Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary, 38 years, October 2, 2009


Tonight is my parent's 38th wedding anniversary. They went out for dinner, Italian food. My mom is feeling down and didn't have anything for the blog.

Her words to me last night were spoken quietly, accompanied by an insecure laugh, "What do you think I just sit around all day coming up with ideas?" I guess I had kind of thought she might. And I could tell she looked forward to feeling better and working with me again.

The following is one of my favorite love stories, from the day before my parent's 37th anniversary, October 1, 2008.

Last year, my mom almost died of pneumonia. Her stay in the hospital with late stage MS was incredibly stressful on her and my dad and the hospital staff.

What few people realize, myself included until this experience, is that when you are in the hospital, in order to receive the care needed, you must be able to communicate your needs with the staff. I knew based on a near death experience with my pop in the hospital, that having an advocate could be the difference between life and death. But I couldn't have imagined how ill equipped hospitals were to deal with patients with memory and independence complications.

While in the hospital, my mom was unable to lift her head. And due to over 40 years with MS she was in this situation with short term memory loss, and some dementia. So, she would forget little things like how to work the TV, and big things, like how to ring the nurse.

She would tell the dietician she had a test scheduled and that she wasn't supposed to get dinner. The dietician would take her on her word, my mom is quite convincing, and cancel her meal. But there wasn't a test.

We would stay with my mom at the hospital all day until we had to leave at 8 o'clock when visiting hours were over. After leaving, we would get calls from my mom panicking that she couldn't get a nurse. We would try to walk her through how to find the button, but often the button was moved. Sometimes someone would move even her phone and cut off the only thing she could remember, her home phone number. I had flewn in from Texas and nothing was as stressful as leaving her in the hospital for the nights alone.

When she couldn't stay in the hospital any longer, they discharged her to a nursing home. They took her there by ambulance and my dad met her there. My sister had researched the best nursing home, called ahead to get her therapy with a family friend in that nursing home. I was back in Texas.

Here is a piece of the call I got from my sister on October 1, 2008, one day before their 37th anniversary.

"YOUR father took her home! They called the police! He won't be able to take care of her. She hasn't been able to even lift her head for 3 weeks, she still has her cath in!"

I phone home.

"Hi, Dad."

"Well I don't know if it was the right thing to do, but I took your mom home. The nursing home was too hot, and she doesn't do well in the heat, and we waited for 2 hours and no one greeted us, and your mother didn't want to stay there. I wheeled her outside to get her some cool air. And I realized as I was standing there that she hadn't seen the new roof, that they put on while she was in the hospital, so I asked her,

'Want to go see the new roof?'

2 comments:

jacqui boyd said...

good for your Dad!

Kat said...

thank you for sharing that wonderful heart moving story