***A fable about the last few days of my life***
Sitting on the sofa, I watch some mountain monster hunting show and breathe. The night before had been one of the most torturous of my life. The left side of my back had been seized by some creature’s claws that kept squeezing the muscles over and over again. I was wracked with pain so intense it left me uttering shuddering moans in between its grip. With the help of heating pads and painkillers, I had gotten the thing to let go, and now, in my mind’s eye, I could see it slumbering. I could also see its bony hand loosely draped against my back. I hoped it would stay asleep forever. Then I felt it, a foreboding tickle in my nose. My heart sank as it grew and I realized I was going to sneeze. My shoulders shifted forward, and my back curled over on itself as my nose exploded. I sat in terror waiting to see if it would set off a new series of spasms. I closed my eyes and prayed. I could see it, eyes still closed but its breathing was uneven, and as I watched I saw the whites of its eye appear and then its pupil roll down. It stretched and wrapped its claws around my back again and started to squeeze. I hobbled hunchbacked into the kitchen to get the heating pad again. Hoping a warm blanket would put it back to sleep so that I could sleep tonight. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and I didn’t.
*** A few years ago, I was plagued by back spasms every few months. They had gone away as mysteriously as they appeared and it wasn’t until Monday night that I was reminded just how excruciatingly painful they were. I’ve been pretty much sofa-bound this week, unable to even type because the action of leaning forward would cause the muscle to tighten again. This morning, my back began feeling normal again. I’m still exceedingly cautious in every movement I make. I’m living life at the speed of a tai chi master. ***
Today was another roller coaster of a day. When I walked into my mom’s room she was pretty much awake and breathing on her own. As I walked across her room to put my stuff down I watched her eyes track me across the entire room and then when I squeezed her hand and she squeezed it back I almost burst into tears of relief. She was responsive to questions and doing much better. She was able to breathe on her own for over 5 hours today before she got too tired and they turned the ventilator back up and bumped up the sedation. My sisters and I were all feeling so much more hopeful. Then we learned that they had discovered signs that she was bleeding internally so they are doing a GI scope as we speak to try to find out where it’s coming from. Hopefully she will not need surgery for it. So up and down we go but hopefully we will start having more days of upward recovery in the near future.
Last night my mom was rushed to the hospital. She is 87 now and has congestive heart failure among other ailments. Sitting here alone in the house we share seems so strange. We’ve been in this situation before but for some reason, this time seems different and I’m not sure why. Usually, I’m very worried about her but this time I’m not and I’m not sure how to feel about this. Maybe it’s because I know she is getting the best care and will probably be home in a few days or maybe I’m just resigned to the fact that she is getting older and know she won’t be with us forever. I don’t know. My sisters are handling communicating with her nurses because of my speech, which is fine. But somehow I feel like they have rallied the troops around each other and I’m on the outside of it all. I understand why I feel this way. Several years ago, they got together to talk about mom’s care and left me out of it. Here I was living with our mom and dealing with her medical issues on a daily basis but they felt it was ok to not consult me in any way. It really hurt. I talked to one of my sisters about it and she said that she had no idea I had been left out and promised to do better. And she has but yet here I am. My nerves and emotions are just raw right now and I’m still fighting my bronchitis so that has me at the edge of exhaustion from coughing all night. Anyway, if any of my readers could send prayers and good wishes her way, they would all be very much appreciated. And I will keep you all posted about her condition in the upcoming days.