Saturday, December 7, 2013

Death, Pain, Anger, and Santa on a Tractor

My mom is home.

I've explained and re-explained the difference between pro-biotics and antibiotics. We've gone over the changes in her pain meds. I made soup for dinner, made sure to offer her a bowl of ice cream, and I just rolled some Max-Freeze onto her back. She's not quite herself, eyes like giant hollows, walking in super slow-mo. Each hospitalization, while life-saving, delivers its own special beating and sends her home weaker.

My father died suddenly of a massive heart attack one night after dinner. I was away at college and witnessed nothing of the the actual event of his death, yet that quick drop to the floor is how I've always imagined my mother would leave this life. It's now seeming quite likely that I was wrong.

A sudden death seems a mercy to me. To be alive one moment, aware of a brief pain perhaps, and then gone. No needles. No indignities. No litany of agonies. No small chiseling away of the mind and those elements of personhood that once were so integral and now are gone without a trace.

I really don't think very far ahead these days, and I don't worry. I do the things I can do. I have confidence that I will do the things, solve the problems, and ask the questions and find the answers, and change what needs changing, and just keep going. And even after I do all of that, she'll die.

Hahahah, life, you trickster! is an attitude that I can usually muster these days. My tire pressure light comes on as I start my drive to the hospital in the pouring rain. Okay. Hahaha. We take a detour to the tire store. Oh, now there's a Christmas parade and I'm behind Santa on a tractor. Okay. Hahahaha. Oh, the home physical therapy didn't get set up like it was supposed to? Well, less funny, but we'll survive. A pain medication situation that doesn't seem to be working? Well, I could get a little angry, but anger won't stop the pain, so never mind...but still, I'd like to engage in the luxury of rage. For most of my adult life, it's been evident that the lessons learned through difficult situations don't always come up again and give one a chance to flaunt that back store of knowledge. There's always new stuff. Like never ever get discharged from the hospital on a Saturday--and especially don't get discharged on a Saturday if they're going to fuck with your pain meds.

But I'm ready. Sleeping on the couch, maybe, with the MaxFreeze at the ready. Tramadol dosages researched, ready to say go ahead, just take it 2 hours early. And aware, at least right now while I'm still wide awake, that anger at anything won't do anything good.


N2 said...

Dang! Hope the night is blessedly uneventful. x0 N2

ain't for city gals said...

My mantra is from my "bible"...the book Co-Dependent No More...."I use to get angry now I am merely amused". It works most times. And while I was taking care of my dad I repeated "It is an honor and a privilege" and it always was and you will never regret a minute of taking care of your mom.

lily cedar said...

It's just hard watching your mom decline, waiting for her to die. I remember, wondering if each trip to the hospital would be the last, terrified I would walk into her apartment and find her dead. Finally mum slipped away peacefully after a cup of tea and a homemade muffin. I'm thankful and rambling. My apologies.

Enjoy your time with your mom. Ask her questions, tell her how much she means to you. It is a privilege to care for our parents. A difficult time but a privilege.

Ms. Moon said...

I don't know if you read my friend Terry's blog.
What I just read there about acceptance seems to me to be what you are having to focus on.
You are right- a quick death is a merciful death and one which most of us are probably going to be denied. We hardly ever get to choose.
You are midwifing your mother into her final passage. As such, you are performing a holy act. You know this, even when you get stuck behind Santa on a tractor.

Elizabeth said...

As long as I've known you, you have handled what's thrown at you with so much grace and beauty and humor.