I didn’t spend as much time at the hospital today. This was the day to wait ands see if the antibiotics might revive mom. I even went to work in an attempt to distract myself from stewing about her all day. When I did go visit her at noon, there was no noticeable change yet. I wasn’t giving up but fears were starting to rise in me again. Yesterday, when the doctor extended the ray of hope that the infection might be the key, I glommed on to the notion that everything might be OK after all. Intellectually, I knew it wasn’t very likely but emotionally I felt a weight had lifted. Maybe, just maybe, all was not lost. It bought me a good night’s sleep and somewhere near 24 hours of modest peace.
I again worked this afternoon but the anxiety in me was rising rapidly. The anesthetic effect of the hope for a cure was starting to wear off. Reality was again mirroring my worst fears.
The news wasn’t any better when the infectious diseases doctor, the one who knows my mother personally, came in and told us, on balance the news was not good. Sure, he said, some of her readings were improved. The ammonia level in her blood was way down and here organs, other than the liver, were still strong. BUT! The skull crushing BUT was followed by the news that her liver was getting worse. Essentially, even getting rid of the infection was not likely to bring her back around. Shit.
My sister from Phoenix made it in last night. I don’t want to think what it must have cost her to fly herself and her two children in on a moments notice. My sister from California happened to be here already as all this began to unfold this past weekend. My third sister lives here in Springfield. We’re all here now, and after the bad news this evening we gathered and decided tomorrow mom goes into the hospice.
We held our little meeting at dusk on my sister’s back porch. That was where I had my last conversation with my mother one week ago. I didn’t know it was to be our last at the time. While my siblings and I discussed mom’s fate and what was to follow, I kept looking at the chair mom sat in just last week. Even then (a week ago), although weak, she was laughing and joking and worrying about my son as he ran around the yard through the lawn sprinklers and almost driving a bike off the porch steps. Within days she began rapidly slipping away and today we were discussing funeral plans on the spot where she was still very alive just a week ago.
I went back up to the hospital tonight for the last visit of the day. She did move a bit and fluttered her eyes open a few times but otherwise remained unconscious. God, a million dollars for ten minutes for 10 final questions.
And you know what, I have a sick feeling right now that the end is only beginning. How am I going to get through this? How do people do it?
One final demonstration of how whacked you can get when trying to deal with emotional pain. As I was leaving the hospital tonight, I started going through the first of two sets of double automatic doors that lead out of Memorial Hospital’s lobby. As I did, suddenly the Get Smart theme began blasting in my head. Now, there was a time whenever I went through doors that automatically slid open I would imagine myself Maxwell Smart heading for the phone booth elevator. But that was 35 years ago. Tonight, with “dunt-de-duuuuuh-dunt” going through my head, I laughed because, all in all, even with the events of the day, life can still be pretty funny. Certainly mom would see the humor.