The other day my mom went to the hospital.
She had three or four episodes (which for privacy reasons I cannot go into here)
And the paramedics came in the ambulance and took her to the hospital.
It happens but I do not know about it right away. I am sitting around doing mostly nothing, even though I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING.
I look at my phone and I see Aunt has called. I listen to the message which says she is concerned about my mother. She says she spoke to my mother and she did not sound right.
I call my mother. She tells me some of the things that have happened. She does not sound right but she does not want to go to the hospital. After a while we hang up.
Next day I call to check on her and my dad answers her phone. I think: Why is my dad answering my mom’s phone? He hates technology. He hates phones. Even though my brother bought him a phone, he never uses it. In fact he usually does not even know where it is.
“Hi dad.” I say.
“Your mother is in the hospital.” he says.
Just like that.
“What?!” I say.
He goes on to explain the events of the last three days leading up to the 911 call.
“Oh my GOD!” I say.
“Is she in the ICU?” I ask?’
“I am not sure.” he says.
I know this may be unbelievable, but this is my dad. This is how he is. In between texting with my brother I ask my dad for the name of the hospital. This he does know.
Here I have a flash of my mother dying and I am not there.
I get ready to call the hospital. Things have not been so great lately for the family down in Florida — which is pretty much the whole family except me. My brother and his wife have taken on A LOT down there. My parents have moved in with them in his new house. And then months later moved back out.
Right before they move out I talk to my mother. I talk to my brother.
Clearly this is an untenable situation.
I feel terrible because there is nothing I can really do from here except listen.
And so I call the hospital. I get transferred around and finally get OBSERVATION. I ask Nice Nurse if my mom can speak now and if I can talk to my her.
Nice Nurse says she has a few things to do and then she will check on her and call me back. She tells me she has been trying to get in touch with my dad, but she cannot. This is not surprising because even with hearing aids my dad can barely hear. I give her my mom’s cellphone number and I give her mine.
I wait but the call back from Nice Nurse but it does not come.
I try again but no one answers.
I call my dad back. I tell him, “You have mom’s phone.”
He says, “I don’t know what I have. The lady at the hospital handed me this.” OMG.
But he is 83 so I let it go.
“Is it plugged into the wall?” I ask. “Dad you have to plug it into the wall to charge.”
He tells me, “Yes, it is plugged into the wall.”
I say, “Keep it there.”
Meanwhile I am texting back and forth with my brother. We talk on the phone but he is working. We still don’t know what has happened to my mom.
I call back and I get my mom. She tells me, “They are doing some tests and also testing for Corona virus.”
I just try to stay calm. She sounds disoriented. We get off the phone.
I THINK I call or text my brother here, but everything is so mixed up I am not sure.
Next day and some of the results come back. She has not had a stroke. Thank GOD.
Now we wait on the virus.
The test comes back: Negative.
I ask my mom, “So what is it then?”
“I don’t know.” She says, “They think it is some kind of virus.”
“Some kind of virus?! What kind of explanation is that?” I ask.
“I don’t know.” she says.
She STILL doesn’t sound right.
I tell her, “You still don’t sound right.”
“Still?” she says.
“YES.” I say.
“Maybe I need to sit up.” she says.
I do not think this has anything to do with the way she sounds, which is sluggish and slurry. But she tries it anyway. I wish I could go there and find a doctor or nurse to talk to. But here we are, in the middle of Covid-19
She starts talking about how she can’t stand it there and how she wants to go home the next day.
I do not think this is a good idea.
I talk with my brother more. He and his wife are very good people. They have offered so much. I wish I could be there with them.
And so it is today. And I am waiting to hear what is next. If I do not here very soon, I will track down the Nice Nurse or whoever is on shift.
Reader, I have not had the easiest relationship with my mother. And I have not been an easy daughter to raise. I pretty much wildly did whatever I wanted to. I do not know how my parents slept at night. Through the miracle of therapy and Recovery, I have been able to make amends for my part. It felt very good to tell them, “I am sorry.”
I have had a distant relationship with my brother. We are nine years apart. I feel I should have held us together somehow. I miss my brother. I want to talk to him more often. I want to see his family more than once a year. I want to be able to see his kids grow. I want to see their accomplishments and soothe their hurts. I want my kids to know his kids. Really know them.
But this is not our situation. It stinks to be so far away.
And now we are here.
At this place.
I don’t know what is next.
I do know these relationships have shaped, in part, the me that is me.
I know people who have lost their mothers far too soon. Way sooner than this.
I am afraid.
Is one ever ready to lose someone in their life?
I think not.
I think not.
At the time of the writing of this blog I get a text: Jerry Mundis has died of Covid-19.
There are many, many others. This is not the first time many people have lost their lives at the same time. It won’t be the last.
We are here for a brief time reader. I start to cry because in some way, all these souls leaving the planet at once is almost too much to bear. I think about all creatures, everywhere, living and dying. Today I will practice kindness and compassion And remember, REMEMBER, love is the most important thing. Yes, it is.