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Just after Thanksgiving last year, the family was gathered for a dinner at my house. Mom had just returned from visiting my sisters in New York. She was having trouble with her asthma and was tired and short of breath. While in NY, she felt poor enough to see the Doctor, so naturally, we were concerned for her.

After dinner I noticed that mom's hands were blue. Without trying to alarm her, I asked her a few questions such as "Mom, are you feeling all right? Are you having any trouble breathing?" My daughter who has a good deal medical background and first aid training was also concerned. The more questions that we asked mom, the sicker that she started feeling. Finally, she wanted to head home. I didn't know if she should go home, but I didn't want to alert her further, so dad took her home.

We all discussed how this could be serious. Should we have let her go? Should we have called an ambulance for blue hands? I got on the phone with my sister in New York to explain the situation. Now she was worried too! But during our conversation the incoming call alert beeped on my phone. I put my sister on hold because it was my dad calling. I was nervous that they were in the hospital with mom and that her blue hands were a symptom that she was not getting enough oxygen. My father's comments immediately put my fears to rest. "Son, don't worry about your mother. We figured out why her hands are blue. In fact she's blue from the waist down. She bought a new pair of blue jeans and had not washed them, and she's turned blue from the dye in the jeans!" Well I felt relieved, but also embarrassed that I allowed my mother to leave my house looking like a Smurf!

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