Pandemic day #493….or so it feels. This has been such an strange time for me. I really think all the downtime created a lethargy and a melancholy in my being that I had been outrunning for a couple of years. I’ve no doubt felt rested physically, but my soul has become agitated with so much time to ponder life. I wrote earlier that I have not been inspired to write during this time, which seems like such a contradiction considering I’ve had all the time in the world, but the last few days have turned on a light bulb. Why? My mother has unexpectedly been in the hospital.
This past Saturday, after a long afternoon of yard work, we were settling down for an evening in front of the TV, and starting to think about dinner. I was showered but had done little else with myself. (Like most folks, our pandemic wardrobe has been on the comfy side.) Of course, that’s when the phone rang. My mother had been experiencing some severe tremors in her arms and legs since the evening before and they had finally decided she needed medical help. The next couple of hours were a rush of figuring out how to get her help since they are still on lockdown in their retirement community, transport by ambulance, and meeting her at the ER. To my great relief I was allowed in since I was her Medical Power of Attorney.
So here we were. I had not seen my mother in 2 months due to the restrictions and this wasn’t how I envisioned our reunion. I apologized to her for my bedraggled appearance. (I guess we never quit worrying about our mother’s opinion.) We then proceeded to spend several hours in the ER as they sorted through all the possibilities. They ruled out stroke fairly quickly, thankfully, but were stumped as to what was going on in my mother’s frail, 80-year-old body. Around 11:00pm it was decided to admit and observe her overnight. There was much discussion about whether I could stay with her. We were fortunate to get a doctor on the floor who realized it would be to everyone’s benefit to have me there. I could answer the medical history questions that my mom can no longer remember. I could help keep her in bed since she was a definite fall risk. I could sooth her confusion over the current situation. Bless the people who can think sensibly about a problem, rather than sticking to the rules just for rules sake.
Let me insert here my observations of hospital staying for the non-patient. Ugh, not much fun. OK, I know it’s not fun for the patient either, but at least the patient has a bed. The non-patient gets a fold out chair with hard arms, a blanket and pillow, and no pharmaceuticals to help you sleep. I had brought nothing with me, as in toothbrush, hairbrush, a change of clothes….nothing. And I stayed that way for a good 24 hours. I was also required to wear a mask and not leave her room. I felt absolutely grubby by the time I went home for a shower. Not to mention starving! I’d missed dinner the night before and had only nibbles off her trays all day. And no coffee!! I was fairly cranky after day one.
We’ve now been here four days and, fingers crossed, we are going home today. The consensus seems to be that it was a medicine issue that caused the tremors, though she’s been through every possible test. She will be going home with some prescription adjustments and orders to follow-up with her own doctors. She will also be going home to even tighter restrictions. She and daddy both will be required to stay inside their cottage for 14 days. No walking the dog, no getting the mail, no working in the community garden. I’ve decided I can’t cope with trying to explain and enforce this with my daddy. That’s what we are paying Aldersgate for. Someone else can police his actions. It won’t be pleasant.
So why did this episode wake me up, so to speak? Well, I was NEEDED. I think I have spent the last 3 months feeling completely at loose ends. And I had earned it, no doubt. The last couple years in the life of our family have been stressful. I’ve written so much about my parents and Hurricane Harvey, my daughter and her move back to NC with two little ones, the very premature birth of grandson #3, the illness and death of my brother-in-law shortly after they moved to NC, not to mention the assorted medical issues of aging parents. We seem to have just moved from crisis to crisis, with little chance to catch our breath along the way. I had grown accustomed to living in survival mode. And as I spent those months coming down from perpetual anxiety, I was left feeling a bit empty, a girl with no purpose. I’ve come to realize that while I can do without constant stress, I kinda like and need to be needed. This is my season in life, to care for those around me. My body and soul were in shock from the sudden tilting of our world.
I certainly pray for our world to calm down. I would never hope for illness or hospitalization for anyone in my family. I don’t crave stress. But… I need my family. I want to be able to love on my loved ones as much and as long as I can. I know my parents won’t always be with me, and I don’t want to regret anything. Emotions are complicated. Mine have certainly been in a turmoil. But these last few days have felt strangely right. I’m back in my place. I feel an odd energy that all is right with my world. Go figure.