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Saturday, January 7, 2012

When God Comes Calling...

I was supposed to blog a minute ago, but in the midst of all the drama, I just didn't have the energy.
So now, as I sit and wait, would be a good time to get something down "on paper" as it were.

So, if you know me, you know that my mom was diagnosed with cancer a while ago (fPLUG -> peruse my post "Words that Start With C"). My mom pretty much two-stepped her way through chemotherapy, radiation, explorative surgery, and the Cyberknife (sounds scary just the brand name for a new kind of pinpoint radiation). Mommy was working part-time, going to seminary part-time, singing in 3 choirs, etc.... Just busy! Now you know where I get it from ;-)
But things actually got a little funky this past August. I didn't pay as much attention as I should have. Mommy kept talking about having problems with her nutrition... What she didn't say is that her appetite was waning and food wasn't tasting the same. They increased her diabetes meds but that messed with her tummy so she started avoiding certain foods. I did notice that she had less energy and seemed to get tired easily. But she was going to the dr and I entrusted them to figure out what was wrong... IF I have a regret, it is this...
Fast forward to Thanksgiving, when I realize I have a very thin mom who isn't eating much. I mean, I have made the trip to VA more times than I can count and each time, my mom has eaten before the trip, during the trip, when we got there and on the way back. Heck, when she was diagnosed with diabetes, it gave her an excuse to walk around with a snack bag LOL. My mom has always been a slender woman, she might have been plus sized in the 90s, but she just has always enjoyed eating. I say all that to say that my wake up call happened on that day. On the way down, mommy ate an apple... for Thanksgiving dinner she ate a cornish hen drumstick, a spoonful of greens, a spoonful of macncheese, and a half a slice of sweet potato pie =-O. I also noted how bony her arms and legs had become and driving back to Pittsburgh that night, the alarm bells clanged in my head. Mommy said that when she chewed food, she felt like she was 2. I didn't have a clue what that meant but I knew it was worth paying attention to.

So needless to say, things got dramatic after that. The very next am, mommy had severe chills but no fever. I get these sometimes and I think it has something to do with my digestion, and that was my theory for her, that she had developed IBS in the midst of these stomach issues so my game plan was to take her to the doc on Monday am... we never made it there. Saturday I get up with the mission on my mind - Operation Feed Mommy. I went to the store and got her anything and everything that was soft and/or easy to prepare. I come home and find that mommy looks dehydrated, is feverish, and is talking a little weird!
*pause* My college and grad school educated, former English teacher, published poet, exegesis-writing Mother is not talking 100% comprehensible. Maybe every 7th word was odd. THAT'S IT! WE'RE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL NOW! I'll never forget how she said "We are??"
And that was the last day Mommy was home.
now at this part we're just going to summarize...
ER, severe dehydration, blood cultures, septicemia (as much as I watch House, how did I not see that?!), bloody stools, ICU, tumor is bigger, the cure could kill her so let's do comfort care (hospice), IV antibiotics, IV fluids, major edema, "I came in here skinny and come out a fat woman", discharge to nursing home to finish meds, gather aging resources so she is not home by herself all the time, mommy starts PT and is moving with walker, vomiting of blood, return to hospital, bleeding ulcers, sister "surprise visit", attempt to cauterize ulcers abandoned bc an ulcer has perforated her duodenum, sister frantically calls me at work, ventilator, NG tube, charades with mommy lol, too sick to be transported to hospice, she has hours/days to live, rush niece and great niece here on bus, tubes removed so mommy can talk, mommy rebounds!, now she's too well for hospice!, house is too far away so we stay across the street at Family House, Christmas for great niece!,more bloody stools, ok hospice maybe, we do shifts so mommy is never alone, severe cough develops in ICU, condition H, med mixups, incompetent staff, patient relations, finally transport to Center for Compassionate Care, sigh of relief, finally COMFORT!, sister and I make pre arrangements just in case!, NYE at church then leave early to countdown with mommy, Mommy's "hey where the party at?" LOL, sister, niece and great niece go back to Virginia on New Years Day.
And that's about where we were when I started this danged post on Jan 7.

Its now Jan 24 and I finish this as we continue to prep for mommy's funeral. Mommy had some wonderful days at the CCC, but she was ready to get back to her life. She wanted to be able to start PT again so she could be catheter or bedpan free. She wanted to finish her paper that was due on Christian Education. She wanted to get back to church and life as she knew it.
But God said He wanted her home. On 1-16, the day before she was supposed to be discharged to a nursing home, she began to withdraw from the world.  By 1-17, she was not responsive at all. She was in a deep sleep. Called my sister and stayed by mommy's side. I grieved a lot then. Sis came in town on 1-18 and we grieved together. Decided to take a break and told mommy it was ok for her to go before I got back. I drove across town and had pie with my besties. Mommy did exactly as I wished and stopped breathing at 10:41 pm. Sister and I prayed together at her side and mommy smiled! It was truly well with her soul!

So grateful that despite all those horrible symptoms, she was symptom-free when God came calling her name. She was at peace and that peace washed over me.

Trying my hardest to hold on to that peace, but that's another post for another time!

My love to everyone who prayed for me in these last 9 weeks or so!

Mommy's Girl

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post are doing our Lord very proud with your trust in Him through all of this. Love you!