Page 5

I realized I’ve “rambled” and I’ve been told people on social media generally don’t read “something” more than a few lines long. If you’ve read this far – thank you.

I’m trying to be brief and I’ve left a lot of info and details and for the sake of brevity I’ll continue to do. But, if you want details let me know.

However, to continue on with my Mom’s story, I’d like to share her ICU (the first of many) experience.

So, the next day, I go to the hospital; my mom is still on the ventilator, but mostly awake and displaying a lot of anxiety and (to me) some fear. I tried to comfort her and explain what happened the best I could. I can’t recall if it was that day or the next but as she became more and more alert, she “fought” the machine and had tried to pull out her endotracheal tube (google if you don’t know.) So, her arm had to be restrained (tied down) which for me was very disturbing. She became more and more agitated (I assume because the sedation drugs were “wearing off.”) She was shaking her head back and forth; trying to get her arms free; flailing legs. The nurses tried to calm her down. I think they couldn’t (or preferred not to) give her any more sedatives or tranquilizers. There’s a specific reason for this with people who have respiratory issues / ailments. I’ll probably explain further along.

I obviously stood out of the way of the nurses and doctors. Observing this was excruciating. I’d never seen such an intense look of fear in my mother’s eyes. I felt so helpless. But, a strong thought came to me that now seems so obvious that I don’t know why I didn’t immediately think of it; and, I guess (in psychology jargon) I think I was “transferring”; Because of my strong and strict Catholic upbringing I had (and still do) an intense fear of death. My mom (raised in a strict German Catholic family and community) was far more a devoted Catholic then I ever was. I knew what was her problem. I asked a nurse if I could talk to Mom up close. She said yes. I asked Mom if she thought she was dying; she shook her head yes (one can’t talk when “tubed.”) As I stroked her forehead I repeatedly told her she was not dying but needed help breathing (i.e. the tube and ventilation.) Once I had her convinced, she calmed down.

I divided my time between the nursing home and the hospital – spending most of my time with my mom including staying overnight in her ICU room. She eventually got better; got off the ventilator; was transferred to a cardiac ward. Even though she got stronger and her lung problems got better, she was still afraid and asked me to stay with her at the hospital.

Initially, I slept in a recliner (not recommended) but eventually Mom’s nurse got me a cot. Mom was in the hospital several weeks. To me, she returned to “normal.” I know she could walk because she’d walk to the bathroom. Eventually, it was time for her to be discharged. Guess where my brothers took her – to the nursing home with the same modus operandi (as with my dad) that when she could walk (on her own) she could go home. She never did (go home that is.)

 

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