Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The call comes around 4:00. My sister. An hour and a half away.

"I don't want to scare you, but I'm on my way to meet mom and Nancy (my other sister) at the hospital."

"The hospital? Why? What's wrong?"

"I don't know yet. Nancy went to get mom for her doctor's appointment and something was wrong. I think she said Mom was on the floor."

"What??? Should I come?"

"Just wait, wait until we know something. I'll call you as soon as I get to the hospital."

I had just been down and spent the afternoon with my mom on Saturday. My mom, who will turn 80 next Monday, is a pretty lively gal. She still drives, does volunteer work, plays bridge several times a week, eats out almost every night. She was excited to give me a pair of shoes she had found on sale. Wanted to go to Target. Told me about her plans for the symphony on Sunday. Talked about what she was reading. We met Nancy and her partner, Traci, for dinner.

That day, my mom was a little more preoccupied than usual with her age. Worried about who would take her dog if something happened to her. Told me about who should get what piece of her crystal. Wondering if she should sell her patio home and move to assisted living. I thought all of these conversations probably had to do with her impending birthday. Somehow 80 sounds much older than 79.

My mom had complained a little about a pain in her head. She had a doctor's appointment on Monday and was planning to tell the doctor. It didn't sound like anything serious. And she seemed okay.

But now my sister is telling me she is en route to the hospital.

I debate jumping into the car, but I know, in rush hour in Denver, it will take several hours to get there. And I am unsure, at this point, how serious the situation actually is. Whether they will even still be at the hospital by the time I can get there.

My sister calls. And calls again. And again. And again.

It seems my mom was getting ready for her doctor's appointment. Nancy, who is a nurse, was going to go with her. Somehow, my mom collapsed on the floor in her family room and could not get up. Luckily my sister arrived a few minutes later. My mom's left leg was weak. She was off balance. Could not walk without assistance. They went to the doctor's office, but he sent them directly to the ER.

There were blood tests. A CAT scan. Nothing showed up, but the doctor was concerned about her lack of balance and the pain in her head. He decided to admit her and do an MRI today.

And now I'm sitting in Denver, wondering what I should do.  The district is making some pretty significant changes in primary grade literacy and today is the rollout. I am supposed to attend a workshop with our K-2 team today. I want to be at the workshop, with the teachers I am supposed to coach.

But I also want to be with my mom.

Both my sisters have taken the day off. They will spend the day at the hospital today, then I will go down tonight and spend the day tomorrow.

But I wonder what will happen the day after that. And the day after that. And the next one.

Will my mom be able to take care of herself? Will she be able to play bridge and do volunteer work? Take herself to the symphony and the store and out to lunch? Will she need a walker? A companion? Assisted living?

I knew this day would come someday.

But I did not expect it to be today. 

And somehow, I am not prepared.


Nanc said...

I will pray for your mom, you and your sisters. I felt you anxiety in this piece. I am not ready for this with my parents either. xo

Bernadette said...

Don't jump to conclusions - your mother may pull through this health problem just fine. I understand your feelings about not being prepared for your mother not being able to be fully responsible for herself. I would tell you that you can NEVER prepare for this role reversal but your family will support each other and your Mom and it will be ok.

Linda B said...

I'm sorry for this Carol, and know it's never easy, especially long distance. If I can do anything to help, please let me know. As Bernadette said, it may be less than you think, yet I imagine your thoughts are racing in many directions. Sending hugs your way.

Kyle said...

I am sending positive energy your way.

Tara said...

I don't think one is ever prepared, Carol. You'll do what you need to do, empowered by love and the support of the rest of your family. I'm thinking of you and sending prayers your way.

elsie said...

This is something. We all face and we are never ready for it. I pray for your mom and you.

Penny Jansen said...

Saying my prayers for you and your mom. We had similar scares in the fall with Eric's Dad. After some scary weeks he rallied...

writekimwrite said...

My dad is 81 and has had numerous health issues since a heart attack at 61. I have had such anxiety and terrible moments of worry. He has always recovered, and continues to live independently but there will be a day the outcome will be different. I have learned to just be calm and take each event as it unfolds. My sister is a great support, though he lives near me. It really helps and remembering God will give me what I need when I need it to cope with whatever happens in the future. BUT I say to myself that is not today's worry. Blessings, prayers and hugs because this is hard!

Mary Lee said...

Thinking of you...and me...and my mom, so far away.

Jaana said...

Hopefully by now you might even have some more good news! Prayer for you and your mom! Take it a day at a time.