Saturday, June 16, 2012

Take it Away...

There are two things I really do NOT like. One is seeing my children suffer, and the other is seeing my parents suffer. I've had a big dose of both, unfortunately.

This is NOT how you are supposed to see your child:
But I did see her that way.

And this is NOT how you are supposed to see your mama:

But I am seeing her that way. I took this photo moments ago.

My mother has had adult onset type 2 diabetes for years. She takes insulin and it's been pretty much under control until about six months ago. Then it began attacking her in the most hideous way.

It started with a little sore on her middle toe. The sore went from bad to worse, and wouldn't heal. Intravenous antibiotics administered at home was supposed to do the trick. Instead, the antibiotics tore up her gut and she fell one night while getting up to go to the bathroom. She split open her head and bled all over the carpet. That bought her a middle-of-the-night ambulance ride to Baptist Hospital.

Over the course of the past six months, she's been in and out of Baptist Hospital with rehab stays in between at Wisteria Gardens, Brandon Court and Methodist Rehab. She's had two toes removed in separate operations and finally, yesterday, she had her leg removed.

This has not been an easy road at all.

I wondered to myself last week why I had been able to handle Nicole falling off a six story building so well, yet my mother's situation is taking such a toll on me. Larry reminded me that when Nicole had her accident, our world STOPPED. My sole focus was on her for months.

But for the past six months, life has not stopped for me. In addition to helping with my mom, I've been working, taking care of Nicole and Joe, dealing with our aging house and other life issues. My sister Sarah has driven down from Nashville four times. That's been a godsend.

I know my situation is not unique. Many of my friends have gone through similar situations with their parents, whether it's cancer or something else. It's simply not easy, and it hurts to see the ones who have been so strong in your life be so needy.

We revisited Nicole's accident last week with a trip to New York Presbyterian Hospital. Sarah and I took our daughters, Nicole and Lauren, to the Big Apple for a few days of fun. But we can't go to New York without going to NYP to visit our angel nurses and doctors. Sarah and Lauren saw for the first time where Nicole was put back together again, and they met the nurses I wrote about on Caring Bridge. We also visited with Dr. Angevine, the brilliant surgeon who looks just like George Stepanopolis!

This was our fourth visit to NYP since Nicole's accident almost four years ago, yet this time, there was a real clarity for Nicole on what really happened there. She learned about the day her heart stopped. She saw families huddled in the hallways, shellshocked and crying and realized that for a while, that was US, and she heard Dr. Angevine talk about the long, difficult surgeries to repair and stabilize her neck and back. She really understood what Larry and I (and our friends and family) went through during that month while she fought for her life. And she began to understand what she went through.

As frustrating as hospitals can be, they are also marvelous places full of compassionate, skilled and really smart folks who have a strong understanding of the human body and the things that can be done to heal them. Today, as I sit in front of the large picture window in my mother's hospital room on this absolutely glorious day, I am praying that the smart folks are especially compassionate today. The pain and suffering my mom is experiencing is cutting to the very core of my heart. If I could take away the pain, I would. I am hitting the button on her pain pump every ten minutes, like clockwork. I am sitting next to her bed so she can see me when she opens her eyes. I want her to know she's not alone.

The good news is that this time of suffering is temporary. I have hope because I see Nicole walking, smiling, laughing and living her life to the fullest, after seeing her knocking on death's door. I am trying hard today to think about brighter days ahead for my mom, once her leg has healed and the pain has stopped. There is a sign in her hospital room that says "The Lord bless you and protect you." I'm praying he blesses her by taking away the pain today.

Blessings to all who read this!