Saturday, August 02, 2014

Sandwiched In

On June 1 my mother had a stroke. I took the first flight south and have been staying in her home since that date. At first when she was in the hospital, my sister and I took turns staying with her for hours. I would come to the hospital at about 10 and stay until five; my sister would arrive around three and stay until eight. We would then go to dinner and debrief. After she was moved to the nursing center, I come daily at about 10:30 and leave at 1:00 while my sister would come about four and leave around 6:00. And then we would have dinner and debrief.

Her stroke affected her left side but not her voice. She is slowly gaining use of her left hand, but still can not sit, move to the edge of the bed, stand, transfer to a chair, walk without maximum assistance. She has severe pain from osteoporosis, so she is receiving regular doses of dilaudid. The nursing center doctor wanted something more steady and prescribed a pain medicine that came in a patch. She used it for 10 days before she went completely irrational and mean. The center had to send her back to the hospital because she was screaming and trying to escape and would not allow them to touch her. We asked that the patch be removed and her back on dilaudid. The next day she was once again rational and "normal." Her new normal, anyway.

I had been renting a car for the first two weeks when my brother-in-law said he would fly up to my home in Oregon and drive my car down to Los Angeles. It worked out perfectly.

I had been planning a family reunion since February that was to happen the third week of June, so I needed to deal with that event along with Mom. It was a success with 50 family members coming to town from Washington, Utah, Northern California, as well as nearby cities in southern California. I became the taxi driver, bringing groups of three at a time to visit Mom. She is the oldest and only one left of her generation in the family.

On the 18th of July my husband's father was to be placed to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. So I drove back to Portland on the 15th, did laundry, repacked and we flew to Washington DC.  It was a wonderful, full military honors ceremony, complete with an Army band, white horse-drawn casket, and a 21-gun salute.  I returned home on the 21st, my birthday.  No one really remembered my birthday.  Felt kinda like Samantha in Sixteen Candles.

After doing laundry, I drove back south, this trip with both my sons and my grandgirl.  They stayed a few days in order to spend time with their gramma.

At this point I visit Mom every day for a couple of hours.  Everything is up in the air regarding her stuff.  We started packing things up to be put in storage--she won't be returning to her independent-living home.  We don't know if she will recover enough to move into assisted-living.  Until then, we need to store her things.

At this point I am tired and ready to spend a bit of time with my fella and my pup.  We'll see when that will happen.


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