"Am I dying?"
My Mom asked me that question when I arrived at Lancaster General Hospital June 1, 2009. What we all thought would be a brief visit for recovery turned into repeated hospitalizations, open heart surgery and eventually dialysis.
"Yes you are" I told her. My Mom has never been one to mince words and it was such a direct question I felt she deserved the respect of an honest and direct answer. She was dying. The renal disease on top of everything else was destroying her body. She weighed 84 pounds and was wasting away. It was the most gut wrenching experience of my entire life. Still is...
"I don't want to die. I want to live."
"I want to go home."
I fed her. I spoon fed my mother as much and as often as she could possibly tolerate. The food tasted horrible to her. I told her to eat it anyway. Renal disease causes a decreased appetite and the food tastes like metal. Lovely, huh? I made her eat all the time.
"I want to see Malia get married and I want to see my great-grandchild." My mother chose to live. We spent 16-24 hours a day together in the hospital and then at Landis Homes for three weeks so she could get enough strength back to travel to Ohio and return home.
We are back in Ohio. She is home. She is at dialysis right now. It's been the best thing that ever happened to her. I truly believe that. We aren't out of the woods yet and I still ask for your thoughts and prayers as they are most appreciated.
Once again, knitting kept me sane. If you look at my projects page on Ravelry you'll see a lot of market bags, seed stitch and the like. I chose projects that were satisfying and relatively mindless. My mind was too full to think about designing. It still is.
I'll get some pictures up here later. Right now I have to get back to the dialysis center and pick her up. I miss my daughter, I miss my friends. I have enough knitting here to keep me busy when I get a chance. I am grateful she is still on this earth and we can laugh and cry together. She is a remarkable woman and I have great admiration for her.
Sooooooo...I'll grab my knitting and head off to the DSI center to pick up Mom. Maybe we'll take a drive in the valley. If you read this please keep her in your thoughts.
I love you,Mom. And you're not a burden.
Must knit now,
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
That's my Mom, Jeanne. Since last July it's been one thing after another for her. She's had 4 knee replacements. How does that happen? She said the first 2 must have been factory rejects. So, in July she had the 3rd one done and then the other knee gave out in September. As if that wasn't enough Thanksgiving Day her appendix burst. Twelve days later she had a heart attack. Now we are all in the process of learning about dialysis. That's the next hurdle.
Why bring this up? A lot of my knitting since that July has taken place in emergency rooms, hospital rooms, critical and intensive care units, rehab facilities, waiting rooms, therapy rooms, Mom's house when I hang out with her and so on and so forth. If you see any projects on Ravelry under Phyll (that's my Ravelry ID) a lot of them are hospital projects.
I knit through it all. I knit with desperation at times. I knit in the dark and I knit with tears. I couldn't control what was happening to my Mom. I couldn't take her pain away, make it all better for her and get her back home. I couldn't do much of anything except be an advocate for her, keep her company and try to smile through it all. And knit.
And knit I did. Controlling the yarn, the needles, the project...those loops made one after another...thousands upon thousands of loops was all about control for me. It kept me sane. It gave me something to do during the hours and days of this whole nightmare. I'd show my Mom what I was knitting, the nurses and doctors, anyone and everyone would ask me about my knitting. All of those Cindy Lu Who stockings were knit in some health care place.
I just hauled it everywhere. If I didn't believe in the therapeutic benefits of knitting before this I surely do now!
I learned a lot too. In spite of the dismal news coverage day after day I have found an incredible amount of kindness in this world of ours. I've learned it's the little things that matter, like salt on mashed potatoes or coffee, or just a smile. I've learned that I have an incredible Mother who has a deep strength and although she may not feel it at this moment I see it in her. I've learned there are so many people out there with similar circumstances and that has given me hope. I've learned that I have a really wonderful family. Distance, kids, life, work can get in the way of learning how wonderful family is. I've also learned that sometimes it's okay to cry and laugh at the same time...at some very odd things let me tell you! We won't go there.
So, I'll keep knitting. I miss my Mom a lot. She's with my brother Steve and his family right now. I'll see her soon. If I don't post a blog for awhile you'll know why. I was going to put up a bunch of hospital projects but decided to just leave this with my Mom's picture. If you read this please keep her in your thoughts.
I love you Mom.
Must knit now,