, I still can’t do it all.

While I was immeasurably thankful the pulmonary embolism didn’t kill me (you can read about that here), and I was thankful to be in the hospital, getting the care I needed, I couldn’t help stressing out that my kids were home alone. What’s a single mom to do in a situation like this?  All of my family lives in Illinois. At least I have three teenagers to help care for my three little ones, but still, it was really hard being told I’d have to stay in the hospital while my kids were at home. Alone.

I kept thinking, What would a single parent, who didn’t have any teenagers capable of babysitting, do?  It would be so unimaginably awful to be sick enough to need hospitalization while at the same time knowing you can’t be hospitalized because you have little kids and no one to watch them. Yes, I know most single parents have an ex-spouse, or other family member, or friend who could take the kids.  But for those who don’t? It sucks. It really sucks!

Thankfully, my parents were able to fly down so my kids only had to spend one night on their own.  And thankfully, my kids are responsible and independent enough that it was no big deal for them to make dinner, lock up the house, and get to bed.  Knowing my parents were on their way down here, I was able to relax a bit.  Well, as much as a person can relax in a hospital (which is actually very little). Especially when their roommate is an elderly woman with dementia who keeps screaming for her husband to come to the (fifth floor) window and shine a flashlight in to let her know he’s there. I know there’s nothing funny about dementia. It’s really sad, in fact. But it’s difficult to muster sympathy at 3:00 a.m. when you’re trying to get some sleep and your roommate is banging her bedpan on the rails of her bed, getting tangled in the privacy curtains she keeps yanking back, and yelling out that “they’re pumping something in the air so I can breathe! They’re drugging me! They’re trying to keep me here! They drugged me and brought me here and that’s why I don’t remember! And I don’t even know where I am! There’s something dripping on me and don’t tell me there isn’t because I can feel it and I’m not stupid!  There’s someone flying under my bed!” (Not to mention the fact that she kept calling me Patsy and asking me when I was having my baby.)

The good news is that I’m now under the care of a hematologist. I feel stupid for not realizing it was a hematologist I needed to see all along!  I should know better! My new hematologist came into my room, introduced himself, and asked me a bunch of questions.

“How many times have you been pregnant?”


“How many kids do you have?”


“Do you smoke?”


“Do you drink?”

“Of course!  Didn’t you hear the part about me having six kids?”

He laughed. He laughed hard. Therefore I like him. I don’t trust people who don’t laugh at my jokes.

He’s got me on all sorts of blood thinners now to break up my clots and prevent more from forming.  And apparently, a DVT, a PE, and a clotting disorder buys you membership to the Coumadin for Life Club.  We have a secret handshake and everything!  The suckiest part (I’d selectively forgotten about this from my earlier Coumadin use) is that you can’t take Advil or Motrin for pain. Just Tylenol. And taking Tylenol works about as well as taking a Tic Tac.

So I’m at home resting because I have no choice. When I get up and walk around, not only do I double over with pain in my leg, but I can’t really breathe so I’m forced to do nothing more strenuous than play Scramble with Friends and make myself sick thinking about all the medical bills I can’t pay. On the bright side, Brooklyn has brought me thirty-eight cups of fake coffee from her pretend cafe, so I can honestly say that I’ve been kept busy all afternoon!

Want to read more from Dawn? Get her books Because I Said So (and other tales from a less-than-perfect parent) and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) here!

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