Saturday, March 08, 2008

Mary Louise And The Boys, Easter, 1951

Easter, 1951, Mary Louise and the boys Jimmy, Tommy and Bobby. Jim is 58, Tom is 57 and Bob is 60.

My Mom had a heart valve transplant done maybe seven or eight years ago. While on the operating room table, she had a stroke. She fought back and, until the ice storm of January, 2007, was doing well.

Last January's ice storm knocked her down and she had a hard time getting back up. She contracted pneumonia and became tethered to an 02 nebulizer machine and the portable bottles of oxygen and the clear plastic tubing. But still, she did well, as well as could be expected.

A house two doors down from us became available last March and she moved into that house. It was a lot closer to us than her other home. The three boys, Trey, Austin and Blake go down to visit "Grandma Weezer" quite frequently. She has colors, books on how to make paper airplanes, pretzel rods (she calls them cigars and would ask the boys if they would like a cigar), and calls Austin "Kevin". She lets the boys play 'hide and go seek' in her house, they are the hiders and she is the seeker.

She would walk around the neighborhood pushing her walker, stopping to visit with whomever was out in their yard. Tyler, the neighbor boy who lives across the street from her, would help her carry in her groceries.

Our neighbor Jack came last Spring and tilled up a large area for her to plant her garden plants. She has her deck full of seedlings waiting to for Spring to come to put them in the dirt. She likes getting hands dirty in the dirt and she had a good green thumb.

Mom called me about a week ago and said she was having a difficult time catching her breath. I walked down there. She was sitting by the phone breathing very shallow breaths. I checked her 02 bottle and saw it was empty. She had been to the hairdresser's and taken an empty bottle and had gone all afternoon without oxygen. I went and turned on her nebulizer machine and got her hooked up that way. I stayed down there most of the evening. We talked about a lot of things. She said I was such a beautiful baby. I told her I bet she says that to all her kids. Her 02 levels never came up to where they should be and the next Sunday an ambulance came and took her to the hospital.

Her heart valve is failing. As I understand it, the valve is calcified and not closing properly, allowing blood to flow between the chambers. Mom will be 80 years old on April 30. Her doctors (and she has very good doctors) suggest that we arrange around the clock care and bring in hospice. She may go to Primose Place for a week or 10 days and then come home.

My little brother Tom said you save all your life for a rainy day, well, it's starting to rain right now. Fortunately we kept in contact with the caregivers for Tillie and Anne (my wife's Mother and a dear friend) and we were able to get two of them. They knew of two others who might be available and they were. So now, we have the 24 hour care Mom will need when she gets out of the hospital.

To those bus riders who have been on this trip before, you know how the story ends and you know that positive energy and kind words smooth out the bumps. To those riders who have never been this way before, hang on, it's the ride of your life.


The Lorax said...

In the quiet moments, you will find the peace and energy to carry on when others cannot.

And when others are strong, let your guard down and take in the moment as you must.

It was this way many Marches ago for my family.

We're thinking of you and your fam, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Your post brings to mind my own mother, just turned 76, though luckily for me & she, still strong as a horse. I need to not take these good days for granted...and should definitely give her a call today.

Stay strong.

Jackie Melton said...

Jim, thank you for updating us on how your Mother is doing. I'm sorry to hear that hospice has been called in but I understand that they are wonderful people and will be very supportive of your family.

You know that I'm on the bus with you right now. Sometimes I can see through the windows, other times the smear of suffering blocks the view. They can be both the most beautiful of times and the most heartbreaking of times.

You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Our thoughts are with you and your family. Spend as much time with your mom as you can, you'll never regret it.

We've taken the trip. Many of our friends are on the journey now.

Love that picture of your mom, young, energetic, vibrant. Beautiful.

Józef Jan Hughes said...

Jim, my mother-in-law passed away January 9 and the hospice people were a tremendous blessing to her (and to the entire family). So sorry to hear things have taken this turn. Blessings on your mom and all of you who love her and everyone who helps take care of her. Right now, I'm up in WI visiting Dad and we're making the most out of every minute of it.

Anonymous said... is your little bro down in ocala florida....all of us who are not with you, Tom and, yes, Jane, love and appreciate all you are doing for our sounds like your busplunge members know the feeling and appreciate it...thanks st patty's parade looked like a blast, again...john david