(6 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
It’s bad enough to lose your mom mentally to dementia, for her to not know you’re her daughter, for her to not know your kids that she used to love so much, but now she’s starting to fail physically. The UTI that a few years ago wouldn’t have made her miss a beat, damn near landed her a stay in the hospital last week. It did land us in the ER for five hours, and she’s still not steady on her feet.
I knew something was very wrong, but I wasn’t sure what. It started with her becoming increasingly shaky and being very quiet. Quiet is not like her. I told my father that we had to get her seen, that she wasn’t drinking enough, that she was having trouble even feeding herself. He seemed hesitant, not sure what to do, so I called my sister Sissy for back up. Sissy came and we carried our mother down thee steps and out to the car and straight to the ER. All the while me promising her that it would be all right, that I would not leave her.
They came to the car and took her right back, and I was able to stay with her the entire time. They wrapped her in warm blankets, took blood, and started hooking mom up-this she did not like. I held her hand through almost all of it, and that was good because she really wanted to pull that IV. I kept telling her that it would just be for a little while, that if all went well we’d go home soon. Her eyes, it was all in there, the fear and the trust, and I told myself how bad I would hate me if they decided to keep her.
But we were lucky, half-way through the IV fluids she started to perk up a bit. She told me my sister’s ass was fat. There’s the feisty mommy I’ve grown used to! The doctor ordered an IV antibiotic and some potassium drink. He told us that they could keep her, and as my sister and I both shook our heads no, he said he felt that since it was not life threatening and that being in a strange place would be more upsetting than beneficial, we could take her home so long as we strictly followed up on his orders. Of course we would. I said, “See that? I told you we would get you fixed up and back home.” She smiled at me finally.
We were able to walk her up the steps by the time she got home, but it’s been up and down since then. Saturday morning she seemed well on the mend when she went out for follow up blood work, but by that evening she was again having trouble walking and feeding herself. We wheeled her to the steps in a computer chair and Cleetus got behind her and carried her up, my dad reached for her arm and she snapped, “Don’t you fucking touch me!” I stood there trying to reconcile how she was being carried by the man she’s been kicking out of the house every chance she gets for the past year and slapping away help from the man she loves.
But there’s no real reconciling of any of this, the not knowing what we’re going to face day to day, my fathers’ initial inability to act, the helpless despair in his eyes as he told me he maybe could have carried her, that he used to be able to just whisk her up and carry her anywhere…none of it, there’s just the dull ache of inevitable acceptance. I tell him, “Dad, I know, but you just can’t risk it now, Cleetus is plenty strong, he doesn’t mind, let him help.”
There’s a stairlft in our future. And probably a transport chair. I can’t have her isolated to that bedroom if she doesn’t have to be.