TOO MANY MILES APART
My mother so sweetly whispered these words, "how much do you love me, for I love you more than anything in the whole wide world." I questioned how did she go from telling me two days ago that you can never love too much, to now lying in a hospital bed unable to move her leg .
Intellectually, I do know and understand that life can change in a split second, yet the doctor's diagnosis of mom's knee needing a replacement, really took me by surprise. It actually sent shock waves through my body.
When Elaine her caregiver, entered mom's home on Tuesday morning she found her unable to walk on one leg. Her home was in shambles and there was green jello found on her living room rug, in her bed and all over her clothes.
Was she having another UTI ? She had just finished her antibiotics a few days ago. In addition
she was unable to walk. Elaine was afraid that she would urinate all over herself, since she could not help mom to the bathroom. She said that nothing looked bruised, although she thought it was best for mom to go to the emergency room. I agreed and she called 911. Elaine then followed the ambulance as the medics took mom to the hospital.
Several hours later as I was keeping abreast of the situation, I was told that mom had fluid on her knee. The doctor said this condition has probably been going on for sometime now. Shock # 2. Yet just a few hours earlier while speaking to mom she sounded good, as we giggled about the green jello. Even as I questioned her, she said she had no pain in her leg. My mom has complained about having back pains for as long as I can remember, but never once did I nor my brother or her caregivers, ever hear of her complaining about pains in her leg.
While speaking to the doctor he was discussing surgery, except not recommending it at her age. Instead he thought what would be best would be to drain her knee. The physical therapist also thought that she should go to a nursing home for rehabilitation. My brother said that maybe this was a blessing in disguise, since we are presently trying to get her into one of these facilities .
Being a long distance caregiver has me now feeling lost, somewhere in outer space. I just wanted to jump into my car, rush over to her, and hold her hand as she waited in the emergency room. How many days would it take me to drive 1200 miles ? It's moments like this that living so many miles apart becomes more difficult.
I continued to phone the hospital and was updated every few hours by her caregiver. I was able to speak to mom again and I joked with her that she might be able to meet a doctor and marry him. Mom said, " Oh no, I have a husband who is so sweet, kind and handsome." "Okay mom what's his name?" His name is "Gilbert Jeffrey Elian." As she said his name I was touched, for this is my brother. When I shared this with Gil, he was surprised. He commented that although he visits her every week, she usually does not remember his name. Well today, he had the honors of being her one and only.
The fact that she does not remember my dad (who passed away eighteen years ago) her husband of fifty years, does not upset me. What upsets me is everything that I do know. Fact-Mom would be moving into a nursing home quicker than I imagined. I wonder if she will also be in a wheelchair or will she be able to walk again? Somehow she always has been able to bounce back. I have told her several times that she is the "bionic woman".
Yesterday and last night I was feeling all right, yet when I awoke this morning I felt heavy and sad . I have been weeping on and off for several days. This is quite different from how I do handle mom's illness. I feel like a part of me is missing. There is a pang in my heart that will not go away. Yes everyone in similar situations have shared with me that this is best for her. I cannot escape feeling guilty and questioning how can I do this to her.
Although my heart is aching for how many miles we live apart, I need to be thankful that my mom is still alive . I have choices, and I know that I must return to the world of being grateful and celebrate who this woman is, and how she deeply touches my heart. It was not always like this yet I now feel privileged to be her daughter.