October 27, 2010

My Mom Is Not a Quitter

An update appears at the bottom of my original post.
I've written several posts about the complicated relationship I  have with my Mom, who is eighty-six years old and in poor health. 

Southwest Airlines is having a major sale, but you have to book your flight by tomorrow (Thursday). Travel dates are limited, and don't start until Dec. 1. That's a big problem.

I thought that maybe The Boy and I should visit my mom in her AZ nursing home while she's still living...The Boy loves her, and talks about seeing her. And I feel like we both should see her one last time. I only get one mom, and I've forgiven her for the difficulties we've had.

With her having Alzheimer's, it would be a crap shoot as to whether she'd know who we were, but I thought I should make the effort.

Then I start thinking...never a good thing - or is it?

I call my oldest brother, Stan, and tell him my idea - thinking maybe that he and his wife Nancy could visit at the same time. The nursing home is near my brother Gary, so it would be a mini-reunion.

Then Stan tells me that Gary sent an email on Monday (and my name was first on the recipient list). My mom had a stroke, and was non-responsive. She was unable to swallow.

She had been designated as a hospice patient. All food had been stopped, as well as all medications. Morphine would be administered on her tongue if she appeared to be in pain. Funeral plans had already been made, a graveside service would be held in PA (beside my dad's plot). It was just a matter of time.

Wow. I wasn't prepared for that news. 

Gary mistyped my email address - that's why I didn't get that message. He also told Stan that he didn't have my phone number.

I called Gary - he seemed awfully chipper on the phone.

Then he told me HIS news. After two days in a coma, my mom is awake. A nurse came into her room to check on her, and she said, "Hi there. I'm hungry!"

She's been eating and talking since. She even said "Hi Gary, Hi Nancy" when my brother and HIS wife came to visit (yes, I have two sisters-in-law named Nancy). 

The nurses like to park her chair near the nursing station - she is their entertainment (Mom is a talkative, funny commentator when the mood strikes).

The doctors will be appraising her status, but it looks good. But they also said that it is common for a patient to rally after a stroke, and then go downhill, fast.

This is the fourth medical crisis that she has pulled through, after doctors told Gary there wasn't much hope.

My mom is no quitter.

I still don't know if I should book that trip to see my 'Energizer Mommy'. 

Latest news: The tickets have been purchased for Dec. 1. I'd like it to be sooner, but finances prevent me from spending hordes of cash (actually, the lack of hordes of cash is a major deterrent, too) for a trip before then.

Southwest Airlines said that if my mom is not "available" on the day of our flight, we can use the ticket money to purchase tickets for travel to her final resting place in PA.

I haven't had any further updates from Gary - one way or another, The Boy will see his Grandma again.

Notice how I've avoided the entire "D" word here - The Boy is already upset, I don't need him seeing it in black and white (or blue and white, as the case may be).


  1. Of course you should go. I wish I had one more day with my mom! She died of Alzheimer's in 2002.

  2. Unfortunately, travel on this special deal can't take place before Dec. 1.

    Our budget cannot absorb a non-refundable trip.

  3. From any angle, that is a tough one..

  4. Alzheimer's is a tough disease. Just think of visiting your mom this way--even if she doesn't know who you are, you know who she is. My husband died at 59 from early onset dementia.


  5. Even though the fare is non-refundable, some airlines let you keep the $$ as a credit that can be applied to a ticket in the future.
    Also, some airlines will give you a discounted rate for a family emergency. SW is really promoting itself, perhaps they'd give you the discounted fare to travel before Dec. 1st.
    good luck!

  6. I would really want to go but I do understand financial restraints. Have you thought about maybe taking a bus? I know it's not GREAT but it's a whole lot cheaper than flying. When my dad died, I had "been meaning" to go see him & my momma for a while but hadn't been able to go because of money. It had been 10 years since I'd seen him & I would never get that chance again. It broke my heart that I never made that trip. I did manage to scrape up the bus fair to go be with my mom after he passed...which made me feel worse because I somehow found the money when he was dead but couldn't do it while he was alive. Not one of my easiest moments. Anyway...I've rambled a lot. I wish you the best of luck & hope that some way you are able to see your mom soon. I'll be praying.

  7. Make the trip. Money comes and goes, but your mother only has one lifetime...you won't regret it. I will be praying that things fall into place so that you're able to make the trip.

  8. I would go seriously God will make a way sweetie for honoring your mother

  9. Wow. That is some story. I say that you should go (soon ... really really soon) so you don't second-guess yourself later.


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