Monday, November 9, 2009

Random Sleepy Ramblings re: In The Hospital with Mom

VERY Random thoughts and ramblings.

I am sitting by Mom's bed right now while I type. It is hard to tell when she is sleeping and when she is "just resting". Tubes bringing fluids in, tubes bringing fluids out. I was holding her hand, my mind wandering, thinking of metaphors. "Mom has more hoses than..." The first thought I had was "more hoses than my car". That didn't seem that accurate. "More hoses than a hardware store." Mmmmm- more people would relate to that one.

I have gone back to the car thing. My car, probably like a bunch of other cars, has hoses under the hood. I recognize the hoses, but not always their individual purposes. Their group purpose is to keep my car going. But, just what fluid is traveling in which hose- I have to think about it. And, my working knowledge is limited. Oil is black, transmission fluid is pinkish, and the coolant I put in the car yesterday was a clearish yellow. I know that the various fluids can get dirty. Same as with some of the fluids coming out of Mom. One of the fluids has gone from oil-spill dark sludge looking, to yellow. I think that is supposed to be good. Again, my working knowledge is lacking.

My sisters can spout medical terms and acronyms like Med students. Not me. Outcast. I call the "TPN IV",  Mom's "food bag". The one she has now looks like milk. The last one she had looked like a ton of melted butter. She called it "yellow squash".

I have been acutely aware of my inadequacies as of late. My sisters really do understand medical terms, different types of surgical proceedures, what certain medications do and how they interact with other medications. I stubbornly do not understand or talk the lingo. It is as if my brain refuses to work in that way. I knwo I ma capable of learning. I have a Master's degree- really- I promise.

One of my observant and intelligent daughters said to me that perhaps that is how my sisters cope, how they try to control the situation. I think she is right. So, how do I cope- and more importantly- how is my Mom coping?

Well- for one- Mom has access to very heavy, powerful medication. That helps. The medicaton isn't always as powerful as it needs to be. And ice chips. She eats them by the spoonful. With help. She hasn't been able to eat solid food for quite awhile. A week? She has graduated to the food bag- remember the bag o' milk?

I thought I was coming to the hospital to help Mom to deal w/ her fear, to be able to talk about spiritual and emotional issues. That is something I know I AM able to do. I am usually pretty good at that- the all important Master's, remember? That isn't how it is working out.

I am finding, at least so far, that isn't how Mom copes. She doesn't want to "process her fear". And she is afraid. She does not want to be alone, even for a minute. She insists on her room door remaining open. Spirituality? She says a quick prayer of gratitude ("Thank you Jesus") when the lab tech is able to draw blood w/ just one stick. But, that is about all the talk regarding spirituality that is happening. So, what can I do? How do I help?

So far, I help by holding Mom's hand. I help by taking the sheet she has in a vice grip from her hand and replace it with my hand. I help by opening the door everytime one of the nurses, techs, lab worker, repratory therapists, etc, shut it.

And, I think that is okay. That is what Mom wants right now. She might want something different later. And that is okay. We all cope differently. I want to cope by doing whatever I can that Mom wants me to do.