life stories

the center of the universe is the brain

About Life Stories

We each live many lives within this one life we are living now and within each of those lives that are a part of this life there are millions of stories, infinite thoughts, hosts of ideas. These are a few of mine.

I live in Anchorage, AK and recently returned from tending to my mother in upstate NY. She was transitioning home following a hip fracture, replacement and rehabilitation. She’s a strong-willed, stubborn and inflexible person. Our relationship is difficult to navigate, not too close but not without love.

Feb. 11, 2009: Earlier this week, Mom was admitted to the hospital with internal bleeding. They repaired an ulcer in her duodenum and wanted to discharge her to home the next day. My sister put a stop to that and made sure everyone understood Mom was in no condition to be at home. As requested, the doctor finally ordered a psychiatric evaluation. As a result, the dosage of the anti-anxiatal she’d been taking and added an antidepressant. She was discharged to the nursing home Thursday morning. My sister called in complete glee telling me how much better Mom was and that she was acting like her normal self pre-fall. Friday’s news was that she had completely relapsed.

Mar. 5, 2009: After struggling with herself, and against everyone trying to help her, Mom was hospitalized against her will.

May 17, 2009: The psychiatric hospital kept Mom only until she was stable, a few weeks at most. It wasn’t long enough and there was no transitional care. She was released to a nursing home where there has been no psychiatric follow-up beyond med checks. She is lethargic and despondent. On the positive side, my sister has been able to convice her she needs to get out and has taken her over to their house a few times. We haven’t given up.

November 29, 2009: Mom seems to be coming around at some level. Physical therapy is available to her again and she attends, complaining but actively participating. She checked with my sister before accepting a medication change. I am hopeful that maybe there is some quality in her life.

January 10, 2010: Hospice has been called to take over Mom’s care.

January 31, 2010: This month, Mom declined a feeding tube despite the difficulty she has in swallowing. She was taking a liquid diet but now has stopped eating. The Hospice nurse said she is likely to pass away in the next 7-14 days.

February 5, 2010: The nurses have begun administering morphine. Mom is experiencing pain from the pressure wound on the tailbone that has opened up again. The nurses help her turn so she is on her side but she refuses to stay that way and wiggles her way onto her back and then complains about the pain.

February 8, 2010: Over the weekend, the priest administered Last Rites to Mom. If there is something on her mind that is keeping her here, she is not willing to say.

February 9, 2010: Mom passed away 10:30pm.

May 18, 2010: Life has taken on a life of it’s own. My husband, John, accepted a job in and moved to St. Louis, MO two weeks after Mom died. He has since parted company with that job and is actively looking for a position in the lower 48 but may return to Anchorage. Several other events out of our control have taken place. Some large: John’s uncle passed away as did his parents’ cat, Chessie. Some small: two trips to pet emergency with Angus; my office fish died.

I sum up this time with the phrase “my fish died.” Floating in his bowl, bloated and without color, Archimedes’ body frightened me and girlfriends took pity on me and buried him in the garden.

October 20, 2010: We traveled east to begin clearing out the house.

November 22, 2010: I’m looking forward to the holidays for the first time in my life. That’s the beginning and the end of a very long, not terribly interesting story.

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