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Category Archives: thankfulness

And still I grieve

It has the power to bring me down.

The day this is posting is the day we had to let Sweet Pea go three years ago. I’m writing it six days in advance, for no other reason than the fact that today, it took me down. In an unexpected way.

I have a lot of random pictures of SP on my computer. I’ve been through them, time and again. It has made me miss her, and in some cases reminded me how much I love her and how much joy she brought to my life. Sometimes it makes me sad. I don’t look at the pictures a lot, but I do have pictures of her up around the house, mostly in frames. I still have one polaroid on my nightstand that has been with me since we moved out of our last house. I dust it off and look at it occasionally, but mostly it makes me feel better to have it there. So there it stays, on the corner of the nightstand, just sitting.

My parents have put in a bathroom in their basement with a raised tub so we can bathe all the dogs easily. She decided to make the bathroom doggy-themed, which will include pictures of all our dogs, from the first to the most recent. So today I was printing out pictures of the dogs to put in frames to hang on the bathroom walls. I put together all the other dogs, but could not decide which of SP’s to use. I asked Hub if he had any other pictures of SP on his computer to look through. He said yes, so I asked him to go through them and pick out the ones he liked. He went and copied everything he had onto a thumb drive and brought it to me, but I asked HIM to look through them first. He claimed he was busy and left the thumb drive on my laptop. For about half an hour I avoided it, then I finally plugged it in. Within minutes of seeing what was on the drive, I started crying. I told him I couldn’t look through them and I furiously started crocheting while tears just ran down my face. Hub got upset that I was upset and said he should have just looked at the pictures and he was sorry. I told him it was my decision to look, but I couldn’t, now that I knew what was on there. It was mostly pictures of SP at the end. When she was already showing signs of pain and distress. When she was already looking at us to relieve her of her pain. She looked old and bloated and sad. It was bad. Hub looked through them, but said he found nothing to use, so I asked him to go through what was on my PC to see if he could pick one he liked. I watched him go through the pictures and realized how hard it was for him. I told him I would find something, but he said he would do it. He picked out two pictures to choose from, then disappeared. I was only able to call out a “thank you” before he basically ran off.

I tried to explain to someone that when you’ve lost someone close to you, you are never the same. You only learn to live this new normal. You learn to live with the gigantic hole in your heart. It never heals, it never gets filled up again, your body just learns to adjust to it. I think sometimes it’s the mind and soul that refuses to adjust. Today my mind and soul are refusing to allow me to adjust. And I just want to cry with the pain.

SweetPea

Miss you so much, Bubba-girl. We both do. We’re so thankful to have had you in our lives for so many years. We’ll love you forever and then some.

 

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Flashback a la pants

I know, I know. It’ll make sense in a minute.

When I was a teenager–a fat, short teenager–I got a job. I was fourteen years old and the law in our state was that you had to be fifteen to get a job, unless you got a special permit. I got the permit to get a job. I was a mousy child, never really interested in being away from my mother and always a goody-two-shoes. Until I hit about 12 1/2 years old. Then I must have gotten bored with school or something, because I turned into a real brat. I skipped classes, I skipped school, I made a pest of myself, I drove my parents crazy. At fourteen, I wanted a job really really badly. I got my permit and I got a job. In an ice cream shop (Baskin Robbins, to name names). I was so freaking responsible, that by the time I was there for two months, I was opening the store alone in the mornings. I rocked. But I digress (and it won’t be the last time I digress). Also, let me tell you that BR cheated you (I don’t know if they still do this) because your ice cream scoops were hollow. I had to train to make scoops based on weight. That’s how the sizes changed back in the day…by weight. As a fat kid, I hated that idea, and so after my training, I cheated often. I scooped REAL scoops for my customers, except when the boss was watching (sorry for screwing up your profits, boss!). So hey, when you go for ice cream, make sure you get waited on by the fat kid, because they’re going to give you REAL scoops, and they’re going to make sure your ice cream gets REALLY covered by hot fudge…not that splat splat splotchy fudge treatment that they got trained on. Oops, digressed again. Just remember, fat kids are awesome.

I applied for the job and I got the job. But the job had requirements, one of which was a “uniform”. I had to wear a golf shirt with the BR logo on it (which I think I had to buy and I had TWO so I could wash one while I was wearing the other as I worked almost every day after school and after one day of working I always had ice cream spilled on my shirt) and a pair of chocolate brown pants. Did I mention I was a short, fat teenager? I mostly shopping in the women’s departments at Sears, Kmart, JC Penny, and another cheap store I can’t remember the name of that is long gone. I also bought clothes from stores like DRESS BARN. I was fourteen. It sucked. So, the brown pants? Unfindable in my size and shape in the specified color. So my mom and I went shopping for material at a fabric store. Also, did I mention we were poor? Yeah, poor. Not like middle-class poor (which isn’t really poor), but like, poor. So we had to find material that was on sale because I needed a lot of material for one pair of pants. And thus became my traumatic childhood experience with polyester. The pants were made of 100% polyester, which did not breathe. And even in the well air conditioned ice cream shop, I sweated and I had chub rub. My mom sewed me the pants, which were baggy and had a thin, weird elastic waistband because that’s the only way to get them to fit me. I loved working at the ice cream shop because it was always cold in there, and as a fat kid I longed to avoid sweating as much as possible. During the summer when we were busy and the doors opened and closed all day, letting in the humidity, I took breaks in the big walk-in freezer in the back room. I pretended to go look for ice cream or check supplies. It was fantastic in there. Oh, I digress…again.

So, ya’ll know about my crocheting hats with my mom for chemo patients…well, anyone with a medical condition that leaves them without hair. Really, the point behind me crocheting was making sure my mother had hats to wear. I know she thinks I’m doing it to give the hats away, but REALLY I’m doing it to make sure she has comfortable hats to wear. I even bought a skein of yarn that she looked at (3 times) but didn’t buy because I knew she loved it but thought it was frivolous. I went back to the store and bought the yarn without telling her, then quietly made the hat. I then took it to her and to my delight she has been wearing it every single damn day. I made it to fit her specifically, to the diameter and length she wanted. The hat is gray and sparkly, so she asked me to make another one with white sparkly yarn, so she had a second hat when she wanted to hand wash and dry the first hat. So I’ve been working on that, but for some weird reason the yarn feels different, even though it’s the same yarn. But in between those two hats, I’ve been trying to find a yarn that is light and airy, because she says most of the hats make her feel hot. So I found a thin, soft yarn, and I worked it to her specifications for sleeping. It’s just a cap, really, that barely comes down to her ears, sits close to her head, and doesn’t shift around. We fitted it several times before I finished it, and last night she told me she slept in it and it was PERFECT. The previous hat she was using to sleep in, that she got at the wig appointment, is a slouchy kind of hat that shifted around and ended up sliding down her face. So she’d wake up with her eyes and nose covered, and she was unhappy. So now she’s sleeping in the second hat, while still wearing the first gray hat every day. I’m so thankful to be able to help her in this way.

As a child I needed her to make those pants for me (and she made other clothing as well) because I couldn’t find what fit me properly in the stores. She was a whiz with the sewing machine. If I sat down at the sewing machine I could make a mean pillowcase. Or a tote bag. They’d probably both be crooked, but I could do it. Now, I’m crocheting her caps that fit to her specifications. What she wants exactly. And it’s so much flashback to my youth and those ugly, horrible, polyester pants.

 

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A stitch in time

My mom crochets. My grandmother used to crochet (and knit). I, in fact, still have lots of Barbie doll clothing that my grandmother knitted and crocheted for me. I have other pieces that my mother sewed for me. They are in a weird, flowered suitcase straight out of the 70s. The suitcase used to live in my guest room so that I could make sure nothing ever happened to it. Here in this house, the suitcase is in the basement, but on the top of a bookshelf where it can’t be touched by any flood water (our old house had a basement flood once). Those items are very important to me, even though they haven’t been used since my childhood.

My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet. The best I ever did was just as square, because I would get lost or frustrated and give up. I never learned to knit. My grandmother figured if I couldn’t crochet, knitting was out of the question. Years and years later, I discovered a knitting board, which I purchased and became obsessed with for a brief period of time. I made hats and scarves for lots of people, some with fancy fun yarn, some with some cool patterns. Then I started having more muscle issues, and I realized that using the knitting board was bad for my posture the way I was using it. I had to look down, it hurt my neck. I had to hunch over my lap, it hurt my shoulders and back. And the constant stress on my fingers and hands made them hurt. I ended up giving it up because although it was relaxing to do, it made me hurt a lot. I have two different size knitting boards, one is about 18″ wide, the other is 28″ wide. Both of them have half-started projects on them that have been sitting idle for years. I miss it, but every time I try to pick it up, I end up in pain again and I put it away. I took the smaller knitting board with me to the hospital during my mother’s surgery, but I literally used it for less than half an hour total, and even then it was in fits and spurts just to keep my hands busy. Then I put it away again.

My mom was crocheting lots of premie hats with leftover yarn she had. She made them and donated them repeatedly to different hospitals. She had to have made more than a hundred of them over a couple of years. Then she stopped, I think because she was busy with other things and I kind of think her hands started getting somewhat arthritic. But I know she misses it, and I know it helps her relax. And I know she has more time on her hands these days than she used to. I encouraged her to pick it up again and do something small. When we went to her wig appointment, they indicated that a lot of the chemo caps they have are donated because they have clients who can’t afford hats, so they offer the donated hats to those clients. And there was conversation about Mom’s crocheting and the premie hats, and how maybe she should do some chemo caps.

The opportunity to do something, to take herself outside of her own head was good. Mom went to the internet to look for patterns and realized that you basically can do any hat. So she worked some stitches and made a couple of hats. And then I invited her to go to the yarn shop that is about ten minutes away. So off we went on Saturday to shop for some fun yarn. It was so lovely to be in the moment with her, to touch the yarns and discuss the colors. To laugh and talk about what would work and what was pretty and what was soft. We bought four different skeins of yarn, two for her and two for me. And today, I went over to her house and sat at her kitchen table and she tried to teach me to crochet again.

And while she worked on one hat and I worked on the mess I have that may or may not ever be a hat, we talked. We talked about nothing and lots of things. My niece’s upcoming wedding, my brother and his wife, my other brother, my parents’ basement remodel-in-progress. The dogs. The birds. The yard. Her appointments. A drug trial. The yarn. My horrible crochet stitches. My grandmother. My husband. Her husband. Food. Drinks. Stuff. There was no music, no television, only the ticking of the clock over her doorway and our voices (and occasionally my cursing as I struggled with the stitches and her laughter at me).

Time. I know I want more of it. Don’t we always? But at least in these moments, I have them. And I will always have the memory of them, knowing I spent my time in the right way. Not worrying about her treatment or what might be, but being there with her and enjoying the time spent together.

I’m grateful and thankful for this time. And for the friendship I have with my mom.

PS: It will never be a hat. But it makes a lovely doily…if I ever needed one of those (and in this particular color palette). ‘Tis a fine doily, English, but ’tis no hat.

See all the purdy ruffles?

See all the purdy ruffles?

(thanks to Hub for his lovely modeling job)

(thanks to Hub for his lovely modeling job)

 

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Wiggin’ out

I haven’t posted in, like, a week. I don’t know, I’ve just felt burnt out, I guess. Anyway, my problem not yours!

This afternoon, Mom and I are heading out to look at wigs for her. We are expecting her to start chemo in a couple of weeks, and I wanted her to go talk to someone about a wig while she still had her own hair. I was hoping that would help us find something that looks natural on her, both color and style-wise, if the person helping us could see what her natural hair looked like. So I called a local place that specializes in cancer patients and made an appointment. The woman I spoke to was very nice, so off we go this afternoon.

My mom is not particularly vain, but she did tell me recently to make sure I let her know if she looks haggard or sick, or if she needs to fix her makeup. It’s not vanity that is pushing this, it’s that she doesn’t want people to walk up to her and say, “Awww, are you sick?” or “You look so sick!” or “I’m SOOOOO sorry to hear…” She just wants people to treat her like she’s a normal human being…and I totally get it. It’s one of the things I worried about when I decided whether or not to tell people I’d been through some severe depression and was dealing with anxiety issues. I didn’t want that to be who I was. It was all something I had or dealt with, but it wasn’t (and isn’t) who I was. She’s feeling the same way, so I’m doing what I can to support that.

To that end, we have been hitting lots of appointments last week and this week (and next week!) to get her in line to start her chemo. They want consultation appointments, second opinions, trial evaluations, CTs, MRIs, bone scans…and now the wig appointment. This week we’ve had appointments every single day except for Monday. For a woman who didn’t see a doctor for 42 years, she’s feeling very overwhelmed and like she’s on a merry-go-round. I keep trying to remind her that once this part is over, chemo is only once every three weeks…not multiple appointments in a week. Anyway, so we were getting out of the car for one of her appointments and as we rounded the back of the car I grabbed her by the arm and stopped her. When she turned to look at me, I looked her over and said, “Nope, you don’t look like a haggard old lady!” and then I let her go. She hit me, then laughed and thanked me. But I promised her and I will keep that promise, even if I do have to tell her she looks sick and/or needs to fix her makeup. It always bothered me that my grandmother (in her very old age) wore all the wrong color foundation, had crooked weird eyebrows penciled on in the wrong color, and wore lipstick that didn’t look good on her. But I never said anything because I didn’t want to upset her. My mom has asked for it, and I’ll be truthful with her.

Just like I’ll be truthful this afternoon at our wig-testing. I want her to be comfortable in whatever she decides to do, and that means she’ll want the truth about whatever it is. Of course, I wont say “oh you look terrible in that blonde wig!” (she has very dark hair), I’ll just tell her it isn’t right for her. Also, she’s got kind of olive skin tone, so blonde really WOULD look wrong on her.

We checked with her oncologist about getting a prescription for the “cranial prosthesis” and he said he would get it for her. We talked about other options for her, like nutritionist and massage therapy and things like that…none of which she wants, but it’s good to know the options are there for her. However, what they did not talk about was mental health assistance. How do they discuss chemo and cancer and supportive therapies without talking about mental health support? I was kind of appalled at the time. So was T when I told her. The good news is, my mom has LOTS of familial support, so she won’t ever have to worry about someone being available for whatever she needs. But when things move along, I will remind her that if she wants it, her insurance covers mental health support as well.

Anyone ever go trying on funny hats with their Mom or daughter or sister for fun? I hope it’s going to be like that today…laughs and light-heartedness. As much as it is difficult to have all these appointments and difficult things to do, I’m thankful that my mom is still here with me to do them. For as long as she fights–and she’s a strong woman so I’m hopeful it will be a good fight–it means I have that time with her.

Also, my mom in a blonde wig? Priceless.

 

 

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Post-surgery update

Good news is that Mom made it through her surgery and is doing well. The surgery seemed to take forever and I think we were going a little crazy in the waiting room, but that’s all over now. When the surgeon finally came out to say everything went well, I listened and asked questions, then when he left I got teary-eyed. And my family (my aunt and uncle, anyway) got all nervous. I just told them I was relieved and that was how I responded, and that I was okay. I turned away and started making phone calls and sending emails. But jeez, why am I not allowed to have a response? Why am I not allowed to have emotions? I made my reports to family and friends, then went to find some lunch in the hospital cafeteria. Unfortunately, they had closed after breakfast to prepare for lunch and since I didn’t see a schedule, I bought some canned tuna salad and potato chips from the vending machine. By the time I had wolfed it down (I hadn’t eaten all morning and was up for 4am)–like ten minutes later–the cafeteria doors opened and people rushed in. But I didn’t want to eat anything else, so I went back to the waiting room to be with my family.

We finally got to see Mom in her room at about 1pm. It’s hard to see your mother lying in a hospital bed. She was clearly still coming out of the anesthesia, shaking and shivering, but she said she wasn’t in any pain, so that was good. My father did okay, but he couldn’t even concentrate enough to read–which is his default mode–or doze. He mostly sat and stared, or we chatted about nothing. Or he went outside and smoked his pipe.

So we hung out for a while with Mom to make sure she was okay. She was on a morphine drip and seemed drowsy and loopy. No surprise, right? I tried to keep talking to her so she didn’t have to talk too much (her throat was sore from the breathing tube and her mouth was dry), and so did my brother and SIL. Slowly, everyone left, but my oldest brother and I stayed so my dad could get some food since he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. When he came back, my brother and I left, hoping that Mom would sleep for a while. After an early dinner, Hub and I went back to the hospital to see Mom and give Dad another break. We stayed for about two hours or so…long enough to distract Mom (Hub is good at that) and let Dad relax for a while.

By the time we got home, I was WIPED. I pretty much stumbled in the house, let the dogs out, then went upstairs to shower. By the time Hub came upstairs at just after 10pm, I was in bed and almost couldn’t keep my eye open. Hub tells me that five minutes after the lights went off, I was asleep. I didn’t wake up once in the night, where normally I’d be up at least once or twice to pee…and more often to turn over in bed. It was tough for me physically all day because my back has been bothering me from some stuff in PT, but I was able to handle it. I’m still in pain today, but it’s still a point that I can handle…I hope I’m not making things worse for myself for the weekend, though, as I want to be able to help when Mom comes home from the hospital.

This morning my father called early to let me know the doctors had been in and were pleased with Mom’s progress. Since then I’ve talked to both of them and heard that she’s had breakfast AND already walked the whole corridor with a nurse. I told you my mother was a strong lady! I’ll be heading back down after lunch sometime to spend the afternoon with her and make sure my dad has time to relax and not be so on “duty” all the time.

I really didn’t feel too much anxiety yesterday. Really, when we were heading to the hospital at 5am in the dark, did I feel some anxiety creeping up. I’m not sure why it happened then, but I was able to deal with it and it went away pretty quickly. At the hospital in the waiting room, I stayed as busy as I could–talking, playing on the iPad, knitting–and didn’t have any major issues except when I heard them call my mother’s surgeon’s name on the intercom when I thought he was supposed to be IN surgery. That seemed weird, but I figured they didn’t realize he was in surgery and I went back to what I was doing. And once I saw my mom, I was more relieved that she made it through the surgery and anesthesia than anything else…so there was no anxiety around. Also, I was so zonked I don’t think I was feeling too much of anything last night.

I’ve got Cray-cray Lab here with me today, since there’s no one home to take care of her. She was with Hub yesterday while he worked from home and took care of all the dogs. Cray-cray has become pretty attached to Mom since she retired and I know she misses Mom. But I talk to her and pet her and make sure she gets good play time outside with Butthead. Right now she’s napping in the sun on one of the dog beds in our family room while I’m writing this blog. Butthead and Le Moo are keeping watching in our library where they can stare out the window to the street out front.

My thankful list overfloweth. Our family has been amazing. The doctors were great. Most of the nurses have been wonderful so far. An old, dear friend of mine texted me the morning of the surgery to tell me she was thinking of me and my mother. And she has repeatedly offered help and support for me, even though we only see each other like once or twice a year on average. My husband has been amazing to me, not even blinking when I asked him if he would drive me back to the hospital last night even though I’d barely been home an hour (and it meant postponing something he had already planned to do that evening). I can’t even list all the things he’s done and is doing for me during this time, just that I am very thankful for him. And I’m thankful for the time I’ve had with T, who has helped me to be in the place I am in now, able to be of support to my parents without the overwhelming anxiety pressing on me.

Thanks to all of you, too, for reading about all this.

 

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Surgery day–almost

By the time this is posted (and you have an opportunity to read it), surgery day will have come and gone for my mom. I will be heading to the hospital with them tomorrow morning at 5am, as she is first in line for surgery with her particular surgeons.

Over the past couple of days, I’m starting to see (or she’s starting to allow me to see) her fear. She isn’t sleeping well, and told me last night when she wakes up, she just gets up and goes to read a book until she is sleepy again. She says laying in bed gives her too much time to think and worry about the surgery. She is a strong woman, practical and pragmatic, filled with faith in G-d. That does not mean she is impenetrable. I saw a bit of this when she was working on her medical directives about two weeks ago. Where prior to this I think she would have made a certain decision, now her directive is different than I had anticipated. We are never so aware of our fragility and the fragility of life as when we are sick and faced with the possibility for a bad outcome (surgery, anesthesia, etc.)

I’m still trying to keep myself grounded, while at the same time preparing what I need to take with me for at least an entire day at the hospital. Like I said, we’ll be there very early, and the doctor said she might not be in her room (where we can finally see her post-surgery) until close to lunchtime. Of course, depending on what happens in surgery and how well she makes it in recovery. Since she has no past experience in the hospital, we have no idea how she will react to the anesthesia and/or any of the pain medications she’ll be on. And, of course, considering her age.

I’m so so so thankful for my husband, who is taking time off of work to make sure all our animals are taken care of while the rest of us are at the hospital. I am so so so thankful that he understands how important it is that I be with my dad while my mother is in surgery. I am thankful for my aunt and uncle, who are going to be with us during the surgery tomorrow, and be with us as we wait for Mom to make it through recovery. I am thankful for my brothers, who will be there in person and/or in spirit as they are able. I am thankful for all the people who are praying for and thinking of my mother as she goes through this. I am thankful for the experience of the surgeons performing the surgery, and for the nurses who will be attending her during and after the surgery. I am thankful for the people who run and take care of the hospital, so that it is there and operational when she needs it. I am thankful there is a higher power that my mother can feel connected to during this time, so that she feels that spirit and that support as she goes through this. I am thankful that she is not alone in this (and that *I* am not alone, as well).

I am thankful for my mind and my body and my spirit, all of which propel me forward every day, and allow me to be with my parents tomorrow (and after). I am even thankful for the aches and pains that I feel every day, because it reminds me that I am here, and that I am living. I am thankful for the fear and the helplessness that I am (and have been) feeling, because it reminds me how much I love the people in my life and how much I cherish the time I have with them.

 

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Outside influence

So my last session with T was spent talking about my mom and her illness…and how I’ve been handling it.

There are a few good things that have come out of my mother’s illness, which is a pretty difficult statement for me to make. I know that I have been able to say that about my history with physical and mental illness, but to say that about my mother’s illness makes me very uncomfortable. I would never ever want someone to be ill so that something good came out of it, if that makes sense. But since the illness happened, at least something positive has come out of it. A few things, I guess.

I can handle it. Years ago, my grandmother got sick. She was pretty old by this time…in her late 80s I think. She started falling into dementia, and then had a stroke and went deep into the illness. She had caregivers 24/7 taking care of her in her home. She didn’t communicate anymore, which made it difficult to spend time with her. God bless the amazing women who cared for her. And God bless my mom, who went to my grandmother’s house every single evening to spend time with my grandmother. She would work a full-time job all day, come home and cook for my brothers and my father, then go spend several hours with my grandmother, who lived about fifteen minutes away. This went on for years as my grandmother’s health declined. My mother told me she wanted to have no regrets, so she did what she felt she needed to in order to live that way. I was sick during a lot of this time, but I tried to see my grandmother as often as possible considering I didn’t drive and lived over thirty minutes away. I struggled to be with my grandmother…which is a terrible and difficult thing to admit. I loved that woman deeply, but the person huddled in the wheelchair all day was not my grandmother anymore. Anyway, all this made me wonder how I would be able to handle my mother as she aged. Fortunately for me, she lives very close so I can walk to her house, so driving isn’t an issue, nor is weather. And with this illness–which is much less severe than what my grandmother lived with–I have been okay. I’ve been able to step up and go with her to doctor appointments. I’ve bought groceries for her. I have spent time taking care of her at home and outside the house. I have been able to handle seeing her laying in bed  or on the couch, and being with her at an ER/urgent care facility while she was prone on a gurney. I was even able to handle seeing vital statistics on a monitor and not get obsessed with the numbers in the urgent care facility.

I can handle illness without obsessing over it. I can handle numbers without obsessing over them. More good news for me. I also didn’t Google anything while my mother was sick (except she ASKED me to once, and I spent about two minutes attempting it, then suggested that she contact her doctor instead). I was so proud of myself because although I wanted to turn the monitor away in the urgent care so I didn’t have to see her pulse or blood pressure or heart rhythm, I didn’t because I knew my father was watching it. And I handled it. I was able to turn it off (figuratively) and allow the fantastic doctors and nurses to care for my mother in that way. And I cared for her mental health. I kept her in a good space as best I could. I changed her physiology by changing her brain chemistry, by keeping her in a good mental space. I have been able to keep her on an even keel when it comes to what food she can and won’t eat. I’ve been able to keep her grounded when it comes to food and her stomach issues. I told T, I almost feel like I went through all those food and mental health issues in order to be prepared for this very moment. The moment when it would allow me to help my mother through her health struggle. A silver lining.

I told T how pleased and proud I was to be able to handle so much that directly attacks my anxiety levels. Especially when the doctors thought my mom was having heart issues…which is a huge trigger for me. But I handled it without a single moment of anxiety or panic. I gave over all the control for my mother’s physical health to the amazing doctors and nurses who were caring for her. They were attentive and confident, and I did not give one thought to second-guessing them.

Then it happened. My uncle, who is a vet, had been attempting to contact my mother because he knew she had a cough. And when he continued to get the run-around from my parents, he contacted me by email. He and his wife are very much into health issues. They have many health issues and they feel they have the best doctors and the most knowledge on this earth. It’s like health and physical issues are a hobby for them, you know? It’s what they want to talk about, it’s what they harp on…they love it. So the day we take my mom to urgent care (the 2nd time), I was with them for several hours…four or five. Then I came home with my dad while my brother and SIL went to stay with my mother. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon keeping up communication between my parents and my siblings. So I didn’t check my email until 11pm, and there was the email from my uncle. And in that email, he basically vomited some of my worst fears all over my computer screen. If I had been prepared (which I will be now), it wouldn’t have been so bad, but I wasn’t. The email was titled with my mother’s name, so I figured he was emailing to ask how she was REALLY doing and could he offer any help. Instead, I got a long dissertation on how she wasn’t being treated properly (which there’s no way he could know this) and how dangerous her potential illness could be and did I know that SHE COULD DIE?

AAAAaaaiiiiieeeeee. FUCK ME. I had spent so much time NOT googling her symptoms and allowing the doctors to do their jobs. I was taking notes for my parents during the time Mom was in urgent care and listening to what the doctors were saying so we had a record of what had happened. I asked questions where I felt it was needed, too. But I was keeping myself in check and not going panicky or nutsy. And I wasn’t looking ahead, I wasn’t thinking of the worst scenario. And along comes my uncle and just pukes all over me, so to speak. It actually took me quite some time to respond to him. I understood how frightened he was and that he was responding the only way he knew how (and with what little information he had), but it was really difficult for me to deal with.

Luckily, I was able to restrain myself from obsessing over the email (I skimmed it first because I was really tired, and boy am I glad!), but I was angry with him. I answered him very briefly, basically telling him that Mom was being properly cared for but that it wasn’t my place to share her medical information with him. That was her choice and so he had to talk to her directly.

T reassured me that I handled things well, and that she was proud of my success. I am proud, too. I’m also glad that my mom is on the mend, albeit slowly.

 

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