Whatever I was whining to myself about came to a screeching halt on Friday morning, when I got the call that my mother had taken a bad fall and was on her way to the ER. That sweeps everything stark.
What is important... what is stupid piddly shit... made instantly clear.
Children don't have this perspective yet. Jacob has been clingy, Ethan morose, petulant; they want their mom.
So do I.
Here's the update I don't want to give:
It's touch and go right now. She is in the ICU. A machine is breathing for her. Her blood pressure is being supported by drugs. She is surrounded by machines, tubes, equipment. A thousand IVs hang around her. Lines snake themselves all over her body. Monitors beep and hum. The thrum and hiss of the ventilator sets the bass beat.
The unquiet quiet of an ICU.
I made a difficult decision on Friday to take the risk and do something (surgery) that may just be the road to killing her quickly, versus doing nothing and walking the path of certainly killing her slowly.
To not have had the surgery, to choose the "do nothing" approach would have meant a month - or two or three - on complete bed rest. And bed rest plus an elderly person such as my mother - with cognitive/memory issues and a bum heart - usually equals an excruciating, permanent slide into the abyss.
And yet, whatever the immediate outcome, the long term is still not good. I have been losing her bit by bit for quite a number of years now, hastened much by my father's death. (Can it really have been two years and counting?)
The incline of her decline has steepened in the past few months. I really have felt like I'm watching the color fade from her spirit, before my very eyes.
And yet now that feels glacial slow compared to what has transpired in the last three days.
In one word:
The hip repair surgery went well, but...
(Like that old joke, "The operation was a success, but unfortunately the patient...")
She was not a good candidate for surgery.
Her old, huge, much used heart is tired and worn out.
The valves don't work like they should, like they used to (though one has been tricky since the beginning: she, a little girl with a heart murmur).
So even though they took a zillion extra precautions. Were oh so careful to try to not unduly stress her heart during the surgery. It's still surgery. Things had to happen. Things her heart did not like.
The surgery went well. She could stand on that leg (if she could wake up and stand).
But her heart needs the help now.
The machines. The slow drip of the IVs.
And so she slumbers deep below the level of consciousness; sedated, kept under to avoid the unbearable discomforts her body is enduring in its struggle to remain alive.
And yet still, she is there, some small part of her. The spark of her life flickering but not guttered.
I sit by her side (until they toss me out for the night).
I cannot touch her skin; she winces, grimaces at even the gentlest caress.
So I stroke her hair, smooth it down; fan it out on the pillow, fingertips following the ripples of her silver curls out to the ends.
I whisper in her ear. Words of love. Of encouragement.
Is it cruel that I ask her to hang in there for yet one more day, that I am not willing to let go?
I will accept what comes.
She may fight and rise.
She may release, and fall.
But not yet. Please, not yet.
I want my mommy.