About three years before my mom officially died, she took a downward turn and I blogged about it on LiveJournal. I was on LiveJournal back then. I know! I know! It’s like admitting you were on MySpace.
Anyway, this is what I wrote:
My mom went into the hospital yesterday. She was bleeding a lot (in a gross way) and her hemoglobin was really low. Last night she threw up blood. They’re giving her an endoscopy to try to locate the bleeding source. She’s diabetic. Her diabetes gave her anemia. Her anemia gave her a heart attack awhile ago. Her diabetes also gave her (a non-drinker pretty much – like 3 drinks a year) liver disease.
She’s in ICU. Any positive energy would be great. Thanks.
And all these people posted and sent love.
The next day, I printed out all those comments and brought them into the ICU and showed my mom and I wrote about that, too:
I saw my mom yesterday and right before she went completely lost it, I showed her all of your comments (I hope you don’t mind) and she started crying and said, “All those people? They’re thinking about me?”
And I said, “Yes.”
And then she sort of clutched the paper print-outs and sniffed.
About a half hour later she seriously lost it. The hospital nurse asked me to help restrain her because they were short on orderlies. Let me tell you my little mother is one strong person when she’s lost it. Let me also tell you that my mother is not usually someone who acts like that.
It’s because she now has Hepatic Encephalopathy.
Which is seriously bad news.
When she finally (after hours of wild anger and thrashing and swearing) fell asleep she looked so sweet. I got to leave then and eat. We hadn’t eaten that day. I forgot about the whole food concept. But while I was gone, she woke up again and got worse and started punching and biting people.
They had to put big-time restraints on her.
She is refusing to take medicine to help get the ammonia levels in her (This is what’s making her act like this) back down. My brother has power of attorney and nobody could reach him. I got him finally. He’s flying in.
If her levels don’t go down, she could have a stroke. She could also die.
I really don’t want my mom to die.
I really don’t want her to be miserable.
I really don’t want her to be so sick.
And I really don’t want my last memories of her to be like yesterday.
I also think that hospital orderlies are the super unsung heroes of the universe. Nurses, too.
I also think that all of you guys are unsung heroes. Commenting and thinking about my mom meant a lot to her yesterday and it will always-always-ALWAYS mean a lot to me.
I firmly believe that my mom seeing that all those people cared about what happened to her made a difference and helped make her strong when everything went wrong. She got to hold onto those papers and that memory and love.
We all want to be seen and cared for. We all want to know that we have a team rooting us on–even when that team is full of strangers, it matters. Sometimes it might matter more knowing that out there are other people who are capable of rooting for you and that even when you feel horribly alone and terrified, you aren’t alone, not in spirit.
I didn’t post for a week because I suck at posting when terrible things are happening in my real life. But I did again.
Okay. I am trying to figure out how to thank everyone for all their cool thoughts/energy/calmness and comments and emails and phone calls and text messages last week when my mom was almost dying.
But I can’t.
Because the kindness that everyone did is soooooo big that I just can’t thank anyone the right way. I’m not a good enough writer.
Just know that you are all beyond awesome and totally rock.
And I really think because of you (and because my mom is so damn feisty) she did not die last week even though the doctor gave the YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT HARD DECISIONS speech and she was totally demented (sorry, Mom, you were) for a while. She opened her eyes Thursday. On Friday she was once again capable of rational thought. Yay!
She’s still in the hospital but not in the scary ICU part.
Thank you for helping her and for helping me. I am really blessed to have such amazing friends (on-line and off).
I’m not a person who has a lot of family anymore. Since I was one of those kids who came fourteen to thirty years after the other kids of my generation, my parents and grandparents (all of them) are dead as are most of my aunts and uncles. And my family situation is complicated.
But sometimes I think about how lucky I am because I get to have two families, one online and one that raised me. I had a bunch of different cultural experiences as a kid because of the aunts and uncles I had and I know they expanded who I was and what I knew about the world.
When people online come together to do something good, to comfort, to make someone’s life better or make the country or their community better? It’s a big deal. It gives me faith and hope in empathy and love. It’s easy to focus on the horror that happens, and it’s good to acknowledge that horror so that you can fix it. But it’s not all that is. Life is bigger than that. People are better than that. We can be.
I’ve seen it over and over again. We don’t have to be perfect, but we really should try to spread good things, too.
It’s so easy to close yourself off because you’re afraid of people being mean to you, of internet trolls, or maybe the negativity from your own family. When you close off your heart, when you are afraid of being vulnerable, it’s almost impossible to love your way through things. Instead, you hunker down in fear.
And if you hunker too long, your knees start to hurt.
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