Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG: In Appreciation of Mom



It's time for the first 2019 edition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the rest of the talented bloggers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

                                            In Appreciation of Mom


As I sat by my mom's bedside, I told her how she helped me in ways she hadn't realized.  I explained that it wasn't until I started writing about her humorous adventures that I developed a small but loyal following of bloggers which led to giving me the confidence to put together the anthology, Old Broads Waxing Poetic with Susan Flett Swiderski and a host of gifted writers/poets.

A few years later, I accumulated enough diverse stories to include in a modest portfolio, thus enabling me to get hired as a reporter for a local news website and newspaper - my dream job. But none of this would've been possible without my mom's help.

After I thanked her, Mom replied, "And in all that time I was never a burden."

And my mom kept her word. Even after she endured endless pain from spinal fusion surgery about 10 years ago, I was the cause of my mom's only complaint.

She lived in the multi-level home that my brother and I grew up in, while our home had a first floor bedroom and bathroom, So I insisted that she move in with us for almost a year. But my mom wanted to live on the edge instead of being in my overprotective custody.

She said, "I can't live with you, because you're too nervous that I'll fall every minute. How am I supposed to have any fun?" Mom was about 74 at the time.

Mom's health took a turn for the worse a few months ago. Some of her symptoms included: pneumonia, low hemoglobin which required a blood transfusion, and loss of appetite. She also has Parkinson's Disease.

She was admitted to the hospital on November 18th, but discharged after a few days against our wishes. Though at first she seemed to be doing better, on the day before Thanksgiving she was very weak and didn't recognize my brother. She also was barely eating.

My brother pleaded with the head hospitalist, head nurse and head of patient care to let her stay in the hospital and have more tests to find out why her health wasn't improving, but they insisted on discharging her.

Unfortunately, these strangers who had never met my mom before told him that she had dementia and there was nothing more that they could do for her. He tried to explain that she had all of her faculties before she had taken ill, but they wouldn't listen.

Nine days later  my brother and I agreed to have Mom readmitted to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a collapsed lung and stage 4 lung cancer. Apparently, the hospital hadn't done a CT scan during her prior visit.

She is now in hospice at the nursing home where she's resided for the last three years.Though my mom lost her ability to walk years ago, she never lost her  positive outlook. True to form, she is handling her recent prognosis with grace and dignity.

When I told her she doesn't have to be so brave, she explained that she's grateful to have lived a long life.

My brother and I have tried to spend as much time with our mom as possible. He has been a tremendous help to both of us. Though I tell him not to, he often visits me at the dialysis clinic before heading over to Mom's.

I'm also grateful to my husband and our boys. While my mom was in and out of the hospital, I never once had to ask our grown sons to visit her. They continue to see their beloved Nana frequently which is her greatest joy.

My mom has good days and bad days, but through it all she has never lost her sense of humor. Recently, when my brother asked her to tell me where she'd like to go, she thought for a minute and said, "To the mortician."

But she had talked about wanting to attend the Academy Awards. She always enjoyed the glitz and glamour and would've easily fit in during her heyday.

The other day, Mom noticed that my concealer wasn't blended in properly under my left eye and wanted to fix it. She couldn't believe that I didn't have an emergency supply of Q-tips with me, so she decided to make her own by attaching a cotton ball to a pen. So what if I risked getting poked in the eye, as it was more important to look good than to feel good.

This experience has definitely brought us all closer. My brother and I have spent many nights with our mom, reminiscing, singing her favorite songs and telling her how much we love her.

Growing up we fought about sitting next to our mom on the couch while watching our favorite TV shows. Ever the genius, my brother would always find ways to trick me into leaving the room, so he could steal my seat.

Now we politely take turns sitting next to our mom. Though on some days, Mom could barely speak above a whisper, she said she loves when we fuss over her.

On New Year's Eve, Mom's favorite nurse's aid announced she was going on vacation for a week.  We were all sad, because she's gone above and beyond for our mom and we think of her as a member of the family. Then she told me that my mom asked her to take care of me when she's gone.

In second grade we were asked to write about our best friend. While others were writing about their neighbors or classmates, I wrote about my mom.

I hope to continue writing about my courageous mom and all of her witticisms, Fortunately, she hasn't tried to throw me out of her room yet.