Family crises should be short and sweet and then over.
Luckily, my Mom, who was supposed to die, is now home, puttering around instead of resting, worrying about the dirt in her kitchen grout that nobody can clean as well as she does. She and my father are muttering at each other in the passive aggressive way they have worked out over 56 years of marriage. And my father has reverted to his way of ignoring her, but still obeying her commands, slowly, in his own good time. In other words-all systems normal here...
I leave Thursday, rejoicing in my mom's near miss, sad because they grow ever older and feebler, and struggle more and more to overcome even the smaller crises in their lives, while becoming more and more stubborn about changes, about listening to advice from their children, doctors, or friends. (Boy, is that a run on sentence, or what?)
Luke, Catherine and I became more of ourselves, too, under the pressure of Mom's crisis. Catherine arrived here for a vacation the day my mom finally called 911. She moved in to her librarian informational mode, spending hours at the hospital talking to doctors and nurses, finding nooks and crannies to nap in, roaming from mom's room to my room, trading info back and forth. Some vacation. She also got the list of stuff for mom would need for the rehab center(to which she never went), put mom's name on every piece of clothing, packed 4 suitcases,struggling to do it all perfectly because she has to get an A++ in all she does, especially when it comes to pleasing Dad. And he was angry at her because she packed more than he thought Mom should need. I am sure she was glad to return to MI.
Luke, and his wife Mary, stuck by mom's bedside, too, holding her hand and telling her to hang in, stay with us, calling me in CT with updates-come next week, no, come sooner, no, come now, the cardiologist says she won't make it out of the hospital...while I freaked out(quietly) at home, madly changing plane reservations, figuring out when the soonest I could arrive here was.
Luke got himself in trouble with them later, just before Mom was due to come home. He decided he should talk the doctors into sending her to the rehab center after all, because he hoped he could get a better idea ofMom's myriad of medical problems-despite the fact they obviously do not want us to know much. Luke had a shouting match blowout with Dad at the hospital-they are very much alike, stubborn and sure they are always right-and has not been back since. It is okay-Mary has been around and helpful, and Luke leaves for Alaska for a job next week. All will be fine when he returns, I'm sure, and the incident will never be discussed.
I got here Thursday(mom's emergency surgery was Mon night) in time to see that she was much better, then keeled over myself-helpful thing to do in the middle of someone else's crisis. When I got out of the hospital and returned to my parents' house, I was pretty weak and wobbly, tethered to an oxygen making machine, feeling vulnerable and not much help. I fell into my familial role as go between. I tried to explain to Dad why Luke wanted Mom in rehab-he wouldn't listen to me. I also defended Catherine's packing and got glowered at. He has had a bad week.
Mom came home, and I tried to help with her meds and doctors' appointments-he cut me off, pointing out acerbically that he had managed last years cancer crisis just fine(a different matter of opinion among his kids, but I was smarter than to bring that up!) He could cook and clean and take care of her...I retreated to the basement family room, and let them settle in to their normal routine.
Since then I have been helpful to Mom in a lot of quiet ways, and even Dad has backed off enough to let me help a bit with dishes and meals and such. But I will be glad to go home tomorrow, even though I have to pay $200 to have oxygen on the flights! I will miss being here with them, however, because it feels as if I can somehow magically stave off the next inevitable crisis just by being here. Magic thinking, indeed!
They are hoping to come East to PA by July, so I may get to see them again, somewhere where there is oxygen in the air-unlike Denver, where there is no air in the air! At least not enough for me. Thank you for your care and concern for both of us-I am sure it helped.