3.11.2010

My Mom's Stroke

My mom had a stroke this morning. She is paralyzed (at least for now) on her left side, and SOMEHOW, by the grace of God really, she was able to drag herself from her room through the bathroom & into the family room to call my dad this morning. She said she cried a lot and it was frustrating. She kept saying she didn't want to "be like granny," referncing her mom's death last year to a stroke. They took her by ambulance to the hospital, and she is now in ICU. This happened about 6 am. The great news is she can talk, though it is hard for her & it is hard to tell exactly what she’s saying b/c of her left side. But she is talking w/us & complaining & that is so comforting to report. She is still “mom”- and this is a relief beyond measure. My dad, as you might expect, is devastated. It is the worst thing in the universe to see your dad like this. For whatever reason, one of the paramedics that brought mom in was lingering around. He came in to check on mom & dad after a while, and he was asking dad how long they’ve been married. Dad told him, 31 years. The man gave dad a button that says, “I love my wife” which seemed to have knocked the wind out of dad. It was an old pin, I don’t know if the old guy wore it himself for years or what, but it was so sweet of him to give that to my dad. Jack, Ash & I were at the hospital today in shifts with him and her, and ash & I are here at the house tonight, though dad’s sleeping in the ICU with mom. We don’t know much about her prognosis- we should know more tomorrow after the doctors make their rounds.

Yuck. It was awful to come to this house which is SO totally “my mom” and not have her here, and clean up the house- the blueberry muffins she made last night, the things she knocked down on her way to try to get to the phone, her slippers & glasses by the couch, etc. I told her today that I was SO proud of her for making such an unreal and heroic effort to get to the phone. I told her that that probably saved her life, and I told her that I KNOW she did that for her family and that is proof of how much she loves us. She agreed. I told her, "Mom, you know this is going to suck and be hard, but you know you're going to be ok right?" and she agreed. I asked, "mom you're going to be fine- the worst is over- but if something bad happened to you have total faith in jesus christ?" and she agreed on that point too. Friends and family, do not wait to have these conversations.

This morning when Jack called me I got from beaverton to the tualatin hospital in record time. I had to call jack part way there because I realized he did not say if mom was alive or not- just to get to the hosptial, that she'd had a stroke. He said she was alive, but I didn't know what to expect. I got there to find my dad alone in the room with a box of kleenex, waiting for them to bring mom back from the catscan. The sight of that man worried over his high school sweetheart broke my heart. But God is so, so good to us, and here's one reason why: tonight before I left the hospital my dad was rubbing my mom's back (she is in pain and quite uncomfortable). My mom lifted her good hand, all tied up with tubes and monitors, and started rubbing his chest while he stood at her side. She said, I love you. He didn't quite hear her, so he asked what she said. She said louder, I love you. He bent to her and put his forehead to hers and told her how very much he loves her too. Man. Such simple words, said a million times to one another in their lifetime, but it was the purest and most powerful exchange of love I've ever seen. I felt almost intrusive watching this, but most of all I just feel so blessed to have witnessed it.

The road ahead is terrifying and overwhelming. Will mom be paralyzed? Will the clot in her brain cause another stroke or take her from us? Will she be able to recover? So much unknown, and even though I'm hoping for answers tomorrow I expect we will spend a lot of time "waiting and seeing." I am optimistic and hopeful that she'll gain mobility back. That's what I'm praying for, anyhow. I see God's grace and glory in so many ways- that my mom made it to the phone, that my dad picked up, that the stroke hasn't taken away the essence of who she is. I am thankful- SO thankful- for a family and network that care so much for us. I praise god for my mom, and for her sense of humor. Let's wrap this up on a cheerful note- here is a list of funny things mom has said today:

"I've fallen and I can't get up" (really- she said that to me in the ER)
She keeps asking for a cigarette- she took off her oxygen b/c she said they wouldn't give her a cigarette by the oxygen. When we told her she couldn't have one she asked us (repeatedly) to take her into the bathroom so she could have one. Nope.
She is really wanting to drink, but they won't let her drink anything. She asked for a pen & paper (it is hard for her to talk) and dad & I anxiously watched on, wondering what message she had- it said (in excellent, beautiful, NORMAL handwriting)- Get the doc and tell him - drink not tomorrow but KNOW." "KNOW" being underlined and with exclamation points, and I will point out that her misspelling this has nothing to do with the stroke :)

Please join me in praising God for my mom- for her mental accuity especially, and praying for miraculous physical healing.

10 comments:

kokia said...

Your mom and dad are in my thoughts and prayers. May health and blessings be yours. With love, Kokia.

Kate said...

Thank you so much for this Michelle. I have been praying so much for your mom and you guys. Please let us know if there is anything you need.

Dottie said...

Michelle, I'm so SORRY! Your mother sounds so brave and courageous, what wonderful characteristics. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts!!

Wren said...

Michelle, I love your mom and entire family so much! Am praying continuously. Aunt Jenny

Izzie said...

Your Mom is a wonderful strong woman. She is in our prayers for a speedy recovery. You know your dog pack is there for anything your family might need.

Brianna said...

Ken and I were already planning on coming down to PDX this wknd. Call today if you need anything-- I'll be calling anyway when we get into town this afternoon. We're happy to be errand-runners or dinner go-fers or whatever else you guys need. I've been praying and asked the prayer team at work to pray too. Love you all!

Melissa said...

Michelle, we are praying for your family. Your mom is amazing and so brave. If you guys need anything we are just a phone call away.

Nina said...

Your prayer family is growing and I am one of them. We can see the hand of God already and His promise to not leave us as He walks with us daily to give us His strength,grace and all we need. I am Mike B. mom-in-law.

Anonymous said...

Michelle that is so funny about the cigarette because that is exactly what my mom did when she was in the hospital. We know she went into the bathroom to smoke! Watch your mom!

May you all feel wrapped in God's love and care.

Love, Aunt Amanda

Chuck said...

It was nice to see all of you at the hospital doing what families do - loving and caring for each other. The love you have for each other is priceless and will make a difference in Karen's recovery. God Bless all of you - we will continue to pray for Karen's recovery.