All good progress today. This will be brief(er) because I'm exhausted--- but it's the GOOD kind of exhausted-like how you feel after you give birth to a perfect little baby- tired, wary of the the challenges ahead, but OVERWHELMINGLY CONTENT AND THANKFUL.
Two days ago I prayed for mom's LIFE. Yesterday I prayed for mobility. Today I prayed for mom's energy, and so far we're 3 for 3. I cannot say that prayer is always my first response to adversity (as it should be), but when you are desperate and your choices are few, that's where I land. On Thursday Jack & I arrived within minutes of each other & got to Dad before Mom was back from the CT scan. We held each other & I prayed this: "GOD! We are desperate. PLEASE just fix this. I command you in the name of Jesus to fix this." Now I'm not sure I should technically be comanding God- but he knows my heart & it was an honest plea. I KNOW that God is good no matter what, and our prayers are heard, if not always answered in the way we'd expect them to be. But in this circumstance I feel like God is dumping buckets of mercy on us. Things could be so, so much worse. I know somewhere in the back of my head that things can still get worse...but I'll ride this blissful optimism train as long as I can- there is NOTHING to be gained by anticipating a bleak outcome right now.
Mom's energy rebounded today in a big way. She still does some talking with her eyes closed, but she was "awake" a huge part of the day and is conversing in increasingly normal ways. Her snoring sounds normal (LOUD). Her VOICE sounds more normal and less groggy. She is sarcastic, snarky, and complaining...which I swear she does in part to reassure us that she is still the same old mom.
Her physical therapist was VERY encouraged at her progress today- no walking, but a little shuffling (with lots of support) and perhaps she saw a little wiggle in the left toes (!) but definitly improved mobility in her left arm & leg. When asked to move her arm, mom can do it a little. She howled in pain when they repositioned her b/c her left knee hurt. We brought her chocolate ice cream this morning & dad fed it slowly to her. She said after the first taste, "This is heaven on a spoon." She got tired of dad giving her tiny bites so she took the spoon & started shoveling it in. Sadly she was NOT impressed with tonight's dinner menu- PUREED BEEF. Seriously, it was the most disgusting thing I've ever seen not packaged in a cat food can. As retribution for being denied cigarettes and coffee, she made us all taste it. I gagged. We told mom that us 3 girls could only come up with frozen lasagna for dinner last night. She was NOT impressed- she said, "Dad HATES frozen lasagna!" Then she thought better and said, "Well, don't baby him."
Looking back on the day, which for me is ending shortly, the best part was mom's increased energy. A close second though is all the time we are getting to spend with family. At almost all times there's a small, appropriately subdued party going on in mom's room, and a larger party raging in the waiting room. I haven't spent this much time with my parents, brother & sister since about 1996- when we all lived at home & none of us kids had driver's licenses. Tonight, at my own house, I MISS them. Ashley is a cleaning machine, Jack is comic relief, Patty is perfectly squished in like she's been part of this family for 20 years, and my dad is smiling, telling funny stories about mom and taking JOY (as we all are) in the funny things mom says that tell us in no uncertain terms that we have our MOM with us still, and therefore, our hands FULL.
For Rucker's first 3 years of life I spent some SERIOUS time at the dog park. I met some very, very special people. Les, Tony & Tammy are "my pack." You go ahead & laugh at me. That's fine. I'll even fuel your fire: I signed an email to them the other day with this "lots of puppy kisses and tail wags." Anyhow, we have spent many hours together walking our dogs, picking up poop, and becoming friends. I've seen them very little since I had that two legged pup (jo), but despite that, Tammy showed up today at the hospital with THREE LOADS of food. And we're not talking frozen lasagna. Fresh, home made chicken soup. Sandwiches, veggies & ranch, cookies, casserole, cake & chili from Les, a bag of baked bread. It blows me away, brings me to tears, and I fumble for words adequate to describe what this gesture meant to me. My dad shook his head and said - that restores my faith in humanity. Then we feasted :) Tammy & Les aren't the only ones - so many people have blessed us with food. The only chance we have of eating better is getting mom back in her kitchen!
One other specific praise- Mom's attitude has been excellent. She's by no means a "compliant" patient, but neither is she depressed, discouraged, or showing even the faintest sign of self pity. I am SURE that the road to rehabilitation will be hard and mom will be so frustrated & discouraged at times (when weeds sprout up in the yard that she can't pull, when she stumbles or trips, when she finds where Ash & I have creatively put away her dishes)- but for now at least she has been nothing but feisty, stubborn, and BRAVE. I don't know where this reserve has come from, but I think it has to do with the fact that on Thursday morning, a little after 5am, Mom had to make the choice to lie where she'd fallen or make the painstaking, scary, and painful crawl through two rooms - on the HOPE that she'd find the portable phone in the family room. She is literally battered & bruised from her efforts. She has the war wounds to show for it- but the point is that she CHOSE TO FIGHT. I cannot imagine how hard that was for her, but if that isn't a tangible sign of the will to persevere, I don't know what is.
Today started for me at 3am, and I've not napped since. I say that as justification for this disjointed, emotional (aka cheesey) and LONG blog. But good news- I saved the best for last. These are all of the thing's Mom's said in the last day that we have laughed at. All point to one conclusion, she is still herself. Thank God for that!
1. She told Jack last night, "See? I told you all those years you stressed me out would give me a stroke!"
2. Jack was encouraging her (and that is NOT "jack's way") by telling her "GOOD JOB" after every bite she took last night. She told him- I'm not a baby- if you say good job to me one more time I'm gonna hit you. He pushed the limit (which IS "jack's way") so she did, in fact, hit him.
3. Due to her awful headache she's been keeping a cool cloth on her forehead. When the neurosurgeon came to check on her he said, "I'm here to look at your brain." She pulled the towel off & said, "There it is." Later he asked her to smile her "best smile" and she stuck her tongue out at him.
4. Around 4am she asked me for a wheelchair (she's not ready for that yet). I asked if she wanted to sit up, and she said- No. Just go get me a wheelchair & let's go for a spin. (This is her subtle way of asking for a cigarette.)
5. She is asking to be taken to the balcony for a cigarette. She asked for Luke (she thought he'd comply with her request). She's looking in the pockets of her robe for cigarettes. She asked for 4 more nicotine patches. She said to me, "Humor an old lady, give me a cigarette." I told her, Nope- dad told me not to. She said, "Come on- I've humored HIM lots of times!" (These are her blatant ways of asking for a cigarette)
6. She keeps throwing her good leg over the side of the bed & making like she's going to leave. She told the nurse she was ready to leave. The nurse said, "sorry, not today." She replied, "I promise I'll come back if you let me leave." The nurse used good discernment and didn't believe her, which is probably thanks to an entire semester's worth of training in nursing school. In fact I think they wisened up & turned an alarm on the bed in the event that she follows through on these threats! She called Ash & Patty "wussies" for not "busting her out." Someone told her uncle chad would be visiting tomorrow- she advised that he call first because she might be home by then.
7. This is my favorite. Last night I told her that Jack & Patty are going to try to move up closer to Portland. I said, "They might need to stay at your house for a while until they buy a new house." She groaned (loudly) and said NO! I love them, but no. They can move into YOUR house & YOU (meaning me, her favorite child) can move in with me. [smug grin] Later when asked to clarify this statement in front of witnesses she would only say that she just wanted Jo.
Thank you for reading all this. I could be way more concise, but I want to look back & remember all of these details later on when the fog lifts. It's therapuetic for me too. Luke's patiently waiting for me to finish this novel b/c he knows it helps clear my head.
The prayer requests are for Mom's continued high spirits & motivation to get home. Prayer against future strokes, and most of all, praise for God's providence and provision. I am not so foolish to think that God is "agreeing to my demands and terms." I know that's not the case. My mom is here because it's part of God's plan. But I'm not picky & I don't really care on whose terms she's here, I'm just thankful she IS.