Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trying To Get Back To Normal

It's been 3 weeks since I made my last post when I was leaving for Arizona to be with my mom who had just suffered a stroke.  While I was there Brian ended up in the ER here in Honduras with 3 herniated discs in his cervical spine.  I am just now starting to get some of my energy and focus back and will try and recap, as best I can, what transpired.

Wednesday, August 25th, I received a phone call from Sandy, my mother's friend and the woman that has largely been taking care of her for the last 14 months.  The night before my mother had suffered a stroke while they were in Blythe, California.  She was taken to the hospital in Parker, Arizona and after confirming the stroke and verifying she was medically stable, made the 4 hour transfer via ambulance to Banner Baywood Hospital in Mesa.  She was awake but had no memory about what had happened, where she was, or even the year, but she told Sandy she wanted me there.  So the next day I got on a plane and flew to Phoenix, arriving at the hospital about 9:00 pm. 

The doctor came in Friday morning and evaluated her.  When she arrived at the hospital Tuesday night she had some right sided weakness, but by Friday it had all but disappeared.  The only lasting effect was her cognition in that she was not able to remember anything for more than about 2 minutes.  I stayed in Phoenix for 10 days and during that time saw no real change in here cognitive level.  Some days it would seem to be a bit better for an hour or so, but truly it never changed.  After a medical conference I was informed, and had already figured out, that she would not be allowed to live alone again.  My brothers and sister, who all live in Missoula, Montana, and I all agreed that since she needed to go into a care facility it would be better to move her back to Montana where most of her family lives.  They began the legwork of finding a facility there that would meet her needs and was within her budget, I looked at facilities in Phoenix in case one was needed for the short term until a vacancy came available in MT. 

They were able to find a facility that met all the criteria with availability.  A 2nd floor, corner unit studio apartment with lots of windows and light was rented and the furniture from her old apartment in Montana was moved in.  My sister flew to Phoenix, meeting me and mom at the gate.  With a short 30 minute turn around, my sister then flew back to Montana taking mom to her new home. 

She didn't recognize any of her belongings, but thought they were nice.  And she requested to be able to not go to the dining room for her meals for the first week so she could rest as she felt exhausted.  My siblings visit often and she seems to be adjusting, although it is impossible to know how much is registering and on what level.

Several months ago I started a post but never found the words to finish it.  It was titled "The Price of Obedience."  Here is what I had written at that time:

Mathew 10:34-39 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Luke 14:26-28 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.

I grew up in the Spokane Washington area with my parents and 4 siblings. Being the youngest by many years, except for some vague memories, I only remember myself and a brother 6 years older living with our parents. And other than a couple of years during my teens when I was a complete jerk, my mom and I had a great relationship. She was a cool mom, we hung out, went shopping, went out for hot fudge sundaes. The older I got, the closer we got. We are alike in many ways and she always understood me, even when the decisions I made ended in disaster.

My parents lived through World War II. As I learned about their lives, the hardships they faced and overcame, the work ethic they possessed, their committment to each other and their family, I developed a deep love, respect, and admiration for them. I knew they weren't perfect, but I knew they did the best they knew how to do. They never quit, they never gave up, they endured. During my 20's I spent some time volunteering in a nursing home and that experience solidified my desire to have my parents live with me when they became too old to care for themselves.

As I watched my sister walk down the jetway with my mom, I started to cry.  When we were preparing to leave for Honduras, I knew this day would come.  I just didn't think it would be so soon after we arrived.  Preparing to go onto the field I knew I would have to leave the care of my mother to my siblings, and I hated that.  So I shoved it to the back of my mind and tried not to think about it, tried to pretend that in that little town of Quartzsite Arizona, time was standing still and my mom was not getting older, not getting weaker, not becoming unable to take care of herself.  She would be okay until the Lord brought us back to the states and I could bring her home with me.  The price of obedience.  Watching her walk onto that plane with my sister, I paid one of the biggest prices yet for being obedient to God's call. 

And so now I am trying to get back to normal.  I arrived back in Honduras on Sunday September 5th and took over being nurse to Brian, who is now well on the mend thanks to physical therapy and traction.  Back to getting the kids dressed, ready, and off to school on time, helping with homework, making the meals.  Back to church, and starting a new ladies bible study.  Back to life, that isn't quite normal anymore, after saying goodbye to my mom. 


beckyc said...

Wow! I'm amazed at your eloquent post but more amazed by you, yourself. I know this has been a very stressful time and I pray that your depression won't raise its ugly head. But if it does, then you know you have folks praying for you and your mom is in good hands.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you have had a tough month. So sorry to hear about your Mom and having to leave her in the care of your sister. While my Mom was in a nursing home in Grand Rapids, MI, my sister and brother largely took care of her since we were in ministry across the country. I always felt a little guilty about that. Interestingly, each time she was in the hospital I was in Grand Rapids visiting so I could take my turn. Remember you're serving the King of kings. Your sister and other family members will do a fine job caring for your Mom....Marilyn Kaynor

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