May 6, 2009
The last few weeks have been a blur of one thing after another, and I am beyond exhausted. Literally.
My Mom (who still lived alone and worked) fell in her drive-way and suffered a compression fracture in her lower back. She had not talked to her physician about having alot of G.I. problems and when she was hospitalized and then sent to a rehab center these problems escalated quickly. The pain medication caused her to be extremely confused and she refused to eat (for the past 3 weeks) because of nausea/vomiting. I got more and more frustrated watching my Mom go downhill instead of recuperating, and talking to the rehab facility doctor and getting nowhere.
I finally talked to a nurse there who agreed to call an ambulance to transport my Mom to another hospital and we spent 10 hours in E.R. a couple of nights ago, to find out that her potassium level was at 2.1 and severely dehydrated. I was just sure that the literally dozens of obviously sick people right outside our little cubicle curtain had swine flu, or something else we certainly wouldn't want either. It was so tiring.
Each time I think I'm getting help for my Mom, it seems like there is another hurdle to advocate over. Once they admitted her and got her electrolytes restored, they came into her room (the next day!) and asked what rehabilitation facility she wanted to be transferred to. I had to jump up and down to get the doctor to call in a G.I. Specialist and a Spine Specialist. Well, the G.I. guy did a simple exray and found that my Mom was "full of it" (exact words) and a little Miralax he thought would do the trick. I tried to tell him that she had been having G.I. problems for several months and didn't he think he should do a scope or something to see what is going on. But he said he would do it later if this didn't resolve the issue. Later is not good, when Mom has been having problems for months, and this compression fracture has just compounded the issues.
I was so tired today I literally couldn't pull my body out of bed, yet she gets "embarrassed" to have help from the nurses for her personal care. When I am there, she won't ask for help from them or tell them she is having symptoms. So I take on all the emotional responsibility and it has been tough. As a side-note here, I can't even count the number of times I've heard this scenerio in the past three weeks. Mom won't touch her food and a nurse questions her as to why. Instead of telling them upfront that she was nauseauous, she says "You think I might be pregnant?" When they laugh and dismiss her, she quickly inserts, "I have a little grandson who would just LOVE a sibling." Talk about frustration, listening to this flippant, Freudian dialogue over and over, and feeling like Mom is still jealous in her old age, of women having babies.
This, also, is another whole post, but for some reason it is really hard to assist my Mom with her personal care and bodily functions, if you know what I mean. I've always wondered if it had something to do with me being adopted, and the fact that we don't share that biological connection. Yet, I have always been extremely loyal and felt emotionally responsible for her happiness. I am so trying to avoid making my son feel emotionally responsible for me.
Now for the only part of today that gave me a tiny bit of laughter ~ After I picked my son up from preschool I thought I'd "run" up to the hospital and let my Mom visit with him for awhile, because I know I will not have the energy to go again tonight. I was hurriedly trying to get him to the restroom before he had an "accident" (he is potty training) as I knew right after school he usually needed to go and I put a diaper on him for his naptime anyway. I didn't have an extra pair of pants for him, so I knew I was racing time. Well, on the way to the restroom in the hospital I happened to see a door labeled "Patient Advocate" and my stressed-out mind thought I'd open it just to see what I found. Inside was a small office with a Sister (Nun) sitting behind a desk and very willing to hear my story. I hurriedly tried to explain the situation and that I was so concerned that the hospital please not discharge my Mom until they know she is eating again and has more strength, yada, yada, yada. All the while my son is doing really well (considering) that it is way past his naptime. He decides to sit in a chair while the Sister takes notes and is very lovely and patient with him, giving him a notepad and pencil to help her, etc.
I'm glad I stopped in there, but it did stress me out more trying to talk about Mom and deal with my hyper-tired little one.
Anyway, we finally left the office and as soon as we hit the bathroom I realized it was too late and Andrew had pee peed in his pants ~ the only pair I had with me. Thankfully, I did have a diaper, so I hurriedly put it on him and we headed (in his stroller) up to the 3rd floor to give my Mom the Peach Tea she loves, hoping she would drink it. Wouldn't you know, I end up running into an old co-worker and also got several stares from elevator-mates, etc. with my little 4 year old in a stroller pantless, with only a diaper and shirt. Not just that, but him screaming that HE wants to push the buttons!!! I should have known it is impossible just to make a quick "run" anywhere! Nope.
Once we made it to Mom's room she wasn't even in there, but had been taken for an MRI to follow-up on her back (thank goodness, because I had to plead with the doctor to get a spine specialist involved as well). It has taken all my energy just to try to get medical care for my Mom, so much so, that I have no energy left just to be with her and care for her. Now I am trying to convince my husband that he needs to take a few days off work so I can somehow try to rest and also tour area rehab centers (glorified nursing homes : ( so I'll hopefully be a little more prepared when they walk back in her room (who knows when) and ask that flippant question. Oh my gosh.
I am still trying to get to the funny part of this story ~ sorry. When I realized my son had wet his pants (soaked) I realized that he had probably wet the nice Sister's chair as well, and in that little, not-well-ventilated office, good luck on trying to salvage that chair! Nothing like leaving alittle bit of yourself behind when you leave ~ right! lol
On the way home, Andrew looked over and saw the Children's part of the hospital which happens to be blue, and he loudly exclaimed, "wanna go to the blue hospital sometime and get a beer?" No joke ~ it sounded exactly like that. I laughingly replied ~ "Yes, that sounds like a great idea, honey!". He had remembered the little "BEAR" he got during one of his surgeries and I'm sure that is what he really wanted, but I kind of liked the "BEER" better! lol
Another whole part to this saga is the fact that I have always avoided this particular hospital because it is the one my First Mother passed away in, back in 1980, ten years before I "found" her. For several years I was almost scared to drive by it, because of the buried feelings that were trying to seep their way up through my numbed-out adoptee denial. I still can't let myself emotionally "go there" much, simply because it is too overwhelming. Just to know that here it is almost Mother's Day and my Birthday (same freaking day) and my Mom is in this same hospital now. Both my Mothers with all the complicated emotions still STUCK in me it seems (at least today).
I'd do anything for my Mom to be knocking on my front door right now "surprising" me with one of her visits, even IF it was an inconvenient time. Yet I also beat myself up for not knowing how to balance my priorities as I don't want to end up so emotionally and physically exhausted from trying to care beyond what I just can't physically succeed at and neglect my son, my own motherhood, my marriage, my mental and physical health, etc. It is so difficult. I took care of Mom through a bone-marrow transplant back in my 20's, as well as my grandmother. It is all very triggering right now. I thank God for several good years of restoration for my son to have a relationship with his Grandma and for her to be able to enjoy him. And I don't want that to ever end. I just pray for healing and strength for her and for a good rehab center who will help us to that end. Because I'm so tired.
Yet I'm also sitting here weeping and missing a woman who I never really met (at least as an adult). The woman who gave birth to me and who searched for me her entire life. And I her. My Mother. Who I have missed every day for 41 years.
I love them both so much.