Somewhere, deep down in the logical part of the mind, most of us probably realize that we are likely to outlive our parents.
It’s the natural order of things for parents to cross over the rainbow bridge before their offspring, even if it doesn’t always work out that way.
Still, it’s not something we ever really think about.
At least until something smacks you in the face to remind you that the person you have known longer than anyone else in the world is probably not always going to be there.
My mother is a fierce and independent woman. I was going to say that she’s fiercely independent, which she is, but she’s really just as much of either of those words on their own.
And she’s Independent.
As far back as I can remember, she has never liked to ask for help, and has a hard time accepting it when it’s offered.
She would rather figure out her own way in life, thank you very much.
Everything is just fine (even when it isn’t.)
And Lord help you if you cross her.
Since I was a kid, and to this day, I have known it was smarter to avoid making her mad, but I also knew that she was on my side 100%, and if she thought anyone was messing with me, they would most likely be getting a new orifice of some kind.
So, I wasn’t exactly prepared to sit by my unconscious mother’s bedside while she was connected to I don’t even know how many machines that were controlling and monitoring every aspect of her being alive.
While trying to get her to respond to the instructions of the intensive care staff as they lowered her sedation in hopes that she could breathe on her own, I used the words “Try to stay calm,” about a million times using my best impersonation of a therapist voice.
Anyone who knows me or my mother would know this is ridiculous.
“Calm” is not a word you would use to describe my people.
But we needed her to be calm and still enough so as not to tear out the large incision across the midline of her abdomen. At the same time, we needed her to be alert enough to show she could cough, swallow and whatever other tests help medical staff determine that she was ready to remove the tube down her throat.
She wasn’t. Not that day anyway.
It was another day of trying on and off and a night of rest before she was ready.
I’ve never been under general anesthesia, but watching her coming out from that state was like seeing someone having a bad dream, grimacing and thrashing in their sleep, but they can’t quite wake up.
There were points they needed restraints to keep her from pulling out any of the bazillion remaining tubes she was connected to, and she still managed to rip one out twice.
In her dazed state, she tried convincing both me and my Boy Child to help her escape because “they were trying to kill her.”
I was told that this state wasn't abnormal for this process,
but it was certainly not easy to see.
The following days had bits of small progress, but overall it was painful to witness.
I’m sure though, that it was far more painful for her to endure, although she doesn’t remember.
And I can’t forget.
While I feel an enormous sense of relief knowing that she’s the hands of good medical professionals, and getting access to the care she needs...
I’m still trying to process the reality that out of the blue, my mother almost died.
One day she was not feeling well, the next, she was in extremely serious condition.
She had been similarly sick before, but never wanted to see a doctor.
In all honesty, our medical system is rather awful and I prefer to avoid the germs, expense and all around unpleasantness that come with medical facilities myself.
I agree that doctor visits are expensive and time consuming; they can be impersonal and some are legitimately demeaning.
The “solutions” can feel one size fits all and lean toward costly pharmaceuticals with side effects that require more costly pharmaceuticals.
Plus, there’s often sick people in the waiting room.
And it just feels gross to be there.
But still...sometimes, you just have to suck it up and do what you need to do.
When I went to check on her one day after she had been sick, didn’t send her usual good morning text and wasn’t answering her phone, I honestly wondered if I would find her dead, or if I would have to coerce her into seeing a doctor.
Thankfully, she knew she needed help and was willing to receive it.
There isn’t really any doubt that she would have died if she hadn’t gotten it.
The thoughts, feelings, questions and lessons that are coming out of this whole ordeal are a like some sort of never ending waterfall/ whirlpool combo that keeps spinning me into more intense and deeper water.
Many years ago, one of my co-workers was rafting down a river when she fell out of the boat and into a Class V rapid.
I remember her describing the whirlpool that spun her around and around, in vertical circles, keeping her head underwater long enough that she began to accept that she might not ever breathe air again.
But then, the same force that had been holding her under the water shot her up, out and into the air.
The river was done with her, and she splashed to the surface and floated towards the boats that were waiting to help.
Life is like that sometimes. This, I know.
Even if it’s way easier to get caught up in brooding over what lead to this mess in the first place and how huge and overwhelming the whole thing really is, I’m trying really hard (and needing to remind myself 5 million times a day) to focus on what I do hope to see, and the potential positive changes that can come out of this.
I'm trying to choose love over fear.
Multiple doctors and nurses have used the phrase “wake up call” along with “no quick, easy fix.”
I know that I can’t control the future any more than my coworker could control the river.
All I can do is try to keep looking towards the light ~
because that’s where I want to be.
That’s where the air is.
If you're prone to sending out prayers or positive thoughts, we'd be happy to have them sent our way.
And always, Hug your people tight~
Writer, Artist, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, FunSchooling Facilitator / Former Goat-Herding HeadMistress for our Mostly Happy Homeschool, Semi-Crazy Chicken Lady and Mamacita Extraordinaire to a couple of Cage Free Kids.