So I know I posted in February about breaking my ankle in January but then I sort of didn’t follow up with a huge big life altering event, even more so, that occurred shortly after. At the end of February I got a call from my aunt, my mom was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. She was found unconscious and wouldn’t wake up.
My Mom had been living with my Grandfather, taking care of him but then he passed away. She tidied up his apartment and belongings and such and moved from hours away to come stay with me.
It was great having her with me. I had someone to help with the boys, I could leave for work in the morning kind of early and she would either take them to school, which they loved, or they could walk with the sitter. I had a baby sitter. I had company once the kids went to bed. She would do all sorts of chores and helpful things while I was at work. It was really nice. My mom was 5 days short of being 17 when I was born so we’re close in age. Initially she was told she wouldn’t ever have kids but there I was. Even though they then told her I was ectopic and had to be removed, turns out I wasn’t after all. So here I am, an only child.
Anyhow, I was in my cast still, had only just gotten the green light on walking (gradually, doing it a bit more each day) so my cousin rushed over to get me. I found my mom in the emergency department. She was out of it, eyes rolling, sleeping, barely awake. They didn’t know why. She had left at the end of January to go stay with my aunt to undergo chemo and radiation for a while. She didn’t want my boys to see her like that.
They sent a stroke expert in, who said it didn’t appear to be a stroke. She told me she could give a medication that helped reduce the damage if it was a stroke but she wasn’t confident it was and if given wrong my Mom’s brain could bleed. I said don’t give it. I slept in chairs beside her bed.
The next day they did more tests and told me it was in fact a stroke. They moved her to the stroke floor. She spent about 2 weeks out of it. Asleep, non responsive, couldn’t swallow, wasn’t awake enough to eat. They asked me about inserting a feeding tube in her nose to feed her. I said yes. After a while they told me the feeding tube couldn’t stay, she either needed a G-tube to be fed or I needed to think about just taking out the feeding tube all together and ‘letting her go’. The told me on a Wednesday to take a week and think. I spent that weekend talking to my Mom. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what she’d want. She wasn’t awake, couldn’t eat, was in diapers, wasn’t talking, they said this was it for her. When I arrived at the hospital on the Monday she was more awake. Kind of alert. I told the Dr they needed to put the G-tube in. She wasn’t the same patient, I couldn’t say do nothing.
So they did. And then she improved a bit. I told them that she could do things, be challenged. She started to eat. I felt she could stand and walk. They started to do it with her. She could manage it. They got her a wheel chair, she started to boot around in it. Soon they told me she had to leave the floor she was on because she wasn’t ‘rehabilitating’ and they said they’d move her to another hospital where she’d wait for a long term care placement in a nursing home. It happened pretty quickly so they moved her.
It wasn’t as nice at the next hospital, it was dreary. Some of the patients have been there for years. Family doesn’t always come for them. It’s sort of depressing.
I fought and advocated for my Mom to go back to rehab. I asked to take her out, told them she could pivot herself into my van. The physio people came to my car outside to see if she could. First try she just did it. She’s so strong. I fought and fought for her to go back to rehab. We had a meeting. There I was the Special Education teacher who’s usually on the other side of the table leading a meeting, asking for my Mom to get services and things she needed.
They listened and she was moved back for rehab.
She did great. Learned to do some stairs so she could come to my house, and my aunts, and my uncles. Walked more. It was wonderful.
I was going every day for a long time, then every other day. I had to make time for me and take some space as well. Selfishly, even at the moment my aunt called, I had been sitting on my couch painting my nails on that Sunday, thinking about all the things I was going to make and do that week now that I would weight bear and I Was going to be able to get to my craft space in the basement.
I didn’t get to do that. Even still I have a hard time because I feel I should be with her.
I used my broken ankle to not go back to work. At first it was real, my class is high needs with runners and very active kids, I wouldn’t have been much help. As June approached I probably could have gone back but I was so preoccupied with all the decisions I had to make and the emotional side of things it was hard.
I returned to work in September. I have two mornings off in the 5 day cycle so I can go see my mom. I see her when my kids are with their dad. I take her out in the world, I bring her home for overnights. It’s hard work and she’s a bit different but she’s still my mom. She still can’t talk, we’re working on non verbal communication. She seems to be able to read, I gave her my old eye phone. She text (it’s not words) I text her, she reads it and is waiting when I say I’ll arrive, we Facetime and send pictures. It’s just a new way of doing things.
So that’s where I’ve been. I’ve been given more time. It’s a blessing I cherish.