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.