Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not fade away

I have been spending the past couple of weeks catching up on various things that fell by the wayside during the four weeks or so before that when the baby's arrival became the gravity well around which my entire life was orbiting. A lot of those things (as is often the case in my life) are fairly trivial and slight, but it did occur to me that the last time I mentioned anything about my mother was some time in the end of February, when she was still in the hospital. Granted, the major thrust of that very mention was to point out that I was not going to provide daily updates on (what at the time seemed like) the long, slow recovery process, so I've stuck to that intention pretty well.

Also, it would have been altogether fair for any curious reader to assume that no news is good news, and that if my mom had taken a turn for the worse I would have said something post-worthy about it. In fact, my mom got better a lot faster than I or anyone else expected. Despite the fact that around the time I was acknowledging she was on my mind but I didn't deem it particularly productive to dwell on it blog-wise, she was on a ventilator and heavily sedated, shortly after that she was weaned off the meds and the vent, and from there it was a short hop to being discharged from ICU. Some combination of her doctors and her insurance decided that she would be better off going home from the ICU and having a nurse come to her condo regularly, rather than moving her from ICU to a rehab hospital, and so it went. Her initial admission into the hospital was the last weekend in February; I don't remember exactly when she went home but I remember talking to her on the phone shortly after her discharge, assuring her that she had not missed the birth of her third grandchild. And he ended up coming into the world less than three weeks into March, so while that may not be specific enough to do math, it at least sets up a rough window. I honestly at the time interpreted my mother's health scare as a debilitating point-of-no-return, with normalcy an impossibly long way off. But it turned out she was only in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and then back home as if nothing had happened (with a few exceptions).

Of course, my mother and I have never been the best at communicating with each other because of all the hang-ups of the parent-child relationship, and the gradual role reversal as I become more and more the one who has his life in some semblance of togetherness while she/my step-dad are less and less able to take care of themselves is not exactly a smooth transition. My mother has always been the type to insist that she's completely fine even if that's not the case (the day she went into the hospital she assumed it was only overnight for precautionary monitoring and she forbade my step-dad from calling any of her kids and worrying us needlessly). I can push a little bit in pointing out that she now has permanent prescriptions and might want to make some lifestyle adjustments as well, but I have no way of knowing if she actually will adopt any changes or even if she has fully internalized that what I'm saying is right. I can call her, and ask how she's doing, and she'll say that she's fine, but I don't necessarily believe her and I don't have any other way of getting an answer to that question. (My step-dad, unfortunately, tends to be shoulder-to-shoulder with her as a united front. It's nice for them, but annoying when they're both in denial.)

Still. Leaving aside the subjective stuff, I can only rely on the objective facts, and the fact is that she was released from the hospital and settled back in at home and hasn't had the need for an ambulance ride since. I can at least be thankful for that, and for the fact that all the getting-better happened so fast and so in the middle of a bunch of other stuff that I haven't even remarked on it until now. But I hate to leave loose ends, and since I introduced the subject of the Health Crisis in New Mexico I figured it was only fair to offer some closure, such as it is, as well.

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