As many of you know, Mom was hospitalized last month for a GI bleed and pneumonia. She recovered fairly well, and went home. Two weeks later, she was back in the hospital for pneumonia again. Two days later, she was moved to ICU because her O2 dropped and she would not rouse. So, we began the death watch.
The ID doctor told us to look into hospice, and do it fairly quickly. I called my siblings that afternoon, and they planned to drive from MD to FL early the next morning.
That evening, the day the doc gave us the bad news, my daughter and I were at mom’s bedside until late. We believed she would see Jesus in the next few hours. We prayed and wept, and then called the priest to give mom the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. He came immediately, and said a lovely, peaceful prayer. He anointed her with precious oils, and I was surprised at how beautiful and peaceful it was. The room was semi-dark and quiet, except for mom’s high-flow O2 mask. I whispered to Mom that I loved her, and she was free to go.
My girl and I left the hospital expecting a 3 am phone call reporting to us that Mom had passed.
It didn’t come.
The next day, she was doing a tad better. My siblings and SIL arrived, and we all spent the day in ICU. By the end of that day, Mom was incrementally better. The following day, the high-flow O2 was replaced with a nasal cannula. Mom came around a bit, for short periods.
The next day, Mom was moved out of ICU to the progressive care unit. Dad was encouraged by this. I have to say, my daughter and I had some unexplained irritation. And then guilt. Of course it was good that Mom was improving. Wasn’t it?
Mom is 96, and we have been told by all the health care professionals that her lungs are a mess, and although they are slowly clearing, she will likely be back in the hospital before long, or placed in hospice care when we are told her body really has had enough. The clinical signs read weeks, maybe months.
For the past three days, Mom’s appetite has increased. She has longer moments of being awake. When we arrived at the hospital yesterday, she was eating breakfast on her own. (The few days before that, we had been feeding her.) The TV was on the background. I leaned low and greeted mom, “Hello, Mama, how are you today?”
She kept eating, but said, “Is it true?”
“Is what true?” I asked her.
“Is it really true?” she said again.
Then, it dawned on me. “The election?” I said. “That Trump won?”
And I smiled. “Yes, it’s true, Mom. Trump won.”
She shook her head in a bit of disbelief, and went right on eating.
A few hours later, she was moved to a rehab facility. And we are all shaking our head in disbelief. Is it really true? November 8, 2016 – it was a day of wonders.
My brother and SIL are heading home in two days. My sister is staying another week, in case God has other immediate plans for Mom.
We are all a bit shell-shocked, beyond exhausted, eating too much junk food, and wondering how much longer Mom can really go on. Clinically, by slow degrees, she’s moving up the ladder. Dad is right there with her, denying she will ever be gone from this life. We, the caretakers, are still in the middle of grieving, somewhere in a sad, confused, but cautiously optimistic fog.
I’m so grateful my siblings and SIL came down for this emotional week. I vented and cried and stared into space and played online word games for distractions. Friends of our daughter’s delivered meals, which was the kindest, most helpful of gifts.
“Day by day,” the docs keep telling us. Nobody knows for sure how Mom will progress, or not. Mom’s question rings true for me this week.
Is it true she’s in ICU dying? Is it really true?
Is it true my siblings and SIL are here to ease our load and bring some laughter to these weary days?
Is it true Mom is out of ICU?
Is it true she’s awake, eating on her own?
What we see is not necessarily true. God tells us to walk by faith, not by sight.
This has never seemed more true to me than this week.