It has been 7 months since my mother’s back surgery. It has been 6 months since a doctor told us she “has 2 years to live”. This month is her 56th birthday. This month she has been in the hospital twice for week stays. This month we have had several meetings with hospice about setting up care at home. This week my mother took her third EMS ride since her COPD was diagnosed. This week I almost lost my mother.
I am thankful for the time I have left with her, but I feel that it is being pulled away from me. It’s all going too fast. The days are not long enough. I feel like I am being robbed. There is so much I need my mother for and I am afraid of a time when I won’t have her anymore.
She is finally stable enough to go home today. Hospice will be back out to my parents home with weekend. But I am petrified of the time in between. Hearing someone scream for air is scary and painful. Terms like “air hungry” “DNR/DNI” and “End of Life Care” have me crying in my sleep and jerking awake at night in tears and hyperventilating.
She keeps saying how sorry she is. How she wishes that any one of us had been able to get through to her about her smoking. I remember begging her “Mommy please quit smoking,” after seeing her father die a painful death due to lung cancer. The difference? He was an old man. In his late 70’s. It was his time to go. She is young, but she always assumed she would have plenty of time like he did. We all have to die of something, she would say. Now I see the fear in her eyes over dying. I see the regret. She knows she will never know my future children. I’ll be lucky if she is at my wedding.
And of course all of this is happening while my brother still smokes 2 packs a day after his massive heart attack at age 38. He has a chance to fix things for his self, and it hurts to see him not taking it. But I know you can’t make a person change.
I’ll end this by saying that I am so thankful for the bipap machine that my mom was on in the emergency room. I know it saved her life. I know it was a close call. I am also thankful for a close friend Shay, who came to be with me while waiting for EMS. I’m also thankful for the whole Fowlerville Fire Department, and Livingston County EMS. I am thankful for ER nurse Linda that held me while I cried at the foot of my mothers bed and ICU nurse Jim that took special care to update her files (that had medications she hadn’t taken in over 6 years on it) and giving us more information about her condition in a half hour than all of the doctors have given us in at least a few months. I am thankful for my future mother in law that came and let my dog out, and made us dinner and is here for me in every way she can be. I am thankful for my cousin who drives out to sit with me in the hospital room. I am thankful for my friends I know I can cry on. I am thankful for my dad who has been a rock for me and my brother even though you must be in so much emotional pain your self. I am thankful for Kyle who holds me and lets me be the emotional wreck that I am on a daily basis. Thank you everyone.