Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)
TITLE: Missing Mom . . .
By Judith Gayle Smith
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My beloved hubby was in surgery, four hours to try to save his ankle which was devastated by a rheumatoid cyst. This was the fifth attempt to fuse his right ankle.
I planned on calling my Mom to keep her apprised of Mike’s condition, after receiving the doctor’s prognosis.
Mom lived just down the street from the hospital. I thought to call her at 9:00 pm to keep her from worrying, as she, like her neurotic daughter (me) was easily rattled, imagining the surgeon had removed half of Mike’s leg. Well, justifiably rattled, as the surgery was only scheduled for under two hours, and it was over four . . .
The telephone rang in the surgery waiting room, and I was summoned to hear that Mom had arrived and was waiting for me in the emergency room. My immediate thought was that she had her neighbor bring her in to sit with me.
She had fallen, and the emergency room physician quickly filled me in on her condition, refusing to release her back to her apartment. He was making suggestions for placing her in Adult Foster Care, or a nursing home.
Thoroughly rattled and frightened, I literally flew down to the emergency room to find her flinching, pitiably hunched under a dimly lit light bulb, ingloriously, just partially covered with an oversized faded blue flower spotted hospital gown. She resembled a graying toppling mass of pink pudding.
No one should ever see their beautiful, vulnerable Mother this way. The floppy hospital gown sagged in all the wrong areas, baring her flaccid stomach muscles and layers of loose skin folding over and around her.
Her normally magnificent long wavy white hair was clumped like a well-worn scrubbing pad. Her exhausted head bent low, she was a heartbreaking sight.
Her huge green eyes filled with uncontrollable tears as she, trembling, told me she thought she was actually, finally going to die.
Fourteen horrible hours on the rough carpeted floor, halfway between the bathroom and the bedroom, she lay cold, rattled, utterly helpless, totally bereft of physical strength or emotional courage, no telephone nearby, more frightened than she had ever been in her over seventy years.
She seldom spoke of Dad’s passing, but now she couldn’t slow the rush of words expressing how she just wanted to be with Dad, who left us ten years prior, having nothing or no one to live for with him gone.
We brought her home to us. We discovered the horrific left oviduct cancer devouring her two years later. Aggressive chemotherapy removed what the surgery didn’t. The doctor was so proud of her, the cancer was gone.
Exhausted, Mom reverted to childhood. “Don’ wanna” became the cry of the day, whether it was proffered medication or encouragement to perform light exercise. I stayed home with her for twelve weeks until my “family leave” time ended and I had to return to work.
I didn’t understand depression then, being depressed and unmedicated myself. I thought Mom would “pull out of it” and be her normal, lovely, bright and lively self again. She had to be brave for so many years, she weakly exhausted her supply.
Mom refused to exercise even mildly after she healed from her surgery. She became infuriated with my husband for his impatiently insisting she do her exercises, and indignantly moved out of our home to an Adult Foster Home.
One month later, preparing for the short walk to the breakfast table, she gently just slid off her bed to the floor. Frighteningly, the police contacted me at work. When I rushed to her, she had been placed on her bed, comfortably covered. She had the imprint from the carpet on her face.
I didn’t have the blessing of weeping then. The poor caregiver was terribly rattled – no one had ever died in her care before. I wound up comforting her.
Feisty Mom was gone. Her can-do spirit, her zest had preceded her in death years before. She died from a pulmonary embolism, primarily due to lack of exercise, two days before 2000. She claimed she was afraid to see the New Millenium. She was constantly rattled, fearful while watching the evening news.
Oh how I miss her. I pray to meet her at Jesus’ Throne – both of us no longer rattled, calm and unruffled and loving each other.
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