Monday, September 13, 2010

Hard times

I'm sorry to say that today was not an easier day for Mom. Today, my father called at 8:37...and woke the children. I guess that makes us even, since I felt so guilty for calling and waking him yesterday! According to the nurses, my mother had a great night and was feeling much better. Her morning schedule included therapy until 11:30, so my father and I decided we would head to the hospital a bit later and take care of a few things first.

First stop for us...a 4th birthday party for our friends' son at a local magic shop. We were supposed to be there around 10:45, but it was close to 11:15 before we managed to arrive. With all that has been going on, we did not have time to get a gift...I wish I had thought about it the other day when the babysitter ran out to the store for me to get my niece's gift. While most of the children at the party were 4 years old, there were about 3 2-year olds and a few babies there as well.

Maya was great - she sat quietly at the start of the show, then nursed and fell asleep. I had her in her car seat off to the side for most of the party, and we barely heard a noise from her. I think Micah was a bit too young to appreciate the show. He did sit for a little while and watch, and he even smiled a few times, but he seemed far more interested in jumping on and off the seat, playing on the stairs, and yelling "Mama!!" at the top of his lungs during the performance. I should be embarassed, right? Oops...I mostly just laughed at my poorly behaving child. I told him "Shhhh" a few times...only to have him yell "Mama, Shhh!" right back at me. Perhaps we need to practice our "inside voice." One of the other two year olds (the birthday boy's sister) skipped the show altogether, and her cousin was frightened of all the loud noises in the show, so I'm going to tell myself that Micah behaved appropriately for his age.

It was good to see our friends there. I had a wonderful chat with my friend's mom, and her support meant a lot. She lost her daughter to breast cancer about 6 years ago. I had one small breakdown when someone asked me how my mom was doing...I need to figure out how to handle the questions out in public.

Around 12:00, I started to get antsy about leaving the party and heading up to the hospital. I was thinking about my mom and wondering if she would have some one there to help her with lunch, and just feeling the need to lay eyes on her and see how she was doing. It took us nearly 20 more minutes to get everything together and get out the door. DH didn't quite have the same sense of urgency I did, and Micah was decidedly uncooperative...he wanted to sit on the floor and eat a bag of cheetos, and getting him to relinquish his grip on that bag was quite a task. I still can't figure out how he got the bag of cheetos in the first place.

We arrived at the hospital around 1:40, and ran into some friends at the front door. One helped me bring the kids upstairs to see my mom. Two of my mom's other friends had arrived a few minutes before, and my father showed up and whisked Micah off to the family lounge.

When I walked in, Mom had a stuffed animal puppy dog laying across her chest, and my mom decided to call him "Brownie." Mom was not feeling well (and she used that stuffed puppy all day today to try and bring her comfort). We learned late yesterday that she has an intestinal blockage, and it is making her miserable. I had thought the medicine they gave her last night made her feel better, but she told me that she had a terrible night last night. She said she tried to call me, but heard a message that my number was not in service. It hurt that she tried to reach me and I was not there for her. I think she is having difficulty with all of the phones because of her vision. I need to go pick her up an accessible cell phone this week and see if that helps. Criteria - non-folding, bigger buttons, voice commands, and maybe some spoken menus (or at least a larger screen). I've got contacts through work that I will use to ask for some recommendations.

My mother told me that my brother had been by to visit her in the morning (I knew he planned to try and stop by - Saturday he had taken the girls to Dutch Wonderland to celebrate his daughter's birthday, so he had not seen her since Friday). Mom's high school friend had been there, too. I guess my journal entry yesterday had prompted her to do some reminiscing, too. Apparently, way back in 1960-something (I'll have to ask them to remind me of the year), my mom went on a trip to Israel. While there, she bought her friend a mezuzzah necklace as a gift. Apparently, that meant the world to my mom's friend, and all these years later, she has saved that necklace. Today, she brought it to the hospital to show my mom. The irony of the story? My mom doesn't really remember the necklace, but was so touched that something she bought for a good friend of hers so long ago meant so much to her that she saved it. My mom said that it is funny how sometimes even the smallest of gestures can mean the world to someone else, even if we don't think the gesture is important at the time.

As my mom shared this story with us, I could see how much pain she was experiencing. We tried everything we could think of to increase her comfort. We offered her drinks, changed her position, found foods that we thought could help...but my mom just was miserable. One of my mom's friends showed us the new hat she is crocheting for mom (the color is beautiful!) and her other friend pulled out 2 new hats she had purchased.

Another friend of my mom's walked in a few minutes later...bringing smoothies for my mom! About a week before she was hospitalized, my parents went out to dinner with this couple. It was one of the first times my mom really felt well enough to go out and enjoy herself since May. DH and I were up in New Jersey that day visiting his family, and I remember being amazed that my mom was still out at 10:30 when we called to say we were on our way home. We caught them at their friends' house, hanging out, laughing, and enjoying smoothie. Apparently, Lorin had just purchased a magic bullet blender and were practicing their latest skill. When I think back, I'm amazed how much my mom changed over the course of that week.

As my mom's discomfort continued, we went out to get the nurse to see if there was anything else we could do to help her. We then pulled out the next of my mom's friends brought a laptop so my mom could visit with their daughter (and of course her dog, Riley) via Skype. We logged on and all started chatting! She is pregnant and unable to travel, so she was able to say hello, show off her baby bump, see Micah (who felt the need to play with the bathroom door, then took off his sandals and stole my shoes while he walked around my mother's room). During the Skype chat, two of my mom's friends said their goodbyes and headed out for the day.

DH and my father spent a lot of the day in the family lounge entertaining the children, but they took turns cycling in and out of the room with me. After our brief Skype visit, my mom asked me to read yesterday's blog and her messages. My mother's other 2 friends left next, and I stayed in the room with my mom for a bit longer. I had Maya with me, and I kept bringing her in close to my mom for kisses. Every time they kissed, both my mom and Maya lit up with smiles. The nurse came in to try and relieve some of my mom's pain and discomfort, but nothing seemed to help. My mom was in tears from the pain, and I just felt so helpless. I keep thinking how the cancer isn't what is making my mom miserable, it is all these other issues that are the problem.

It broke my heart to leave at 5:30 with the kids when my mom was still so miserable. I felt helpless...I couldn't do anything for her there, but I hated to leave her. Micah was melting down and we only had the one car, so I knew I needed to leave. I wish I didn't feel like I was always making choices between my mother and my children. My father stayed behind with her (and didn't call me with any updates tonight, so I have no idea how they did). I've been wanting to call the hospital all night...but afraid to hear that she was in more misery when there is nothing I can do to help right now. I'm hoping that she finally found some relief tonight.

Micah threw a screaming fit over dinner...that child just does not like to eat anymore. He finally had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, watched an episode of Sesame Street and went to bed. Maya was a bit of a challenge tonight - she was awake until almost 10 because she started to cry every time I put her down. Finally, DH seemed to have the magic touch - he cuddled her close then put her down in the bassinet.

It is now almost 6:00 am. I am going to upload a few pictures, freeze the milk I pumped while writing this entry (pumping and journaling has become my nightly routine), and try and get in a nap before my day begins. I am going to try and handle a work conference call today - between the baby and my mom, I'm so far behind in all of my work activities, and I just don't know how to fit that in, too. I was supposed to start back at work full-time the week everything happened with my mother, but that looks like it is temporarily on hold. Who am I kidding? I have no idea how I am going to keep my clients happy on the heels of a 3 month maternity break. I can already tell they are ready to walk, so there is a good chance I will be out of a job in the next few weeks. The Fall usually starts my busy (and travel) time, and there is just no way I can do my job and balance my family right now. It is unfortunate...I really loved my work. I guess I should start thinking about what I'll do for my next career when I am ready to go back to work.


Prather Family said...

I'm sorry to hear that your mom is in so much pain. I can't imagine the pain that causes you especially when you can't do anything to ease the pain for her. I missed your blog posts while I was on vacation but I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and even had a dream with you and your mom in it (even thought I don't know what she looks like). I don't remember a whole lot but you mom seemed to be happy and feeling better.
I hope your mom gets some relief here soon. Is the pumping going better for you? Is your supply much better this time really sounds like it. (((Hugs)))

Chele said...

Hugs Tess. I think of you and your family often and send +++++ vibes. I have no words of wisdom, just know I think of you often and send positive thoughts and prayers your way hoping they help get you through.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry your mom had a rough night. Just want you to know that I'm reading, I'm praying, and I'm thinking of you, your mom, and your family often.