Fading Green Envy

I received an email from my oldest sister last week, updating me on Mom’s recent doctor appointments.  She reported that Mom is doing well, yet the doctor did increase her thyroid medication again as her weight gain and blood work are still a concern.

My sister wrote that Mom also had a new sewing project (Mom didn’t mention that when we talked on the phone).  She made about 40 pillows for the Assisted Living Christmas Bazaar.  Sold every one of them.  Way to go, Mom!

My sister’s email says, ‘Mom and I went for pedicures on Tuesday…’  Hmm… I couldn’t convince Mom to go for a pedicure a few weeks ago when I visited her.

I feel that little green monster creeping out — I’m jealous.green-monster-mara-morea

When I look back at my very first post in this blog, I wrote about wanting a new, deeper relationship with my Mom.  Even though the circumstances were terrible due to my mom’s illness, I still had the desire of my mom and me connecting in a new way.  But when Mom was with me, she was really, really sick.  I don’t think she even remembers much about being here.  She told someone she lived with me for 3 weeks.  It was slightly over 4 months!   Now, she is doing better, and my oldest sister and my mom are bonding.

Ha!  My sister gets a healthier Mom; a Mom who lives a block away in a beautiful assisted living facility (not with her).  She can pop in for coffee anytime and pop back out into her own life.

Yep, I said the monster was green, the color of envy.

I talk with Mom every few days on the phone, but to be honest, the visits to her new city have been less frequent this past month.   I could be more involved in her life, but the 3 hours on the road to and from her apartment have been a deterrent lately.  I just wasn’t prepared for the holiday season, and I have played “catch up” for most of December.  Sigh.  Children, Grandchildren, Mothers, Nieces….  there just isn’t enough of me to do all that I would like to do; be all that I would like to be.   I’m sure I’m not alone with those feelings.   I want more time…. more days…. more me.

I just got off the phone with Mom.  She sounds good.  She sounds like Mom.  I could just sit here and cry over the miracle of that.  She is thriving and content.  My green hue is fading a bit.  I refuse to spoil any of this time with jealousy.   I still have my Mom.   I will treasure whatever relationship  I have with her.  Life is short and we only get to do this once — this Mother-Daughter relationship — I want to do it right.

There are many answered prayers and blessings this Christmas season…

My Mom is still with us.

She is thriving.

She is perhaps even becoming happy with her new life.

She is reading, sewing, playing Bingo, and making new friends.

And she is no longer angry with her 4 children for moving her into an Assisted Living Facility!

As I think about all the good and positive, there is no room in my heart for ugly green monsters…

and all the envy fades away.

Thank you, Lord.

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Toxic Levels

At 2 a.m. my phone rings — again.  I sit straight up in bed, and I answer it by the second ring.  Since that episode last month, my phone is charged in our bedroom so I can hear it — no longer out in the kitchen.  I won’t make that mistake again.

It is Mom this time.   She says my name tentatively then, “where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital, Mom”

“Why”

“Because you were having some trouble.  Your legs weren’t working”

“Am I going to stay here?”

“No.  You are better.  I am coming to get you later.”

“Where am I?”   I tell her again and I say the name of the town as well.  I assure her she is better and that she will come home today.  There is a long pause and then she says my name again ,

“do I need to be put away?”

“Oh Mom, no. No no no. You are okay.  You will come here.  Mom, everything is fine.  I want you to come here.

“Ok.  That’s good.  Ok, I understand.  That’s good”

“Mom, you’re going to come to my house later today.  I am coming to get you”

“Ok, ok that’s good”

We talked for a few more minutes, and once I thought she had settled, we said our good-byes and our ‘I love yous’, and I hung up.    Wow.  Do I go back to bed?  Do I go to the hospital? This is a first.  She sounded really tired.  Bad dream? She has never had trouble sleeping before. I’m fairly certain she has fallen back asleep already.

At 8 a.m. as I am getting around to head to the hospital, another call from Mom.  ‘where am I? Where are you?  Why am I here?’

Oh my, something is wrong.   I finish getting around and head to the hospital as fast as I can.   She is agitated when I get there.  She points to the white marker board, and in bold letters it says, HOLD DILATIN.   This is a med she has been on for over forty years.  She is afraid to go off due to a few seizures she had over forty years ago.   I cringe when I read the sign, and I know exactly why she is upset.   When she woke up — both during the night and this morning — she read that sign.  Her hearing may be awful, but her eyesight is good.  Her focus has been on that marker board.  She is upset, mad and afraid, and very confused.  I take a few minutes to calm her down and leave her in the care of a technician while I head to the nurses’ station.

As I go, I smile because I know we may have finally landed on “the problem”.  Yay!  And sure enough, the doctor explains to Mom that she has toxic levels of that med in her system.  It takes awhile, but we finally make it clear to her that the poison of this med is much worse than the benefit right now.  We need to deal with that first and handle seizures, if necessary, with other meds.   I text my siblings to bring them up to date.  A bit later, my sister calls me and says, “have you read the list of symptoms of toxic levels of that drug?”  The list is lengthy and many of Mom’s problems are on the list.  We are encouraged.

They begin the process of flushing this med out of her body  and now we wait —  and hope.

That Would Be Terminal For You

The good news is the CT scan was normal.  The bad news is Mom is back in the hospital.  I just want to cry.  I tried so hard to avoid her going back in, but some things are just out of my control.  It isn’t her heart or her congestive heart failure.  Blood work showed that she has improved in two weeks.  But her legs just won’t work.  And the doctors all agree that something isn’t quite right;  she is a fall risk.  The ER doctor bluntly said, ‘you can’t go home because you might fall and break your hip, and that would be terminal for you’.   Ouch.  But it was what Mom needed to hear.  It was what I needed to hear because I wasn’t so sure I was going to leave her there.

I am here at home today caring for my three grandsons.  The distraction is good.  My sister-in-law is at the hospital texting me periodically with updates:  ‘waiting for MRI…   gone for MRI…. will take about an hour…  Doctor just in…. He is coming up with nothing’.  Great.  Not what I wanted to hear, but I guess I don’t know what I want to hear.  I’m not sure there are any good scenarios here.

So I wait.   Hard to be here and not there.

I don’t think she’ll be coming back here for awhile.  I think they will try to do rehab somewhere.   That “somewhere” will most likely be the local nursing home.  And that makes me want to cry too.   I know Mom doesn’t want to go there.  I told her I would do everything I could to keep her here.  I just pray to God if she has to go there, it will only be temporary.   I don’t want her last days to be in a nursing home.

I fear she won’t come out.

 

 

 

She Just Listened For Our Cries

I was born in a small town hospital and lived in an old white farmhouse for my first four years.  I hardly remember anything about that house.  There are a couple of snapshots in my head, but that’s about all.  I had two older sisters and one older brother;  he was still a baby himself when I came into this world.  I know my Mom was busy with all those kids.  Another sister was born three years later.  It’s a wonder she got any sleep at all.  They didn’t have baby monitors back then.   She just listened for our cries.

I had four babies of my own.  For the first three, I too just listened during the night.  I didn’t sleep soundly in those days.  The least little whimper from those kiddos, and I was wide awake.  I spent many nights in a comfy recliner, rocking babies and making promises to God if He would only make them sleep.  By the time our fourth and last baby was born, I had a baby monitor system.  I don’t know that we really needed it.  After all, I had never slept through a baby’s cry.  And the monitor only intensified every single burp and gurgle.  I think I got less sleep with that contraption.

Funny how life circles back around.  I’m lying in bed listening to my mom over a recently installed monitor.   I can hear her trying to get settled; a few grunts and several deep sighs.  I just tucked her into bed and turned off the light.    I don’t “tuck her in” every night.  She has been pretty independent, however, she is struggling right now.  Her legs are like noodles; not sure why.   As she was getting ready for bed, she dropped her hearing aid.  After bending or squatting to get it, she couldn’t get back up.  Thankfully, I was keeping watch in the hallway.   “Mom, you okay?  Do you need help?”    My husband and I easily stood her back up.  I know she hates this.  She hates being weak and dependent on anyone.

After she was done in the bathroom, I walked her back into the bedroom, and helped her into bed.  “Mom, please call me if you need to get up during the night.   Your legs are a little wobbly today.  Please let me help you.   I don’t mind getting up”.   I know she hates that too.   She doesn’t want to be a burden.   And she is not — no more than I was when I lived in her home and I needed her.

So as I listen over this monitor, waiting for her to fall asleep, emotion overtakes me and I begin to cry.  I let the tears freely fall and grieve for my Mom.    I’m worried about her.

I won’t sleep soundly tonight.   And that’s okay.

Lord, help me to enrich my Mom’s life.  I don’t want the days to just slip by.  I don’t want to get so caught up in the daily care of her body that I forget to nurture her spirit as well.  Lord, I love my Mom.   Help me to bless her.

Ephesians 4:29  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

 

Good Luck, PT

So Mom has been very lethargic and weak the last two days.   It may be that Physical Therapy did too much with her on Friday.  That would normally irritate me because they are the experts and they should know what they are doing.  And Mom, who has been rolling her eyes at me about physical therapy said, ‘see? enough of that!’

However, when I look at the choices of what could be wrong — PT messing up is the best option.  Because as I watch Mom, and do some reading about her symptoms, I think she has a lot of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.  A lot.  I actually mentioned this to her new doctor last week, but he didn’t think so (after 10 minutes in the room with us!).   I also told him that she fell a couple of years ago — fell over backwards off a friend’s porch and hit her head.   I don’t think she ever went to the doctor for that accident.  Anyways, I must have said enough because he did order a CT scan.  She will have that done tomorrow.   So if I have the choice between PT over-doing it or Parkinson’s.  I choose PT screwing up.

But I will be shocked is it isn’t Parkinson’s.

By the way, PT is scheduled again for tomorrow morning.  Yeh, good luck with that.  I think you may see some eye rolling and attitude yourself from my Mom.   … just sayin

Lord, we need some help here.  Please give the doctors wisdom.  Help them discover what is going on.   We need some answers.  Mom is not getting better.  She should be getting better.  I want her to get better…

Why Can’t I Just Go Home?

It’s been a little over two weeks since Mom came to live with us.  She was so incredibly weak when she arrived.   What did they do to her in that hospital?  She was better before she went in!  How can “taking water off” her body leave her so emancipated?  She looks like she has aged 10 years.

We have tried to settle into a routine, but life has been a little crazy.  Home Health Care is coming for awhile to help with rehabilitation.  There was one nurse who came for two and half hours just to ask questions.  There was a physical therapist who came for about an hour and half and evaluated Mom’s legs — walking, balance, etc.  The next day, an occupational therapist came to check on her arm strength and cognitive skills.  Then the next week, actual therapy began.

Mom isn’t a happy camper about therapy.  She rolls her eyes at me (kinda funny — is this payback time, Mom?).   She thinks once she is back on the golf course, she will get strong.  “Golfing will make me strong”.    I think I may have to take her into the backyard myself and let her attempt to swing that club.  I think she is a kinetic learner.  Once she actually sees that she cannot golf, physical therapy may not seem so silly to her.

So in the last two weeks, I think we have had a total of seven different professionals here.  Those who evaluate, those who actually train, and those who fill in for those who train when they go on vacation.  What a zoo!    And on top of all that, we had a big milestone birthday bash for my husband here — planned months ago.  I felt sorry for Mom.  So many people here and such a long evening for her.  She did great, but she was exhausted.

The next weekend, she went to my sister’s.  My husband and I had a short getaway planned to Chicago to complete his birthday celebrations.  Again, Mom, I’m sorry.   I know routine is your friend.  Life has been anything but routine.  She is confused about why she has to go there.  ‘Why can’t I just go home?’

I’m getting that question a lot.  I don’t blame her.   I try to make things as easy for her as I can.  I try to give her plenty of “space” to do what she wants.  I haven’t made any extra demands on her about eating or exercising.  She is eating well and walking.   I’m trying to give her as much freedom as possible.  But I know she just wants to be in her home.  I get that.  And it makes me really sad.  I wish I could give her that; and it breaks my heart that I can’t.

 

Lord, Show me how to make Mom as comfortable as possible.  Help her adjust to our home.  Make it her home.  Give her peace and contentment.  Please don’t her friends forget she is here.  Help me to be creative in getting them together.