Now where was I? Oh yes, the Saturday before New Years. My in-laws had just left and we were trying to recover from the craptastic Christmas we had endured.
As Sunday started, we were starting to feel like the worst had passed.
Oh, how wrong we were.
We attended church and started out for a nice lunch and to accomplish some errands. Both of us were feeling better and we needed to get back on track. Lunch was great, but, as we were doing some after Christmas shopping, starting to feel “normal” again, I got a phone call from my dad.
“Mom’s in the hospital,” he said and then went right into a hacking coughing fit.
“You don’t sound much better,” I said.
They both had the flu. And with my mom’s COPD/Emphysema she had landed in the hospital. Dad would go to the doctor in the morning, but he couldn’t go to the hospital for Mom.
We left our purchases and headed to the ER.
She was doing okay, but needed rest. We left her and the nurses to do their thing and tried to get our chores done before a new week began. We checked on Dad and made him eat.
After a few days in the hospital, Mom wasn’t getting any better. My energy supply was once again running low. My freelance work had taken off early in the week and while I was glad for the work – I really needed some rest. But it was not forthcoming. The emotional strain was too much… there was no relief.
Finally New Years Eve arrived and hubs and I planned on taking a much needed break with some friends and some libations. Although we were tired, we needed the time away from the stress.
But just as we were heading out I got the dreaded call from the nurse. My relief from the stress would not be.
“Your mom is asking for you,” she said, “We had to put the breathing mask on her and she is a bit upset.”
We packed up ourselves and, once again, headed to the hospital. Thoughts of NYE parties put on hold – we hoped only for a bit.
4.5 hours later, we were climbing into bed 30 minutes before midnight. Mom had refused to let us leave and had been upset for the rest of the evening. She ate only a tiny amount of food before they had to put her back on the mask – something her claustrophobia was not liking. But when her oxygen levels dipped below 85 (normal breathers are at 99-100 and she is typically at least a 90) it was the “last ditch effort” they could try. (I can’t go into more here now… it was a very difficult night for me. And for her. I thought I was losing my mother. She thought she was dying. I couldn’t call my father because he couldn’t come anyway and I felt like I was being disloyal to him for not letting him know. My fear was that she would die and he would never forgive me. The more we stood in her room, the worse it seemed. She couldn’t speak. She labored for breath, eyes wild with fear, and I cried silently. I called on prayer warriors all over for help. Thankfully… God listened.)
We cajoled, consoled and cared for her as much as we could – thoughts of parties now long forgotten. Finally – at 10:30 – I told Mom I could take no more. She was told she’d be on the mask all night, but we couldn’t stay. My own immune system was drastically low and I would do no good to her or Dad if I got sick. We prayed together, cried together and told each other we loved one another. We bid our leave and she said she understood.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done… to leave her there. Not knowing if I’d ever see her alive again. I was numb.
John and I went home and drank. We stayed up just enough to see the New Year come in, in our bed, side by side holding hands with me crying, and then we turned out the lights.
I didn’t sleep well.
I kept my cell phone on all night in case and checked it sporadically through the night. By morning, I was just happy that another phone call had not come in.
Slowly, we came around in the morning and did our best to get more chores accomplished. By mid day, I was exhausted, but we needed to go see her. I needed to face the music and watch her decline. I would need to call Dad today.
But when we arrived…the change was startling.
She was off the mask, up and alert. Her oxygen levels were almost as good as mine. Her nurse was encouraging and said “her levels are great!” She even got up and walked around the floor a few times! It was nothing short of a miracle. God had answered our prayers – ALL our prayers.
Today (Friday), she was better still. Dad finally got to see her and there is talk she will come home soon. I’m astounded that she is surviving. It might not be much… she might struggle even more now that her lungs have taken another beating… but she’s with us. She’s here.
God is good.