Life Under Construction

Do you ever feel life is like maneuvering around road construction and those dang orange barrels?

Zigging and zagging.

Trying to stay in your lane, hoping nothing goes awry.

Holding your breath,

until you make it home safe.

I haven’t been around WordPress much in the last ten days. I hit one of those orange barrels and had to pull off the road for several tense days. Insurance and AAA wasn’t going to help with this one.

A little over a week ago, mom suffered two mini strokes, two days in a row. For five days, mom was uncomfortable, hurting, confused and in need of tender, loving care. For five days, I was a pile of stress and indigestion (don’t ever eat the turkey burgers at the hospital). Mom yelled for her mom. I cried over mine. Mom insisted on going home. I kept telling her “soon.” Mom wondered what kind of pureed crap they were trying to feed her. I wondered what type of pureed crap they were trying to feed her.

Those days were an unpaved, rocky exercise in “What’s happening now?” and “What do we do next?” Dealing with the illness of an elderly parent while talking to two different ER doctors, two different hospitalists, a social worker, therapists, hospice care, and I-don’t-know-how-many nurses made me want to bang my head against a jersey barrier. A headache would have been pleasant at that point.

Decisions were made, then unmade, and made again.Β Phone calls, prayers, more phone calls. And then a final plan put into place.

Without going into every detail and to make a long story short…

Mom is back at her assisted living facility and she is sitting upright. There’s still the pureed food and thickened coffee through a straw. (My brother came from out of state to visit and when he asked mom what she had for lunch, her reply was, “Shit.”) I have engaged hospice so that she has extra care, attention and love in the days to come. The chaplain from hospice sang to my mom the first time he met her, which did my heart a ton of good, and the nurse gave her hugs and kisses. They are both amazing and caring people. Mom is in good hands.

So, now mom and I take life one day at a time.

We’re away from the construction zone for now, safely behind a fence. Mom is trying to stay on pavement as best she is able, and I’m trying not to hit a damn barrel.

I hate road construction.

I really do miss this place when I’m gone for more than a few days! I hope those of you that celebrate are having an excellent Memorial Day weekend. For everyone else, have an awesome end to your Sunday and a bright and happy Monday. I’m looking forward to the week and being “around” on WordPress for some verbal sparring.

42 responses to Life Under Construction

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I hate construction zones. I hope and pray that you have some smooth road ahead. Keeping you, your mom and your family in our thoughts and prayers. I hope she get to enjoy a decent meal soon.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Dan. You know that I truly appreciate the thoughts and prayers. I was talking to one of the aides yesterday and she said they were able to give her liquid that was a little less thickened. I’m not sure she will get to the point of chewing food again, but I can always hope.

  2. John Holton says:

    Hope all gets better for you and your mother soon. Everyone who’s in the hospital needs someone to keep an eye on the doctors, nurses, and staff. Glad you’re there for her.

    And man, those barrels are the pits.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks for the good wishes, John. I tell ya, I could have used the “Maneuvering Through a Hospital Stay” book for dummies. It can be so confusing, especially when I get conflicting opinions. I’m glad she’s out of there and back home.

  3. Ah, those golden years aren’t exactly what the marketing folks had in mind when they created that term. I sincerely hope and pray things get back on the straight and narrow for both of you.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I think mom has passed the golden years. She’s in the “Stayin’ Alive” years, although that woman has more resiliency than you can shake a stick at. I will be happy for both of us if life is stable for a while.

  4. loisajay says:

    Mary, I am so very sorry to hear this. Your mother’s response to lunch made me laugh; the priest singing to her made me cry. You wonder when people are away from WP for a while, if everything is OK. Hugs, love, and prayers to you and your family. XO

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Yeah, my mom still has attitude, especially when it comes to her food. The day before mom asked me if I had a daughter. I said, “No, I have to cats.” She scrunched her face and said, “That’s worse.” (Mom never liked cats.) So, the spunky attitude is still kicking. Thanks for your love and prayers, Lois. We can certainly use both.

  5. joey says:

    Ugh. Well I’m glad she’s doing a bit better — improvement is impressive. Stroke recovery is like the weather… :/
    My father spent the winter in the hospital and then at home with hospice, and he’s been independent again for two months now. I am so grateful to the hospice staff. It really does ease us to know caring people are there when we can’t be. I’m so glad your mother is in good hands.
    Love and light to you both, Mary.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Like the weather…exactly. So true!
      Wow, your dad went from hospice to living independently? That’s amazing, I’m so glad for him and you for his recovery. Thanks for the love, Joey!

      • joey says:

        Yes, me too. It was touch and go for about a month. Amazing things happen all the time, but not every time. I feel fortunate.

  6. I noticed your absence. Wondered if you got stuck in traffic.

    Strength to you and a decent cup of coffee for your mum. And when you catch your breath… What is a hospitalist!?

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m also hoping for mom to have a regular cup of coffee..or only slightly thick. A hospitalist is a doctor that works solely in the hospital. Mom’s regular doctor doesn’t come to see her while she’s there, the hospitalist takes over her care. That alleviates the regular doctor having to make rounds in the hospital, but they are still advised of the patient’s treatment.

  7. LB says:

    Ah, Mary, I am so sorry …. for the frustration, the worry, the tears, the roadblocks.
    And really, the helplessness.
    I’m thankful that the hospice staff are singers and huggers. What great forms of comfort.
    Sending strength to you, Mary

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Laurie. I am happy that mom has the extra love and care from hospice. She hasn’t gone to mass in a long time, so I’m glad the chaplain is bringing Jesus to her. It will soothe her soul.

  8. dweezer19 says:

    Big hugs to you both Mary. Been where you are. It is a burden of love but still o challenging in so man ways. Sending all the best thoughts for you both.

  9. Herman says:

    Thinking about you Mary. Wishing you all the best and strength!

  10. simonfalk28 says:

    Poor Mary, your family and your mom 😦 I hope some of the ‘reconstruction’ finds beautiful moments for you all and your mom frankly shares it with you. Thank God for humour! Go gently. We miss you too. But we knew you would drop by when you could πŸ™‚

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I hope to have a few more of those beautiful moments with mom, especially the ones that make me laugh. Thanks for your supportive comments, Simon. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m so glad to hear you made it through the construction zone and are now safe behind the barriers. Take some time to wash the dirt off the car, pump up the tyres and fix any scratches from flung gravel. And may your mum have a smooth and gentle ride. ❀

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m hoping the barriers keep mom out of harm’s way for a while. Some of the gravel stuck to me…still a bit on edge that we’ll get too close to the orange barrels again…or that the phone will ring. Might take a while longer to settle down from that.

      • Much like a near miss in the car, you’ll be hyper-vigilant to what other drivers are doing or what may be coming up the road for a while but hopefully soon you’ll settle into the new routine. Take care of yourself as well as your mum, M-J. Sending you lots of electronic hugs. xx

  12. Kathryne says:

    Great comparisons, Mary! Welcome back. I can relate to your season of life as a parental caretaker (I was my Dad’s for 12 yrs). Empathy flowed as I read your tale, happy to see mom’s sense of humor is intact. Laughter, prayer and hospice were my lifelines. Praying for you both, girl. Hugs!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Kathryne, it’s always good to remember that there are others who walk in caretaker shoes. It’s why you and I have that empathy for others in the role. Oddly enough, I began this journey about 12 years ago when my dad gave up driving and we started a Saturday shopping ritual. It hasn’t always been easy, as the time dad passed away, but I would do this all over again in a heartbeat. Thank you for your prayers and hugs. I’ll be seeing mom today and giving her as much love as she can handle.

  13. marianallen says:

    HUGS, Mary! Those construction zones do make us kinda crazy. My mom hasn’t eaten at all for years; she has a feeding tube. My grandpa had to eat pureed stuff and thickened liquids for a couple of years before he passed. He wasn’t a fan, but he didn’t have your mom’s great, feisty attitude. lol. It’s such a blessing that you and your mom have each other. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, while you’re at it. Like the flight attendants say: put on your own oxygen mask first, so you can help others with theirs.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      So sorry to hear that your mom has to use a feeding tube, Marian. That must have been very difficult at first…or is it still difficult for her? Yes, mom and I have each other and I’m so glad I’m able to be there for her. Not to worry, I am taking care of myself – walking, trying to eat healthy, and having the occasional adult refreshment and a laugh or two. But what really helps is the love and support I have from my peeps, friends, faith and family. This would be incredibly difficult without that.

      • marianallen says:

        Mom was so tired of the difficulty she had swallowing and of the operations to remove the pills she aspirated without knowing it, she was all for the tube. Although she loved to eat, she says she hardly ever misses food. Every so often, I’ll give her something to slosh around in her mouth and spit out, just for the taste, but she says it never tastes “right.”

        There’s nothing like love and support to make the construction zones bearable. And thank heaven for the internet, where I can swap stories with other caregivers! πŸ˜€

  14. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m so happy to hear that your mom is doing better as evidenced by her feisty manner. If she’s back to complaining about the food, she’s come a very long way!

    You, on the other hand, are likely still a complete wreck emotionally. Best wishes and lots of virtual hugs.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      According to today’s report, mom is eating her pureed meat. That is another plus for her. As for me, I’m doing okay. The indigestion has subsided and having the ear and kind words from friends helps greatly. I know I have a difficult road ahead with mom, but I’m going to concentrate on the days as they come.

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        I have a visual of pureed meat. Small wonder she’s not enthusiastic about the food.

        I’m surprised they aren’t offering her something like a high protein Boost drink which tastes pretty good and comes in different flavours. For anyone with digestion issues, inability to chew, loss of appetite, need for additional calories, etc, I thought this was a standard.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        There’s a story about the protein drink and why they aren’t giving it to her. I’ll have to explain it in an email at some point.

  15. Ally Bean says:

    Oh, I’ve been down this road, and I wish you the best. The orange barrels never end, but I believe your ability to handle them grows. In grace. Sending healing thoughts your way.

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