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Today as I was driving to the hospital, I saw a girl and a guy on a motorcycle. Her hair was blowing in the breeze (no helmet), and the fringes on the handlebars were dangling wildly in the wind. She looked so carefree, that just for a moment I wished I could be her. (Heading off into the glorious sunny afternoon, with her arms wrapped around a big, biker dude (headscarf, black t-shirt, tattoos and all)-who no doubt was going to “take her away” from all the troubles that life brings. He was a “Hell’s Angel” Knight in Shining Armor. 🙂

But there I was, heading for the place I probably like least in our town. The hospital where they killed my dad-(or let him die from neglect, at the very least.) And now my mom was there, and we were at their mercy, because there was nowhere else to go. I was so grateful that we had gotten her back into the health-care system, and covered by her Medicare and insurance (even if for just awhile, after the colossal screw-up of the ER.) As far as mobility (or lack of it), it doesn’t get much worse than a broken right foot, and a broken (fractured) left leg.

I was considering the fact that her time there, this visit, was likely to be short, as she was just passing through, on her way to a temporary nursing facility. We will have no choice in where this will be, as it is a bed available situation, and we will gratefully take whatever we can get. Of course I am worried, but if they don’t mistreat her, she will be far safer than anywhere else, as we cannot continue to try to lift her to get her to the bathroom, etc.

Yesterday, when I visited her, I found that she had not been bathed, and she had already been there one night and a full day. Her little plastic pink tub was on the counter in her room, so I ran some soapy water, and gave her a sponge bath. We applied deodorant, perfume, and lotion, while giggling about the handsome male nurse, who had expertly removed her bottom, from her far too small bedpan. Such indignities! I laughingly (and extravagantly) sprayed her favorite perfume “Obsession” into the stale hospital air. For a moment, we forgot about all the stresses of the past few days (and years) since my dad died.

“Miss Prima Donna” Ortho Doc had been a no-show, as had the promised physical therapist. But hey–it was Friday, and they were all probably on their way to the beach, or some other relaxing endeavor, while my mom had to sit in the same position endlessly, with her legs outstretched, wearing a Velcro brace on her left leg, and an Ortho shoe on her opposite foot. (Let the good times roll!)

We changed her gown, and she looked a little brighter with its pink color next to her pale face.  She is an amazing woman to endure as much as she has. She is a mixture of sadly vulnerable, and fiery feisty. I confess that many times when I have thought about her in the last 3 years, since the passing of my dad (technically step-dad since I was 7), I get a lump in my throat from sadness. But she has been very strong.  We have been constant companions, and we have bonded in a way not possible, minus the tragic loss of my dad. We have both acknowledged this, and have spoken about it.

Like most 50-something 🙂 women, I had a busy life prior to Sam’s death. I am married to an attorney (workaholic), and I do some freelance writing. We had a coffeehouse for several years, where we sang on the weekends, and held a Bible study every Sunday night. I enjoy teaching, and had my own Christian radio program for 9 years on a local FM station. My husband, Rob, and I are ordained ministers (minus a church). We are both teachers of The Word at heart, and not really interested in being pastors.

Our teenage daughter, Chelsea, has moved out (at our request), and dropped out of college (in spite of our pleading), losing her full Bright Futures Scholarship. We adopted her at 3 years of age, and it has been crazier than Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but I know in my heart that she will be okay. She has a good foundation, and was brought up in the things of the Lord. Every time she starts to stray from church, “something” ( Someone, actually–The Holy Spirit ) brings her back. She is very tough to deal with, but immensely talented. Somehow, she will make her way.

When my dad died, I knew that my world was going to change. But I am devoted to my mom, and as long as I breathe (and she does), I will try to be her best advocate. She also can be tough to deal with, but the Lord has really given me a heart of compassion and love for her, and even though I get hurt sometimes, I keep walking in love. We are almost one in a funny sort of way. I have taken care of her these past three years (though she still lives independently) as though she were my child, giving her protection, advice, encouragement, and companionship. I have learned that I cannot be Sam–and I cannot be God. I can only do the best I can, and leave the rest in His capable hands.

Today when I arrived, she had been bathed, and seemed in pretty good spirits. (Even better after I slipped her 2 Crystal cheeseburgers.) 🙂 She hates the food this time, and it used to be good. We even used to eat in the hospital cafeteria, and look forward to it, when Sam was hospitalized. But this time she says it’s bitter and awful. She’s not that picky, so I believe her. (Obviously a new cook.)

“Miss Prima Donna” Ortho Doc had come barging into the room, as full of attitude as she had been during our first encounter. (This woman is a shrew.) I was not there, but my mom tells me she was just as haughty as she had been on Thursday.

The physical therapist showed up also, with a lesson in how to shuffle on a broken foot, while using the walker. I can only assume that they think it is safer to put weight on a broken foot, than a broken leg. (What a predicament to be in!) 

I gathered up all her belongings that I could, as we don’t know when they will transfer her to a nursing facility. I am also keeping up with her laundry, (as we go), and bringing her fresh gowns often. I filled her pink pitcher with ice, got her a fresh Diet Pepsi, and covered her with an extra blanket-(she’s always cold, and I’m always hot.) I told her that I was going to meet Rob at home, and we were going to sit in our comfy chairs, and read awhile tonight. (I am beginning to see that if we are going to have any time together for quite awhile, we had best carve it out somehow.) But I struggle with the balance of it all. I am just so tired and overwhelmed.

I cannot think much past a day, or I will surely cry with anxiety. I must trust that God will give me (and Betty) grace sufficient for each day, to face whatever lies ahead…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Sparkle,
    Your words reminded me of the freedom that comes with riding on a bike with the wind in your hair…So far, my husband hasn’t been able to get the bike fired up for this season. He was almost there until this last hospitalization. I doubt if it will happen, but you never know with a biker dude. They are the determinded sort…
    Glad to hear that you are carving out some personal time…and glad to hear that your mom is getting care. I hope that she heals well in body and spirit…God Bless your mom, and God bless you for caring for her…
    It is truly a ” One Day At A Time” kind of living….

  2. Hey Shadowlands: I’m blushing now, because I just remembered that you are indeed married to one of those “biker dudes.” LOL! I know that you have enjoyed many of those wonderful times of the wind blowing through your hair!
    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and prayers! Hugs-Sparkle


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