“Go. You don’t even have to finish the statement – go be with your mom.”
My boss all but escorted me out of the building. Before I left, I let a few people know in person that I’d be out of the office working remotely for the next couple days. Each one told me to go – dump my work on them if I need to – and one made me put his number in my phone so I can call when I need help.
I love this team. I love this management team too. While chaos is king, they still make sure people have their priorities straight. They have booted sick people out of the building. Forcibly taken away their work so that they have to rest. Got to appreciate that attitude.
In my case, they don’t have to do this at all. I’m a contractor. They could boot me and replace me. Instead, they are taking care of me just as if I’m an employee.
But, I digress…..
I left, hastily packed, and drove down to the hospital my mom was in – 3 hrs away. I walked into the room and saw this pale, yellowish frail woman in bed that sounded like my mom – but did not look like her. They were taking vitals, giving her meds and seeing how much she had eaten. The nurse had also just brought her another warmed blanket because she was freezing.
She saw me and lit up a bit. I had brought my laptop and camera in for the car. I lifted up the camera like I was going to take a picture and announced that I was also here to make sure the christmas cards got done – “Say Mistletoe”. My mom, my dad and the nurse started laughing.
After the nurse left, I gave Mom a huge hug. She kept saying over and over again she was happy I was there. After I tucked the blankets back around her, my dad handed me the information packet. She had a new diagnosis to add to the old one – not a replacement one as expected but a brand spanking new one on top of it.
Ulcers. Ulcers she will always have to manage for the rest of her life.
Unlike and upper GI ulcer, they don’t understand this one. The reasons can be anything from hereditary to environmental to side effect of an illness. They clearly state they do not understand it. All they do understand is how to manage it.
I was only there 45 minutes before Dad declared that it was time she napped. And we left.
We got into the house when my dad grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. His voice was shaky and I could tell her was teary eyed as he told me that they needed me here. They have been so worried. Having me down here was exactly what they both needed. After a few minutes, he let go of me – and he started talking about other stuff – doing the guy thing to change the subject.
I discovered he had not eaten since maybe 7am. It was about 3pm by this point, so we met up with my brother and niece and grabbed lunch.
I freaked out my niece because she didn’t recognize me with the hair gone and it being a different color. She finally warmed up to me at lunch and then I became her favorite person at the hospital.
My brother and SIL are like behavior nazis with their 3 year old daughter. While I don’t disagree with what their aim is, their approach is fucked up. Also, they don’t pick their battles at all. So, when we got to the hospital, I knew this could become stressful as my brother busted her ass the whole time and my dad and I fought to keep our tongues. My brother had brought nothing for her to do, so I started showing her how to have fun with nitrile gloves. We blew them up and put faces on them. I put them on her feet and she waddled around. I put them on her hands, and taught her to tell my brother to turn his head and cough. She had a blast. And we had my mom laughing hysterically as was my dad.
Mom was definitely a different woman when we were there that night. She was teasing my dad. She was laughing. She looked good. She was eating. She had more energy. Good stuff.
I attached her turkey gloves to my niece’s shoes before she left and she waddled out of the room and hospital like that. The nurses laughed so hard they were crying. Mom joined them too. Then, while watching the weather report, my dad and I started quoting Airplane – specific Johnny – the crazy guy with great one-liners who was in the control tower. We were giggle are asses off as we surprised each other with what we remembered. Mom was laughing at us.
Food makes my mom feel better but she can only eat a few bites at a time and it leads to minor pain that makes her body shiver as she works through it all. She curled up under a blanket as we watched Jeopardy. Then she did something that surprised us – she asked for more food. And at all of it.
We could tell she was getting tired again. Dad declared visiting hours over – and we headed back to the house.
It was good to see them both in a good mood. Good to see my mom’s mood improve. She was sounding depressed which made me worried. My dad and little brother both made the same comment to me. We are all going to keep an eye on that. But we are pretty sure that her getting better will help that.