Saturday, June 9, 2012

Up and Down

Beautiful flowers in Mom's room (thanks Bruce, Bern, Rachel & Simon)

I only have time for the quickest of updates tonight; barely a post, more of a postette, postella, postellini. Because I am completely knackered. (For my readers who are not anglo-australo-philes that means totally worn out, tired, broken.)

In fact, I'm pretty much going to recap my Facebook status updates because that about says it all:

When I arrived:

"Mom is having another really hard day. One minute she is admiring the smile of the nurse who has come to take her blood and the next she is sobbing and screaming at me to just let her die, it hurts to much to live and she just wants to be done.

After this, and before going home to children who will be all over me because I've been gone all day? I think I need a drink."

Then, later:

Mom was in better space & spirits by the time I left. I still do not understand how no one figured out her severe discomfort was caused by gas and that she needed a very simple anti-gas medicine (simethicone) to feel like a human being. I should NOT have to have been the one to suggest it!

And in the middle? (Warning, what follows is a bit of a rant. Cursing involved. Because it was one of THOSE days.)

A lot of begging my mother to eat and drink, followed by her taking one mouthful of yogurt, one sip of seltzer, and then holding up her hand, cursing at me when I try to force more.

A lot of running to the nurse. They are growing to dread me at the hospital rehab nursing station, and that's a good thing. Because I MAKE them fucking take proper CARE of my mother, which they are somehow loathe to do.

I tell the nurse my mother in in excruciating pain and she blinks at me blankly "Really, she didn't say anything to me."

REALLY? REALLY? Are you fucking kidding me?

She didn't "say" anything because she is so out of it. The pain has reduced her to the state of an animal, holding her abdomen and moaning about how she is terrified she is dying.

But if you ask her point blank, she will say she's not in pain, that she's just uncomfortable. Because she's so polite and all. Also, at this moment, mentally compromised enough to NOT be a reliable reporter - as I have told the staff a BAJILLION times.

At one point, she turned to me and asked, "They are giving me so many medicines already isn't there SOMETHING they can give me that will take me out of this misery?" And I thought "Damn straight there should be something!" and ran off to the nurse to make sure they'd been giving her simethicone for what was, so clearly obviously to me, severe gas pain.


No one noticed, and she didn't request it. I actually may have gotten a little mouthy at that point and said something about how when my babies were gassy and screaming in pain it didn't take a medical degree for me to figure out they needed simethicone drops. And how I didn't feel the need to wait for them to "ask" either.

And a dose of simethicone and a couple of trips to the bathroom and bedpans later (no gory details I promise, even though I got to live them, you won't have to) and she was back in her mind, able to converse, aware of the world outside her body.

So I arrived to a mother who would not eat a bite of her lunch and who responded to my entreaties by pounding on the bed and yelling "Yes, yes, I want to die, I am ready to die, just get this OVER with, I can't take any more!"

And I left a mother who was actually eating dinner, slowly making her way through the fruit salad and asparagus, the first solid things she had taken in, in days.  And a mother who was holding my hand and thanking me for being there.

And it was so hard to leave her, not knowing how she would fare in the night. But my children across town needed me too.

And I don't know who I am going to find in the morning, the pain animal or my rational mother. Hoping for my sweet mother, but willing to do whatever it takes to get her back, in any case.


  1. I'm so sorry. Sometimes I wonder if common sense gets left at the door in the case of certain nurses. I know many amazing nurses, but the ones who are oblivious, uncaring, or totally overworked can miss the obvious - like someone whose gas pain could be relieved by a simple, harmless med. There is NO way your mother should be in such pain for so long. Good for you for being a PITA to the nurses who weren't paying attention. And, I know you appreciate the nurses who HAVE given your mother good care. I hope your mother feels better and is in a good frame of mind when you see her next. . . .

  2. You're mother was one heck of a mother to earn this devotion from a daughter.

    What a testament YOU are to HER.

  3. Stay strong Varda. I have no words about hospital staff & professionals who forget & don't realize. My mom was in ICU for most of the summer a few years back and almost died when they gave her meds she was allergic to, despite the bracelet on her wrist. We were able to have her transferred to a hospital where she got better care, thank G-d. I too went back & forth between my Mom & 4 kids (8 & under) who were home with my cousin (G-d bless her). Try to take a walk, do something for yourself...for 20 minutes or an hour, even if it seems impossible. I don't know your Mom but something tells me she might say the same thing in her 'usual'state.
    I continue to keep her in my prayers

  4. I wish care were better than it is. I am always afraid to leave my loved ones alone in the hospital, too.

    I hope you found her doing better today.


  5. You are an amazing advocate for her. I'm bringing you lattes in my thoughts.


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!