I am watching my beautiful Mother as she loses her battle with emphysema. She has fought the galant fight for many years. She even kicked breast cancer’s ass. Twice! On oxygen! The second operation, she wasn’t allowed to be put under because of her lungs. So she endured the procedure wide awake and even though she felt no serious pain, did feel the doctors digging around in there.
I am watching as the body that carries her mind and her soul shuts down. I want to tell you that I am doing ok. But truth be told, I’m not. And I haven’t let it go yet. Not yet. I hope that I can sharpen the backbone that she has now passed to me and fuse it to my own. I have to have the strength that she needs to see, to help her through this transistion.
Finally the ambulance pulled up to Mom’s house. We’d been waiting for an hour now. I went out and peered into the back window and there she was… waving and smiling. When they opened the door, in a weak little yelp I heard, “I’m home!!” I had to laugh! 30 minutes later and she is settled in, in her new surroundings. Taking it all in… you could see in her eyes… she still has the fire… not liking the change at all. The 3 of us hovering around, probably bugging the crap out of her, asking her this or that, trying to disguise that we are just as miserable about this as she is.
Within an hour she is out of the bed, walking herself (with a walker and a very slow gait) to the bathroom. Next she rests a bit and walks herself to the kitchen. Under protest, she is determined to do it herself! She makes it halfway to her chair in her living room, takes a 15 minute rest in the chair there. She lifts her carcass up and makes the last half of the walk. Took her another 15 minutes to collect herself enough to eat.
Not really saying much, sitting there in her chair all evening watching her offspring chattering away. Can’t imagine what she was thinking. After my brother went home and my sister went to bed, now it was just us. I asked how she was doing. Nodding her head okay… I’m okay. I began giving her the business for doing too much. First day home… after almost 10 days spent in a bed without much movement. Mom! You’re no spring chicken! Nodding her head some more, just like a scolded child! I know! I know, she says. I just blurted it out. “Mom I know this must be hard on you, but you have let us help you!! I know you’re scared. And I know that you know that WE are scared too!! But you have to count on us!” More nodding. Ugh.. the exasperation! We sat in silence awhile. I asked her if she needed anything, as I was going to bed. “yes, will you help me to bed?”
She spent the entire next day in the bed. She knew she over did it. All that time spent in the hospital… just waiting for the moment she could get home and do things for herself. And she did her absolute best to do that. But the reality of her situation has really set in now. She looked worn out but her eyes were different. Something I hadn’t seen before. I am really worried.
She went through the day in pretty good spirits, with a few spurts of laughter, and she ate good. But she just layed there. Not doing anything at all. Letting us hover and dote on her.
Who is this harder for I wonder, her… or us?