FROM May... Mom & Dad
I'm writing this on an ancient powerbook as I sit in the waiting room fr the neuo-surgery ICU at the University of Kentucky Hospital. I'd be thrilled with this decrepit little toy under better circumstances. I'm not likely to be thrilled by anything under these circumstances, though. My mom had a seizure last Sunday that lasted over three hours. She spent the night a MacDowell hospital near home, and I was up with her all night. When she became conscious, she was very affectionate and needed constant attention. Her legs were cramping horribly from the build up of lactic acid from the seizure, and I massaged them for hours.
On Monday, doctors discovered that she had massive bleeding on the brain. My Aunt Eva rode with her in the ambulance, which made the 3 1/2 hour trip to Lexington in just about two hours. (I'm still not convinced Eva wasn't driving, considering that speed - ha ha.) Dad and I got there later Monday evening and we've been here ever since. Today is Thursday, I think.
It's been a long week. When Mom is awake, she's confused and difficult so we have to stay with her or she's tied down. She was constantly trying to pull out the drain in her head and the IV's in her arms. Now that they are gone, she keeps wanting to stand up. The problem with that is that it takes two of us to hold her up, and her left leg and arm are so weak and swollen that she can barely use them. Life is going to get bleak if she doesn't get her motor functions back. Today is the first day that I think she realizes how sick she is - she's been too out of it until now to grasp the situation. She's getting it now, and she's fighting like hell against it. That might be a good thing.
OK, I know that tonight is thursday because I watched "Season Finale Thursday" on NBC. I think that makes this May 15. I missed this week's QAF, but I'll get to see it Saturday, i hope. There's a possibility they'll let mom go home tomorrow. If not, then my Aunt Eva will come spend the night here with mom as she did last weekend so dad and I can go home and catch up on mail, bills and the lawn. If anyone had ever told me I could miss rose bushes, I'd have thought they were nuts. Right now I miss everything.
I know it sounds like I'm whining. I'm not sorry I'm here, In fact, this is the first time I'm actually glad I'm in Kentucky. There's no way I'd want my Dad to go through this alone. More importantly, if I weren't here, I'd never have the kind of appreciation for both my parents that i do now. It would be a shame to go through life without seeing how truly amazing they both are.
My mom is tough. There's no other word for it. I can't believe some of the things she has survived - poverty, neglect, abuse, and a litany of serious health problems which included a burst pancreas, a rare heart condition and a host of congenital problems that I've not only inherited but have taken into new realms of dysfunction. She recently kicked butt on a couple of young orderlies who couldn't believe she was in her 60's when she broke the restraints they tried to put her in. Years of working as a "foreman" in a metal shop have left her strong and unusually muscular. Her skin is plump and firm and she's only now showing any real signs of aging. She's always had a "my way or the highway" attitude that served her well in the past, except where I was concerned. (We're are entirely too much alike and are polar opposites in almost everything except stubborness.) That same attitude is making this a much more unpleasant and frustrating ordeal, though, and i miss that week or so that I had of her being very sweet and affectionate.
She gets really aggravated with every aspect of her treatment, and is constantly unhooking her monitors and IV's. When we get her into bed, she wants up again before we even get the covers pulled up. She isn't used to the weakness in her left side, and she'll move very quickly and lose her balance. We can't let her fall because she still has a blood clot, but she gets very angry at us when we try to help her or ask what she's trying to do. Her general lack of respect for me has tranlated into occasional violence, though so far she hasn't had the strength, balance or focus to really hurt me. I just hope she gets her wits back as quickly as she regains her strength. Knowing that she's out of her head isn't going to make it hurt any less if she actually succeeds in breaking my fingers or connects when she swings at me.
She's asleep in a chair beside her bed right now. Poor thing -- she looks so fragile when she's still. She has half a mohawk from the surgery and still has a large clump of stitches where the drain was in her head. There's a lunar eclipse tonight, but we can't see it from here. That was her excuse for wanting to go to the window. An eclipse is the kind of thing we'd all be out on the front porch for, as was the thunderstorm this afternoon. Dad opened the blinds and turned chairs so we could "watch the light show". They never miss a good storm. No eclipse tonight, though. Dad is asleep on the extra bed in this room. He's had even less sleep than I have, because Mom won't let him leave her alone for long. It would be sweet, if he weren't so tired. She doesn't seem to understand anyone else's needs - though empathy was never her long suit - and she'll wake him up and keep him hopping no matter what the hour. Bless his heart, he never complains.
If Dad wasn't my hero before, he absolutely is now. I've never seen such patience in a person. He's always been very kind and affectionate. He's one of the few men I would really call "gentile" - he's never walked through a door in front of me in my life unless I asked him to; he does dishes, and vacuuming and anything else that needs to be done without asking; he's gentle and funny and softspoken in an "Andy Griffith" sort of way; he adores children and they love him; the classic "toilet seat debate" was never an issue in our house because we all put the lid down; and as far as I can tell, he's been in love with my mom since they were kids. They've been married 46 years and her biggest complaints are that he never wants to go anywhere (though he does) and that he lets her choose what they do in terms of restaurants and other entertainment. Beyond that the only problem they really have is me.