Happy to be Sad #5 From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and welcome back to this bittersweet series. Grab your coffee and let’s get back to where we were.

So it took me about twenty minutes to make it from the MediCal office to Foothill Nursing, and I don’t even think I was speeding – well, maybe just a little. I walked down the hall towards her room and poked my head in. She was sitting in her wheelchair, her head bobbing up and down, her hand barely holding a spoon. “What the heck. . .”

I ran into the room, “Mom.” Her head jerked back and she opened her eyes. She smiled immediately and then her mouth dropped open. “Kimberly, where have you been? I’ve been waiting a long time.” I kneeled down and looked her in the eyes. “Mom, I had to work and then I went to the MediCal office for you.” “Oh, that’s right. I forgot.”

No worries, I said. It was obvious she wasn’t going to be eating much and just as I realized this, the nurse practitioner was right there. She tried talking with my mom, but her attempts were like helium balloons thrown up into the air. Mom was obviously weak and tired. Ty, the nurse practitioner, told her she needed to keep her oxygen on because that would prevent her from feeling so weak and tired.

As Mom dozed off, Ty talked very frankly with me, explaining that she had had little to no improvement in the previous three days with physical therapy, that her lifestyle was catching up with her and she truly felt she would make no improvement. She told me that within a couple more days, a decision would have to be made as far as placement.

My eyes filled up but I refused to believe that she wouldn’t get better. Call it swimming up De-Nial River, or just being hopeful, but I really thought she’d get stronger, that if we kept the oxygen going into her, she’d make it out of there stronger one day soon. Besides, we had lots of time to make up for.

Ty left me with my hopes and struggles, and then another nurse came in to put Mom to bed, but not before I told her she had to quit taking the oxygen out of her nose, that it had to stay in so we could get her strong and out of there. I turned on the CD player and I played a Celtic Worship CD, which she truly loved. I sat with her for a bit and then when she was fast asleep, I kissed her forehead and left for the day.

That night, when I returned from dinner with George, there were two voicemails on my home phone, one from my mom’s nurse and one from mom. She was definitely out of it and wanting me to come pick her up. I called right away and explained to her nurse that they were to call my cell phone immediately from now on if they didn’t get me at home. I asked if I could talk to her, and the RN was so kind, giving me his cell phone number so I could talk with her because the patients’ rooms don’t have phones, and this was the easiest thing to do rather than drag her out of bed, into a wheelchair and to the phone.

Anyway, her nurse put me on speaker, and within minutes she had both her nurse and me laughing. She kept asking if it was okay to go potty in the bed, because she was wearing a diaper. I told her she had to get out of that diaper and get stronger so she could use her new chonies I had gotten her.

You should have heard her incredulous tone of voice: “What’s chonies?” Her nurse cracked up at that one and from there, the conversation was full of giggling and jokes. She fell asleep with me still on speaker, and when I hung up, I was so thankful that I had listened to my voicemail and gotten those messages. I never wanted my mom to feel lonely again.

Thursday, George and I got to Mom about the same time. It was funny because both of us couldn’t wait to see her. Watching him interact with her made me fall in love with him all over again. He was wonderful with her, gentle, engaging, and caring, and I could tell my mom really enjoyed him.

We took her for a ride in her wheelchair and we even went outside and sat for about 20 minutes, and she was so appreciative, but after that short time, she was done and wanted to go back to her room and inside because it had begun to get chilly. We got her upstairs without any bumping into walls or doors. I was getting better with the wheelchair driving! We sat and talked with her for a while, and she called me something she’s called me for years, only in years past, it was always said with such sarcasm. She said, “That’s my Pollyanna.” She had actually called me that the third day in the hospital, and the usual sarcasm and venom were in her tone. But this time, there was none of that. She was so sweet, and kind, so instead of getting defensive, like I have in the past, I looked at her and said, “Mom, what do you mean when you call me that?” She looked up and smiled and very succinctly said, “Someone who’s always happy; someone who always sees the positive side of things.” Tears stung my eyes and dripped down my cheeks. “I guess that’s better than being a Negative Nelly, huh, Mom?” I smiled as I kissed her cheek.

She looked up at me. “Have I told you how much I love you, Kimberly?” (She had actually said this exact same thing to me at least twice each visit!) “Yes, Mom, you have. As a matter of fact, you’re getting really good at telling me that. I hope you know I love you, too.” She smiled that sweet smile and started to drift off to sleep, that is until we put the music on, and then she came too for a smile and then drifted back again.

I was going to try and finish up this series, but you know what? I can’t hurry through the last day of her life, so please, join me on Tuesday for the final blog in this series. In the meantime, have an amazing weekend, and may the memories you create bringing in the New Year bring a smile to your heart and HIS for years to come. Monday, we’ll have our monthly W.O.W. (words of wisdom) and then I’ll try and wrap this up on Tuesday. My new year’s wish for you is that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control would lead you to and through 2011. . .

Eternally grateful for you,


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One Response to “Happy to be Sad #5 From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power”

  1. Lilli Valencia Chavez says:

    That was beautiful, Kim. Thanks for sharing……..my parents are getting older, so I really appreciate this story about your mom.