April passed in a blur and I only made one blog entry. I had good intentions. First, I was going to write about the tree sperm that descends in a yellow dust storm every spring. I had just discovered that it has health benefits and wanted to share this knowledge (as my nose ran and eyes teared). But then I got too busy with my mom’s trip to NY to celebrate her 90th birthday. I am her primary care-giver and nothing is easy at her age. I was happy to help. She had a wonderful time at her party.
Next, I wanted to elaborate on a recent Facebook post and write about the challenges that working at home poses for an extrovert like me. Judging by the FB comments, there are valid (and comical) opinions both sides. But, this fell in priority when she became ill; coordinating her health care and our return flight was all-consuming. Just when I thought life might return to normal, she went into respiratory failure and was rushed to the hospital.
For several hours, my brother and I stood at her side holding her hands as she struggled to breathe. She wore an oxygen mask, looking like a fighter pilot (albeit, an old one in a fright wig) while we hung on her every breath, watching digital numbers, lines, and hieroglyphics on the monitors. We were thankful for something to distract us, grateful for any sign of life and activity.
She survived flash pulmonary edema. At 90. Even her doctors were surprised. Of course, complete recovery will take a while. Nothing is easy at her age. She is now in a short-term rehabilitation center where, so far, she has not rehabilitated very much. I visit every day — to keep her company, bring her favorite foods, understand what care she is supposed to get and ensure she is getting it — driving 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back. I meet with the staff, confer with the nurses, handle the paperwork…and then return home to do her laundry and answer all the phone calls from caring family and friends.
In April, blogging was not important. Not even sure about May.
It sounds like such a rollercoaster. And so exhausting physically and emotionally. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Thanks, Kelley. It’s difficult but not impossible, sad but not tragic. As my colleague would say, “I am doing the needful” 🙂
The family can not say enough thank yous for all you do. It gives us Tucsonans great comfort knowing you are with her and there is no one who could take better care of her. Xoxo
I’ve been there. It’s a huge task, incredible needful and important, but very difficult. Let me know if I can help in any way, if just being a sympathetic listener who understands the context all too well.
Thank you for the offer. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. When things settle down, we should make some time to catch up on aging parents..plus work and hobbies.