Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Two Tender Moments in a Tough Day

The first thing that happened to me this morning was my dad calling to let me know that he had received a call from Bridgewater Home letting him know that my mom had fallen this morning, had apparently struck the back of her head, was bleeding from the mouth, and was being taken to the hospital by ambulance to be checked out.  He was hurriedly (he even skipped his breakfast) getting ready to drive to the hospital to be with her and find out what was going on.

The second thing that happened to me this morning was Moriah telling me not to go downstairs until she told me I could come; and then I heard the squeak of the cabinet door where we keep the toaster, and then she came back upstairs to ask for help because she couldn't get the bread (the jars of applesauce we canned yesterday blocked the bread box) or the peanut butter (it was on a shelf too high for her reach), and then I went back upstairs and agreed to act surprised when I came downstairs when she called me :), and then she got a little teary because I hadn't gotten out a plate for her to put what she was making on, and then I told her she could use a plastic plate that she could reach herself, and then she did that.  And when she called me to come down because it was ready, there was a delicious piece of lavishly-spread peanut butter toast waiting for me for my breakfast - what a surprise!  ;-)

As I hugged her and thanked her and exclaimed over her kind, generous heart, I remembered what Jeff told me in November of 2011.  We had just found out that the baby in my womb was a girl; and at the same time, my mother's downward decline into Alzheimer's was accelerating.  "I feel like God is giving you a new best friend," Jeff remarked, knowing how closely my heart had always been tied up with my mother's and appreciating the fact that I would now have a chance to transfer that same kind of mother-daughter friendship to my own little girl.

Having heard the painful news of my mother's most recent decline (and a dramatic one, at that!), followed so closely by an extra-special demonstration of my daughter's love this morning, was a poignant moment, to be sure.

To summarize what happened next, our local hospital decided to transfer my mother to a larger hospital across the mountain from us because of her possible head injury and the potential need for a neurosurgeon to deal with it.  Dad came home, dropped off his car, then rode with my children and I to UVA in Charlottesville--a hospital I had never been to, although I've prayed for many friends who have spent time there--and we stayed there all the rest of the day, getting home just before 10:30 tonight (in time for Josiah and David to listen to the last few minutes of the presidential debate).

The whole time we were there, Mother remained in the ER.  Her condition appears very stable, but the doctors were awaiting tests to get a full picture of her injuries and then decide the best plan of treatment. We plan to return to her tomorrow and are eagerly awaiting an update then.

 Most of the time today, Dad was back in her curtained-off room with her.  Most of the time, the kids and I were in the waiting room.  But I took each child back one at a time (no room for eight of us to crowd into her cubicle!) so they could see their grandma, say hi to her in their sweet voices, and see what it's like to have a loved one in the hospital with various tubes and gadgets attached to their bodies.  We didn't do our regular homeschooling tasks today, but we sure got an education!

At one point this evening, I went into the ER to be with her while Dad went out to the waiting room to listen to his phone messages and make some calls (something he couldn't do in the ER); and this particular time, I had both Benjamin and Moriah with me--and Moriah had one of her stuffed monkeys with her.  :)  At first, Mother was peaceful and still, sleeping without stirring; but then for some reason, she became agitated, pulling at her IV lines and the oxygen tube in her nose and her hospital gown and the sheets and everything else she could reach, it seemed.  I noticed that rather than the liquid in her IV running down into her veins, the blood from her arm was running back up the line pretty far; and that concerned me enough (I'm no nurse!) that I actually went out in the hall and asked the nearest person in scrubs if that was alarming (she didn't act like it was!).  I went back in and was holding Benjamin in one arm while trying to figure out what to do to put the tubes Mom had been tugging on back into the right place, while keeping her from pulling anything else out, while helping her understand what was going on so she could calm down...and all the while, I was wondering if she was having bad pain and was wishing that my dad was there at that moment because he would have known what to do!  I tried giving my mother Moriah's stuffed monkey so she could feel that soft fur and keep her hands occupied with that, but my strategy only worked for a moment or two.  And then when I didn't know what else to do, God put the thought in my head to grab hold of my mother's hand and start singing to her.

The song that popped into my head first was "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," so I started to sing (quietly, because there were lots of other people around), and the most marvelous thing happened.  Although she kept a firm grip on my hand, she almost immediately began to relax.  Her face visibly softened, her other hand lay quietly on the blanket, and she slipped back into calm, restful sleep.

After I had sung the first verse and the chorus, I started the second verse and realized I didn't know all the words.  No matter.  I floundered on, filling in the gaps when I didn't remember the lyrics, and kept singing until my dad returned.  And all the while, Mother lay peacefully, holding my right hand, while Benjamin was perched on my left arm and Moriah was obediently sitting on a chair close by.

One tough day, two tender moments.  I give thanks for these.


Homeschool on the Croft said...


your posts so often have me in tears! They can be tears of joy, or of sorrow, or just tears of .... well, just me-tears, when I see such love in your family.
I am thankful for these glimpses of beauty you had today (and what precious glimpses there were!).
Praying for your mum, your dad, and you all at this time
Anne x

Emily said...

What beautiful blessings in a challenging time. Praying lots for you as your family navigates this hard time. Lots of love to you all.

Sally said...

I wondered if you were spending a lot of time over at UVA. It's a huge place! I'm sorry all this is happening, but what a blessing you are to both your parents, especially now. I hope you all soon have answers and know which direction this will be taking you---hopefully a simple recovery and back to Bridgewater for your mom!