I have been wanting to get to this since Mama and Daddy’s visit to the doctor, but just haven’t had the courage or the time! I’ll explain about the courage part, but you all understand about the time part!
Last Wednesday we all packed up into the van for the said visit – well, all of us except Molly! She was sad to be at home by herself, and Mama had a really hard time leaving her, but I somehow doubt Dr. Sharpless’ office would appreciate our little doggie as we do!
I thought Mama did pretty well getting ready, especially knowing that early mornings are simply not her friend! Jeanne and I were pretty excited about our day together, too, so I think our fun attitudes rubbed off on Mama a little bit.
Dad was seen first, and basically they said he is still showing pneumonia in that right lung, but seems to be improving. They put him back on a bit of an antibiotic and Musinex, and he has to go back next week for another Xray.
We waited just a bit for Mama’s appointment time, and Daddy said he would just as soon wait by himself in the lobby, so Jeanne, Mama, and I went in. Mama has lost more weight, and is obviously weaker – almost by the day. She was down 3 pounds since her last visit last month. When Dr. S saw her, he began to talk with us about eventualities. This is where the courage part comes in.
I have known for a long time that Mama is on the downhill slide of her life. She’s 82, she has dementia/Alzheimer’s, she has severe arthritis all over, but especially in her back, she has kidney disease…well, she’s just not in good health at all. Knowing in my head the facts of my Mama’s health is one thing, but really hearing the truth in my heart is completely different. I am grateful that the Lord has allowed us to receive this heart knowledge bit by bit, and this doctor visit gave Jeanne and me another bit of truth.
Now as I tell you what is going on, let me first say that it is just “more of the same”. There is no new diagnosis; there is no time frame; nothing like that. Dr. Sharpless simply acknowledged and passed on the truth of Mama’s condition – which we already knew, but perhaps hadn’t received – and that truth is that Mama’s aged body is beginning the shut-down process. She is already malnourished, and will only get worse. She is already weak and in pain and will only get worse. She is already demented, and will only get worse. He also said we need to begin thinking about her care when (he did not say “if”) she becomes bedridden. He mentioned “hospice”.
Hard words, these, to hear about your precious Mama. Hard truths to received in this heart that is still sometimes her Mama’s little girl . Jeanne and I sat on the porch when we got home and settled the folks in, and just talked about it all. Parenthetically, let me say that I am so grateful for that “porch time”. We don’t get much together time in this tag-team effort we do, so we really were happy to be together!
Daddy came out on the porch to sit with us and talk awhile. Mama was sleeping in her exhaustion from the morning, so we were able to explain things to Dad and talk about the future, as much as we know if it. Dr. S gave Mama a medication to help her sleep at night, thereby helping me sleep at night – YAY!!! He also prescribed her a wheelchair, saying he is amazed she can still walk at all as weak as she often is! The wheelchair is going to be a special blessing, perhaps not as much in the house – don’t know how that will work in Mama’s little mobile home – but perhaps she can get out a little bit with a wheel chair. I know it will depend on how she is each day, perhaps each moment, but even taking her into her own yard would please her!
Today I can write because I did indeed receive a bit of courage from the Lord. After getting some sleep the last two nights, Mama seems to feel a bit better. She actually wanted to talk yesterday, asking questions about the World Series game we were watching (oh, it was a painful game last night!!) and entering into conversations we were having. Mama cannot speak well at all. She can’t think of words she wants to say, she often can’t get them out of her mouth when she does think of them, and for the last couple of weeks, she hasn’t cared about anything going on around her at all! So last night was a delight to me even though conversing with Mama is difficult at best! She still didn’t want to go to bed by herself, but didn’t cry at all.
Lest anyone think I am deluded enough to believe that this upswing means Mama is getting better, don’t worry. I know she isn’t truly going to “get well”. What this tells me, though, is what I was trying to say in the beginning of this post – this is more of the same, not some new and shocking diagnosis. Dr. S said she may continue the slow decline, or she may move downward rapidly. But basically, my daily life in living with Mama and Daddy has not changed much at all. I think right now I am glad about that. As weary as I get, and as much as I long for Mama to experience the “ultimate healing”, I am glad I get to be here with her right now. There will be grace for the other when it comes, but right now God’s grace is abundant for living where He has me!
God bless your day!