9:42 am 6/28/17
This morning, I did something for the first time in the past four days. I took my mother’s living will with her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) out of my purse where I’ve been carrying it, and filed it away in the file cabinet.
We had an early morning meeting with the doctor today. Mom’s numbers improved significantly over night. They improved enough that he said, unequivocally, that she would recover from this event.
The writer in me is expecting the twist.
It’s amazing to me that only four days have passed since Mom was admitted into the hospital. As writers, we learn to slow down time during critical moments in the plot to bring the reader deeper into the action or suspense. We focus on minute details that are somehow significant to bring the scene to life.
Details like how my mother has never once taken off her wig throughout this entire ordeal. (She’d be mad I wrote this — so no one tell her, please!)
Details like the smell of the room, a cross between Purell hand sanitizer and generic institution-smell, like the smell of my grade school. Emotionally, I feel like I’m grade school age every time I walk into her room, too. It’s an unsettling feeling all around.
Details like seeing my mom slumped in that hospital bed, feeling awful. I always try to take the chair next to her bed, instead of across from her because it’s too difficult to see her like that. I can still see her from the side chair, but not the full-on view, and somehow it’s easier. Cowardly, I know, but there you have it.
Us writers must have learned that slowing down technique from life itself, because I swear it seems like at least two weeks have passed since Sunday. I keep forgetting what day it is and time is measured by making sure the animals are fed on time and what time we’ll see the doctor next.
I am amazed at the nurses. They way they juggle life and death responsibilities with an upbeat attitude. Even when their patients are cranky and sharp-tongued. Even when family members grill them for details. Even when as they care for one patient, they’re answering a call for another. It makes my paltry multi-tasking skills of answering an email while on a conference call look pathetic by comparison.
I never once saw anything but cool, calm, kindness and professionalism from the nurses, both male and female. I would never in a million years be able to do that job, which makes me kind of ashamed of myself. Their work truly matters. Mine, not so much.
This has been quite an experience, and it’s not over yet. We have rehab in a few days, which will last several weeks. During that time we’ll be looking at assisted living centers for Mom. She’s agreed she should no longer live alone, and since she’s determined that I keep Charlie, she doesn’t really need a whole house with a yard anyway.
I hope she keeps to that decision as she recovers. Knowing the full scope of my lack of nursing skills, I’ll sleep so much better at night knowing she has skilled professionals to watch over her should she need them.
Tonight we’ll stop back at the hospital for a bit, and then Dennis and I will be shopping for a new bed. The one we have now is too high for our newest member of the family to jump on an off of at night.
Here’s Charlie, our new addition, sleeping in his bed. This is his daytime bed. His nighttime bed is whichever one we’re in.
That’s a good problem to have.
10:37 am 6/28/17