Sunday, November 13, 2011

LIVING ON A THRESHOLD


For more than two months our small, but closely knit family has been constantly living with a death sentence hanging over us.
I've not been comfortable with the way my mother has deteriorated since early spring. She is both bold and stubborn, and has pulled herself immensely together every time we have visited. She also managed to put up a bright face during our daily telephone calls.
At the end of August she agreed to spend some days at the short-time nursing ward in Sauda, for physical training and some vitamin shots.

The following day we received a telephone out of the blue, "Your mother is having severe ventricular fibrillation. Do you want us to interfere if she most likely goes into a cardiac arrest?" My dinner jumped up and down the oesophagus like in an elevator. "Just what are you trying to tell me?"
"Your mother is having a heart attack so severe, she's most likely going to die on the two hour drive to the hospital. Do you want us to use a defibrillator?" "Yes of course, why should you not?" No sensible answer.

At the ER a new doctor is asking the same question, but now I am more conscious. "Why is that a question at all?" "Sometimes the patient can get a brain damage if she's without oxygen for too long. We therefore want the family to decide." "I want for my mother to live as long as God lets her live and I also want you to use your professional skill to help her the best way you possibly can."

After some nerve wrecking hours my Mom was admitted to the heart emergency ward. Serina and brother Kel were on their way and we started on our ten day long surveillance, never leaving our Mom alone for a second.
The third day they cut Mom off water, oxygen and medical supply after having pumped her full of medication the previous days. She also was denied the handful dose of various pills prescribed her by the family doctor.
Everything was shut down and the bed wheeled into a dark room with nothing in it. No monitors, no alarm; just silence.

Room without a view. "Am I in prison"? Mom asked.

I decided I wasn't going to let my mother die of thirst, so I got some water and a straw. She drank a glass in one big sip. For 36 hours we continuously gave her water and Coca Cola, 1,5 litres, plus tiny bits of milk chocolate melting inside her mouth.
Our Mom continued to breathe and live. She opened her eyes and asked, "Am I going to die?" "Maybe," we said honestly, "if God will."

The doc found out this "trying to let my mother slip into coma and sleep in," had gone on long enough. He put her on medication and nutrition and let her stay for nine days. Serina and Kel had to return to their schools. Gunnar and I worked shifts by her bed.
Before she was to be discharged Gunnar and I went to Sauda to fetch gear, lots and lots of gear, so that Mother could stay with us after her hospitalization was over.
Imagine our horror when we returned to find Mom was moved to a geriatric ward before being sent to our home. There she fell out of the hospital bed and seriously injured her head and right ankle. They didn't even bother to x-ray the injuries.

How helpless a person is, when ill and only pros to take action.
Somehow hearts and feelings are all lost in the battle for survival.

Mother stayed with us for over a month, we dined on the terrace, made walks in the garden. She and Gunnar even went for a car trip, before we had guests, who mother glitteringly entertained with her favourite poetry.

Then came the day I knew would come; she decided it was time to move home to Sauda to get physical treatment. After all, she had one broken left hip and one sprung right ankle. Kel followed her home. She was sent back to the local short time ward the next day. This time for three weeks. Nothing much was done. We had to call a meeting with eight persons in charge. Eight persons of whom only three were working at floor level.
Now my mother is back in her home with nurses helping four times a day. We have been there once, but the fear will not let go.
We all have adjusted to the fact that our mother may die in the near future. We will never accept that she shall suffer, hunger, live in fear or in pain.

Prayed? All the time. With my Mom and together. Looking backwards; God hasn't let us down. The daily manna has been provided us day by day.
Walking on promises only, isn't easy for one who thrives being in control.
We have experienced, we are never alone. Angels have been surrounding us all the time.
We, who are slow to learn and who forget so easily.
This is partly why I'm writing this post, for my own good.
On the threshold between life on earth and eternity wonderful things do happen.
The way we measure and value our lives inevitably changes. Money helps buy service, but only so much. A smile, a shared meal, a story, a picture, a hug, some hours of sleep; all the wealth of King Solomon cannot buy or replace these treasures.

Now is time for retreat. Tomorrow will meet with it's own demands and blessings.


10 comments:

Mrs. Mac said...

Live every moment as if in slow motion .. savoring .. looking into loved ones eyes (windows to their soul) .. reaffirming love, patience, kindness and caring. We do not know what tomorrow brings we only have today.

'Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants .. your splendor to their children.' Psalm 90:13-16

Mrs. Mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Cowart said...

Dear Felisol,

What a time you, Gunnar, Serina and Kel have been going through in caring for your mother.

You must be physically and emotionally exhausted. I hope this tough time is drawing you even closer as a family.

Your mother has such beautiful blue eyes. When they finally close, she will still be beautiful.

John

Leora said...

Thinking and praying for your mom, with her beautiful eyes. And for you, may you find peace within yourself.

Sonja said...

Dear Felisol:

This blog could be my own words, it's so close to how I felt when my own mother had a stroke and was in and out of hospitals and homes. It was the hardest time of my life, and I hear it in your words too. Yet in all of it... we KNOW, as your mother KNOWS and has taught you, that God is in control. When we know that, and know that our very days are numbered, it settles our souls. The pain of loss, however, is another thing. I so understand how you must be feeling. It hurts so.

Praying for you all and especially for your precious mother, who reminds me so much of Mor Mor.

Hugs.

Amrita said...

The courage, fortitude and trust mother and all of you have displayed is phenomenal.

I 've been through this dark valley and I know slippery it is. One tries to walk on but finds the sidewalk is made of glass - wet , and slippery - only Jesus keeps us from falling.

Monten has experienced many resurrections in her life - the Holy Spirit has given her body new life.

All of you have deep roots. Makes me recall what George Herbert said," Storms make oaks take deeper roots."

Praying for mother and all of you

Annie said...

Reading this just stirred up so many emotions and memories, Elise. I love how you love your mother. I love how when others do nothing, you are willing to do everything. I'm am elated and angered at the same time. God bless you and yours and your dear mother.

Crown of Beauty said...

For someone who has given so much of herself, it is only fitting that she receive so much more at the time that her earthly days are numbered.

Felisol, I love how you have treated your mother with so much love and honor and respect. Do you realize that the love she has sown into your own life is now bearing fruit, that you are able to give back to her when she needs it most.

Amazing how uncaring medical practitioners can be... denying her water, oxygen, medication... when she is still very much alive... unbelievable.

It is your love for her that has spoken life to her.

Praying that you will receive all the peace, comfort, strength you need at this time, and joy... yes, even joy, knowing our times are in the hands of a good God.

Much love
Lidia

Ralph said...

Your mother seems to straddle the line of this life and the next. What we do not want is technology and medicine to hasten the process. God's will is that the time will arrive in his time. Perhaps only a short time left together in the same life, but the special bond you two share is even stronger than before. We pray for you that the burdens you feel will be lightened...

❀~Myrna~❀ said...

Dear Felisol,
My heart goes out to your mother , you and your family. I am praying for you all.

Blessings