Saturday, May 03, 2008


My mom is ill. She's in the hospital. I spent a day with my husband, my dad, my sister, my brother, and a few other family members in the ICU Lounge waiting....waiting...waiting...all day that first day. No doctor showed up. The nurses gave us as much information as they could.

Mom is septic. And more, and more, and more.

Still we 'aren't sure.'

They are pumping her full of strong drugs whose side-effects need drugs of their own. Blasting her with antibiotics for everything that can possibly be wrong in the hopes that one of them will curb the infection, where ever it is, whatever it is.

Massive medical attack.

It frightens me, the drugs in Mom's system, flowing around and through her fragile vital organs.

I hold my head in my hands. I abhor the lack of control I experience.

This is my mommy.

I pictured her dead while driving down to the hospital that first morning, the same way I pictured my dad dead when he had his stroke over a year ago.

Why do I do that? Is it some sort of coping mechanism, to prepare myself? Am I demented? Macabre? Immature?

My grandpa was in the hospital in the early 80's when he was about mom's age. We prayed over his surgery. He did great! He recovered well and the day before he was to go home he choked to death on green Jell-O in the hospital, right in front of the medical staff who could not revive him. His heart couldn't take the choking.

That incident flavors every hospital stay my parents - or other aging loved ones - encounter. I know all the spiritual platitudes. I trust God for purpose. But he never says it's going to be easy or that the outcome is the pleasant one, the one we all desire. So, though I trust, still I am anxious.

I love my mom. I can't imagine her gone. My head shakes even as I type - no, no, no.

It's been a long week.

And we aren't done, yet.


Marianne Elixir said...

Oh Cherie -
I am so sorry. What a terrifying thing to face. I will pray for you all.

deanna said...

Cherie, I've been thinking about you a lot and praying. For your mom, mostly for you. I can't yet imagine losing my mommy. Who can prepare for that? And you've got those memories of your grandpa; I'm so sorry. But I know you're in good hands, with Tom and your children and God. Much love to you and yours.

Wandering Coyote said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Cherie. Hospitals are the worst places to spend lots of time, either as a patient or as someone there accompanying a patient. Hospitals are inherently sad, stressful places.

I don't know what to say to make things better - there probably isn't anything. But my thoughts are with you and your family.

Cherie said...

Thanks, you guys, for your support and encouragement. I'm not really up to personal comment replies but I am reading the comments. They help.

thebookbaglady said...

I am so sorry--it sounds like a long week! Praying for you and your family.

tshsmom said...

Oh Cherie! I know just how you feel! My Mom had a football-sized tumor removed 5 yrs ago, and it's such a surreal experience. Our Moms are the bedrock of our families, and I guess we start believing that they're also immortal. It's devastating to think of our lives without them!

Infections have become my greatest fear for my loved ones. There are so many drug-resistant infections out there!

I hope all of our prayers will bring you all comfort through your ordeal. Keep us posted; we care!

Cherie said...

Thanks, Gretchen and Tshs.

She's been diagnosed with ecoli - but not a resistant strain. It's gone systemic which means it's all through her body. They call it 'rampant.'

As of last night Mom is responding well to the antibiotics. She's incredibly weak. Can't stand or feed herself, just lies there. You have to understand, she's always been a very strong, determined type so this is incredibly odd for her. Anyway, she's hallucinating quite a lot which is weird. But she's lucid most of the time.

The doctors said yesterday that they thought she was going to die when they first saw her and that she's 'not out of the woods, yet, though she's right at the edge of being out now.' Whatever that means. Seems like good news.

My dad, true to form, is underestimating everything, thinking Mom will be home tomorrow and will be cooking his meals again and washing his clothes.

So...we wait.

Thanks again for caring. Somehow these comments from near and far are helping me not crack up. A lifeline to the sane and real when my world feels really insane and unreal right now.

Anonymous said...

Cherie, I wonder as I write this how she is now. Please know that my prayers are with you, your mom, and your family. Our bodies are very strong, hopefully your mom has a lot left in her that she can overcome her infection!

tshsmom said...

Thanks for the update Cherie! Prayers are still pouring out to all of you!

Do they know where she picked up the ecoli?

Cherie said...

I don't know if they know where she picked it up, Tshs. It's a question I'm going to ask the doctors next time I get the chance. I'll know more tonight about her condition.

Thanks for the prayers Sandy and Tshs! So appreciated!! These kind words help!

imac said...

Prayers and thoughts.
Hope things turn out well.

God Bless.

Thanks for your kind comments and visiting my blog.

SandyCarlson said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. How strange and hard it is to steel yourself for the worst but hope for the best. As you point out, no matter what the medical care, the strangest and most random of things--green Jello--can change everything.

In the early 90s, my grandfather went through a series of heart attacks and hospitalizations. Finally, he told my mother and aunt, "I've had enough." Before that, he was sure he heard my grandmother's voice telling him, "Fred, go back to work." We knew that, "I've had enough," meant that it was time to go home.The peace and dignity of his passing did not fill the gap, but they made reaching beyond the gap a real possibility.

I pray for your strength and peace and comfort. God bless.

Gardenia said...

I'm sorry you are going through this and your mom too. I guess you know sepsis is not good, not at all. You are right - you were "preparing," not macabre.

Hospitals are not real safe so praying is the only thing we can do. I went in for a simple transfusion last year and ended up with a pulmonary embolism that about killed me.

Lived in fear for a few months as I wanted to see grandson stable and happy - I asked God for another 8 years at least. "H" went out looking for more insurance on me. Finally after a while, I let go and let God - after reading that He knows all our days - and that when the time did come, it was in His hands as well as my loved ones.

I'm agreeing with you now that your mom will have more time here if that's what she wants.

Cherie said...

Thanks imac, Sandy C., and Gardenia. I do appreciate the positive thoughts, prayers, and good wishes. A lot.

Sepsis is not good, yep, you are right about that Gardenia. And hospitals are scary scary places crawling with all sorts of enemies for a mortal body. I am one of those weirdos who opens the doors with my sleeve and who uses a lot of Purell while there. I wish I could bathe in the stuff after a hospital visit.

I love your attitudes, Sandy and Gardenia - the let go and let God. I'm trying. It's hard for me as it is for everyone.

Mom's heart has been compromised due to the infection rendering her still very weak. The doctors say they will not release her until she is mobile. Yesterday afternoon the physical therapist got her to her feet again, she attempted to take a step sideways and collapsed. Weak. Weak. Weak.

And Dad is adamant that she'll be 'coming home on Tuesday.' Sigh...he can't or won't face the reality that she is really really sick.

And now I have to choose between my daughters and my parents. I'm trying to wrap up school this month here at home. I'm still trying to get the garden in. Tom is chomping at the bit to get the addition work done - we are sooo close to getting the trim sanded and painted, the carpet in, the closet rods and doors in and moving in. And I wake up crying because I know my parents need me and I feel selfish somehow for feeling like I'm between a rock and hard place, between my life here and taking care of them 100 miles away when it's a matter of life and death.

It's rough. And I feel inadequate and selfish.

Dewdrop said...

I hope that you will find God's peace a source of comfort during this unimaginably difficult time. That is my prayer for you.

Cherie said...

Thank you, Dewdrop. God's peace is in there - deep in my heart - trying to calm me down even as I struggle. It will prevail. Thank you so much for these kind words. They help give me some perspective.

IndianaJones said...

Oh Cherie- I'm so very sorry. I'm just catching up on blogs and read this, I can sympathize and wish I could do something concrete to help but as I know I can't I will pray...and pray and then pray some more.
All my love.

Cherie said...

You're so sweet and kind, Summer! Thank you for your sympathy and prayers. They help more than you'll ever know.