As they say about life “it never just rains but pours. I just returned home from spending the better part of the weekend up in a North Carolina hospital saying goodbye to by mother. She is once again on a ventilator without any response to any stimulus to the outside world and has been that way for about two weeks. The decision has been made that if she does not show any improvement by Tuesday morning the doctors have recommended, and my brothers, sister and I have agreed, that she should be removed from the ventilator and allow nature to take its course. A few who read my previous blog may remember that she was in a similar situation last year and that the doctors caring for her then had told my siblings to call the family together because they gave her only a few days to live. But just for the sake of clarity I will back up and fill those who might not know in.
My mother’s habits literally for decades were the worst possible behavior one could pursue. All jokes aside the self destructive behavior she wallowed in during the 70’s after the divorce from my dad marked my siblings and I very badly and it took us years to come to terms with the her baggage and its effects on us. But situations never are stagnate and several factors reined in the worst, but not all, aspects of her behavior as the years went by. But the damage was done and has now finally come to the forefront. Due to a progressively worsening heart condition a defibrillator was implanted in her chest about eighteen months ago to try and control her erratic heartbeat. Her doctor then, repeating something she had been told since the mid-80’s, said never again should she smoke another cigarette. And for a few months I believe she obeyed her doctors. Around October of last year her condition started to worsen considerably forcing her to move in with my brother Joe Cool and his wife on a semi-permanent basis with only brief visits to her house where most of her stuff was still located. Around the first of November last year her defibrillator started going off several times a day with her being admitted to the local hospital and soon finding herself in intensive care and on a ventilator. Treatment for her heart was severely hampered by the emphysema she had developed from smoking since her 20's. Drugs that treated one illness were hurt by drugs given for the other. It was on a late Sunday afternoon last year as I was getting ready to take the kids back home that the doctor came up to tell us that despite their best efforts he expected her to only survive a few more hours. As I drove home I fully expected to have to turn around and return. Happily and ever so slowly her condition improved to the point that she was able to leave the hospital a few months later. But not before my siblings and I spent considerable time and money trying to many sense of her financial situation. And not before finding a receipt for a partially empty carton of cigarettes that were bought just about the same time her medical condition fell apart. A major blessing about my mother’s recovery that I can’t leave out was the fact that we would not have to hide her passing from my grandmother whose health was worsen even then leading to her passing in early 2007.
Adding insult to injury after she returned to Joe Cool’s house and care her ill-rational behavior reemerged forcing my mother to move into Uncle George’s house down in Georgetown after Mrs. Cool had done everything she could to make my mother comfortable and welcome. As the months went by mother’s condition improved to the point she returned to her own house and with the aid of her home computer actually resumed her medical transcription job. Her leaving Uncle George’s house was not something approved of by the family or her doctors but she refused to listen and like many times in the past she went her own way. All that changed four months ago after she fainted at home due to her heart condition and was rushed back to the hospital where she stayed until about a month ago when she was admitted to a nice nursing home in North Carolina. The doctors had warned my mother that her reprieve from what she went through last year was something that could disappear in an instant. About two weeks ago she was returned to a hospital and quickly was back on a ventilator after her heart stopped but was restarted.
Her condition is even direr than what happen last year and she has not been awake since the day she was admitted. The scores of men and women that have taken care of my mother since last year have been the best to her and every member of the family. Given her condition this time I hold no hope for another miracle and have made my peace. My concerns are with my sister’s children who are far closer to my mother than mine. Joe Cool who took the lead in getting her affairs in order since this roller coaster began and is not as strong as he likes people to think. And strangely enough my mother-in-law who herself is even now in the hospital recovering from a knee replacement. They had struck up a friendship when Dragonwife and I were married and have maintain it even though my mother has been a far poorer friend to my mother-in-law in many ways. You might ask why and I writing all this? I have no real idea since many quite frankly do not want to know all the dirty details of their own family much less someone only known over the internet. My whole reason for even beginning to blog was just to blow off steam and maybe under the rarest of conditions bring a laugh to some far flung soul. About the only thing that comes to mind for my little mental meanderings tonight was to tell people that even in the closest families expecting someone else to organize their affairs in the event of illness or disease is asking too much. The legal loops alone we have jumped through have been many, and that’s with my attorney wife taking care of many things. I’m tired and calling it a night. More than likely I will not be around much the coming days, even though I may drop in just to get this stuff off my mind, and hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving.