PART 2: I remember….
Note: I’ve started writing about my Mom’s last two weeks by my side. Not sure if I’ll continue, and if so, into much detail….really listening from within to answer those questions.
I remember taking my Mom to urgent care on a Friday at noon. We valet parked the car and I requested a wheelchair. The valet was a much-needed help as it took two of us to lift her into the wheelchair.
I remember being convinced Mom had pneumonia, which brought me relief knowing we had walked this road a before. I brought her overnight bag filled with her patterned robe, reading glasses and Bible, expecting 48 hours of antibiotics and she’d be home Sunday morning.
I remember trying to get her to eat an M&M cookie from Au Bon Pan. She slowly broke a little piece off and held it in her hand, as if a toddler, waiting for me to turn my head so she could hide it in a napkin.
I remember wearing my buffalo checked navy/white button down, navy puffy vest and skinny jeans. I took a silly photo of myself and texted it to my husband to show our girls….my way of saying hello.
I remember using my “don’t mess with me” voice to the urgent care doctor, who wanted to release Mom without running blood or urine tests. He saw no fever, no pain, and believed her instability was a sign of her aging.
I remember the grimace on her face when we finally were able to see a phlebotomists. Her veins were overpricked and her skin fragile.
I remember having to hold her arm as we did her urine test together. Both of us in a state of laughter trying to hold the cup steady. Laughter always makes uncomfortable situations better, she taught me.
I remember she was finally admitting overnight for some fluids, diagnosis unknown. They wheeled us to the 6th floor, where we were surprised to see she had roommate.
I remember using that same “don’t mess with me” voice to the nurse, insisting that at age 72, she needed a single room. Calls where made, plans in action. We had to wait.
I remember seeing 7:33pm on the clock and thinking my daughters would be going to bed soon, and I should call for their bedtime notes. The first of many bedtimes I would miss in the days to come.
I remember hearing a doctor telling Mom’s roommate that her liver was failing due to excessive alcohol use. I was curious, was she young? old?
I remember needing to use the bathroom, forcing me to walk past this roommate and catch a visual. Her face withdrawn, her stomach bloated to reflect a 6 month pregnant woman. Young, she was young.
I remember wanting to reach out and offer the roommmate the gift of friendship, especially after she said there was no one to call, other than a boyfriend who would most likely not come to her.
I remember doing nothing, reminding myself to focus on Mom. Other people’s problems needed to stay with other people.
I remember being disappointed in myself. This was not how I was raised.
I remember finally moving Mom to a single bedroom, writing all of our family cell phones on the whiteboard, and taping a picture that Youngest had drawn, which happen to be in my handbag. The picture was of a unicorn, but could easily been mistaken for a goat, a camel or a big dog.
I remember leaving the hospital after 11pm. Eleven hours of advocating, entertaining, feeding, massaging, comforting, questioning, nodding off.
I remember the phone call, the one that changed the trajectory of my life. The one that said her lymphoma, after a 6 year hiatus, was back.