Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For Whom The Bell Tolls...It Tolls for Mom

It is so hard for me to focus on today while I'm busy thinking about Mom's last day of radiation. I'm excited and anxious and cannot believe we have made it so far. I've got 3 thoughts to share with you, a run-down of our day, and a favor, so here goes. If you read nothing else, please read my favor at the end of this post.

THOUGHT #1: It is funny - I mentioned helping Mom take off her acrylic thumb nail this weekend, but I didn't really explain much about that. Many of you may be aware that my Mom nearly lost the top of her thumb when she was 3 years old. She got it caught in a door, and it was badly injured. They managed to reattach it, but the nail bed was badly damaged. Her whole life, my mother's thumb nail was never...normal. She also bit her nails, so all of her nails were fairly short. I clearly remember her thumb, and always found it fascinating. I know it used to bother my mother...I think she was never fully comfortable with her hands because of her thumb. During the winter, it used to crack and hurt her...I always remember her putting Desitin on it and keeping it covered with a bandaid. Maybe 15 years ago (I am fairly certain I was in college or law school), Mom decided to try and get acrylic nails...and see if there was anything that could be done with her thumb. My mother discovered a woman named Lan, who uses acrylic to build a nail for my mother. Ever since my mother met Lan, she has had a "real" thumb nail...unless you know what to look for, you'd never know that there is anything different about my mother's thumb. It has been many years since I saw my mother's thumb exposed like it has been since Sunday.

THOUGHT #2: I've also been thinking a lot about changes. On Sunday, my Mom and I tried to work on crocheting. It was hard to watch my mother frustrated...and unable to crochet. It was a huge change for us. She still knows how to crochet, but she really does not yet seem able to use her left hand enough to make it possible. I bought her a great contraption for holding the yarn...but my mother just isn't able to see her left arm or make it move on command, at least not yet. I was frustrated for her - we just need to work on her lifting her left arm on command and I think she'll be able to crochet again. We're going to work on that skill and see what we can do.

THOUGHT #3: With only one more day left of radiation, I've been thinking about bells...the significance of bells, and their impact. Bells have so many different meanings...some people love the line from the old Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life, that every time a bell rings, an angel earns his/her wings. Others think of bells as a call to action, or a warning or an alert. It is finally time for Mom to ring that bell, signifying the end of her radiation and intensive chemotherapy. For us, a bell will now mean a victory...a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. My mother has made it through the past 2 months of surgery, recovery, radiation and chemotherapy. We'll meet at the hospital - all of us. Mom, Dad, Me, DH, Micah, Maya, my brother, SIL, Paige and Peyton will all be there to support Mom. We'll wait with her, hope things run on time, and at the end of her appointment, we'll watch as she proudly rings that fire bell! I'm so proud of all she has been through to reach this point...a day we were not certain we'd actually get to see.

THE RUN-DOWN: So, a run-down of our day today before I ask a favor from all of you.

Mom was busy calling all night last night...4:00 am, 6:30, again around 8:30...she was up and felt like chatting. She pointed out that I'm usually awake and I told her to call any time, so she does. It makes me laugh...and it reminds me of the times in college when I didn't hesitate to pick up the phone and call HER at 3:00 am because I wanted to talk.

Maya was up around 8:15 to nurse and snuggle, but we did not get up and going until Megan arrived at 9. We had to hurry and get ready and out the door because Micah had class at 10 and Maya had her 4 month doctor's appointment! I cannot believe that Maya is 4 months old already. She weighed in today at 12 pounds, exactly, and she was 24 inches long. She was in the 25th percentile for height and weight, and is doing great. She showed off her skills, she got 3 vaccinations (2 shots and an oral vaccine), screamed and cried until I nursed her, and then crashed from exhaustion into a deep sleep in the car.

I decided not to disturb her sleep, so I dropped DH off at home, and Maya and I continued up to the nursing home a bit early. We arrived at the nursing home around 12:15, and we had 45 minutes to hang out with Mom before Chanel, the transport driver, arrived. We've got a great photo of Dad, Mom & Chanel arriving at the hospital from the transport to show off. Chanel has been wonderful for us - she shaves nearly 2 hours off of Mom's waiting time by sitting with us and driving Mom back. Chanel was in GREAT spirits today...she told us all about moving into her new house and how she surprised her children. It sounds like she had an amazing weekend, and I wish there was more we could do for her to repay her for her assistance with Mom.

We arrived at the hospital early. Radiation was on time, and we were in and out quickly. We had to go upstairs to see the doctor, but we were out the door and headed back by 2:45. Chanel waited again, and we were back at the nursing home nice and early. We are expecting Chanel to join us for our last day tomorrow, too. I hope we have the chance to see her again one day.

I decided to head back to the nursing home with my parents...mostly because Dad and I were hoping for a surprise visitor for Mom. Right around 4:00, she arrived! Donna, my mom's nurse from the hospital, stopped by to visit. It was WONDERFUL to see her, and she looked amazing. She brought a beautiful new hat (and some scarves) for Mom, too, and she is looking forward to wearing it. My Mom is developing quite the hat collection. My grandfather, who was a millinery (he owned a hat store), would be so proud! We had a wonderful visit and chat with Donna. My Dad left first, then Donna, and Maya and I left by 5:15.

It was a good day, and I came home in time for a homemade pizza dinner with the family. Micah again went to bed easily, but Maya struggled. She first fell asleep around 8:30, but woke up again at 9:30...it took us another hour or so to get her to fall back asleep and stay asleep. I'm finding this new pattern frustrating, but we'll keep trying something new and see if we can get her to bed earlier.

THE FAVOR: Now, for our favor....

So many of you have been there with us through thick and thin, and I've been trying to think of ways for everyone to "be there" for this major accomplishment. Of course, I'll be recording it, and I'll post the video online, but I was trying to think of other ways for everyone to "hear" Mom ringing that bell when it happens. So I thought I would ask everyone to help us ring that bell by setting an alarm or a bell to ring at 2:15 pm on Tuesday, October 26 (which is about the time we expect Mom to be ringing that bell). Set your alarm clock, or the timer on your oven, or your cell phone, or your watch, or your appointment reminders on Outlook...whatever works for you, but let's get things chiming all over the place at 2:15 pm so you can ALL "hear" Mom ringing that bell today! And at 2:15, each and every one of you can take a second to think about Mom and listen for that bell. I can't WAIT!!

Last day of radiation. Ten more days until Mom comes home!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Setting my phone for 2:15!! Come on 2:15!!!