The Greatest Gift Of All
Now we're even.
Almost forty-five years ago, my mother gave me the gift of life.
Today, I returned the favor.
I left my friend's house up toward the border of the state at a little after 6 this morning, expecting to stop at my mom's (around 9), stay long enough to have lunch with her, then bring my kids (the dog and cat) home, and get myself unpacked. I arrived at my mom's around 9:30, to find her sideways in her usual chair, incoherent and making baby sounds and faces. She was drenched with sweat and cold to the touch. I tried to get her to talk to me, but I couldn't understand her words. I did get a definite "no" shake of her head to "Are you in pain?"
I called 911. Two fire trucks and an ambulance responded, and I didn't think of locking up the animals until the guys (six? ten?) arrived. By then, the dog was barking and the cat was nowhere to be seen and the front door was wide open. I spent some hectic moments answering paramedic questions ("Does she live alone?" "Were you here to see what happened?") and searching for Kona. I found the cat under my mom's bed, and locked her in with Bounty in the bedroom I use when I stay there.
The paramedics discovered that my mom's blood sugar level was 25 (normal range for her is supposed to be 80 to 130; she's diabetic) and once they'd given her some sugar solution, she started making more sense in her words and recognized me. She sounded surprised that I was there, and seemed even more surprised to see all those tall, handsome men in her living room. (Shame she won't remember them, eh?)
A whirlwind of activity took place in a mere fifteen minutes or so. We had trouble getting her to agree to go to the hospital, but she needed to and finally said yes. I stayed behind to lock up the house, gather a few things for her and then follow.
Parking at the hospital was hard; they had a parking garage but I wasn't sure the Tundra would fit. Turns out they do a valet thing (and triple park vehicles; smart) so that was relatively easy once I figured it out. It didn't cost any extra, either.
When I got into the hospital, she was already doing well. Making sense, unhappy at being in a hospital but even remembering what happened. She remembers checking her blood in the morning (54) and taking her daily insulin. She wasn't hungry, but knew she had to eat, so figured she would do that in a few minutes. The next thing she knew, all those guys were in her living room.
It took a bit, but we decided she should stay overnight so the hospital staff could keep an eye on her blood levels. I stayed with her awhile at the hospital, until they brought her a sandwich, then went back to the house to get some more things (and to eat; it was about 12:30 and I hadn't eaten yet). I gathered her glasses (folded and in the chair she'd been sitting in), her reading book, and some clothes. Back to the hospital.
The valet thing wasn't happening anymore and the guy said there was plenty of room at the top, so I drove (the Tundra, still) up to the roof of the parking garage but there were only two very small spaces left. I drove back down and one of the valet guys valeted my truck after all. This time my mom was in a regular room and I had more trouble finding her.
When I did, she looked good (she said they'd fed her TWO sandwiches) and was able to tell me stories of her week with the pets. She wasn't very happy about staying overnight, but would do okay.
I got home around 4:30. Tomorrow morning I go back to be there for when they release her.
Tonight I give thanks to God that my mother is still alive, and I count my blessings on my timing. I also have a reminder for all of you: The doctors tell us to do things because those are the things we should be doing. When a doctor says "with food," you'd best take that medication . . . with food.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala