It’s almost time to wish my mother another happy birthday. She’s not very happy about the prospect. Her single word of advice that she repeats as often as we talk is “Don’t get old!”
I hate to tell her but it’s too late for me.
A lot has happened with her since I last wrote about her.
I got married … we live streamed the wedding so my grand-nephew could put it up on his large television for her to see. We took off on our honeymoon and traveled some after that but finally got Albuquerque in our sights for the last weekend in June.
We had a great visit. She was managing life alone in her mobile home. She watched as we started packing up all her mementos in her kitchen. The Franciscan Rose dishes from when she got married the first time. Tea cups galore. Kitchen items that would fill a Disney ride about a 1950’s kitchen. Many items I remembered using as a boy.
Deb kept her distracted wrapping up the good stuff while my mom watched. I was quietly emptying out all the stuff that was less memorable. I took bag after bag of plastic containers and cracked dishes out to the dumpster.
We took her out to lunch and dinner. She was spry enough to make it up and down the steps and into our rental. All in all it was a great weekend.
We enjoyed the 4th of July and were planning our next trip to New Mexico when I got the call.
My mom was in the hospital. She had gone to lunch at Olive Garden with her caretaker. When they were leaving she stopped in the doorway, let go of her walker, and fell into the door jamb (according to eye witnesses).
It’s lucky she didn’t break anything but she did gash her head open. Seven staples she kept telling me. Her speech was slow and slurred but the words were precise and her mind seemed fairly intact. She was repeating herself a lot but I attributed that to the trauma and painkillers she was taking.
My brother-in-law, grandsons, and great-grandsons were watching after her and helped move her from the hospital to a rehab center.
Deb and I headed out for a long weekend the end of July. Turns out it coincided with Medicare’s 20 day limit in rehab. Deb and I along with Jim and Mary (my brother-in-law and his significant other) spent a day touring and interviewing a living place for my mom. We liked it, filled out the paperwork, and paid them the first month’s fee.
We headed back to my mom’s place and packed up a recliner, dresser, night stand, toiletries, and clothes along with some pictures to hang on her walls and some special items she had requested we bring. We put it on a trailer and headed back to the new home. We unloaded and arranged her room to make it as homelike as possible.
My mom was released on Saturday morning (our flight was later that afternoon) and Deb and I drove her to the new facility. We got her settled in and stood for a moment looking at her so small and helpless in her bed. We left her in the care of the staff and the four of us went to lunch. I almost had to pull over, emotions flooded me and I started crying. I hadn’t meant to do that in front of Deb but I couldn’t help it. Leaving mom in the care of strangers and not knowing if I would see her alive again.
Should have saved my tears.
Deb and I spent a long Labor Day weekend packing more stuff at my mom’s home. Gathering up items she had requested we bring back. On Sunday I got a call from the facility that my mom was going to the hospital in an ambulance. Her thumb was hurting and Tylenol wasn’t helping. According to the law, if my mom insists on going to the hospital they have to make it happen.
I met the ambulance when she arrived at Presbyterian downtown. I sat with her while they did blood work, took urine samples, and monitored her condition. She was brought in at 10:30 in the morning and we headed back to the facility about 3:30. Deb was still at mom’s home, packing away. I dropped my mom off and took her prescriptions over to Walgreen’s. Since it was Sunday the home didn’t have the staff to do it.
The pharmacist was a little more than suspicious when an old guy comes in to get a prescription of Oxycodone filled for ‘his mother.’ After much ado I took the medicine back to the facility. I made it back to my mom’s place around 5:30 and rescued poor Deb. We went to dinner then back to the hotel for some relaxation.
The flight back on Monday was uneventful.
Deb wanted to head back out in October – I didn’t. I procrastinated enough and the Balloon Festival was making prices of flights and rooms outrageous. We didn’t get it done.
Our next trip is for her birthday a month from now. Mom doesn’t want to make it to her birthday.
Everyone has their own perspective on living. Some won’t make it to their 90’s. Some will die watching a concert on a Sunday night barely making it to their 20’s.