Then and Now: Second Drug Down

Sometimes wisdom comes in unwanted ways. The learning curve gets painfully steep during medical crises. There is trauma mixed with desperate love for a heart-breaking combination.

I am adding some things here that I have learned while my father was in the hospital with cancer. These were hard lessons. These situations may arise with your family as you navigate serious medical decisions. Let’s hope you never get to this point.

The first difficult situation is when all decision makers do not agree on the next course of action. Different personalities handle emergencies differently. This can cause friction within your frazzled family. A hospital social worker may need to get involved to get a clear idea of what the patient wants and what the doctors advise. Sometimes it is only a matter of miscommunication. Sometimes one person’s expectations are unrealistic. Other times fear blurs logic and makes a loved one afraid to have any treatment tried despite the necessity.

The second difficult situation involves Covid-19 protocol. Some hospitals allow only one family member to be with the patient. Who will that person be in your family? We tag-teamed and texted constantly to keep everyone in the loop. It was still lonely and stressful. Other hospitals do not allow any visitors under some conditions. This is horrible for everyone, especially the patient even though it may be necessary. This pandemic has effected the lives of everyone, even those who have not had Covid and are fully vaccinated. Hopefully this will end in the coming year or two.

My family left a notebook in the hospital room so that everyone could record what happened on their watch and left notes of love and encouragement in it for the other members of the team. Near the end of daddy’s life, we wrote down his every word and movement so that the information would be there to share with the entire family.

Maybe some “If- Then” discussions and role playing ahead of time will help prepare your family before you are trapped with these hospital protocol dilemmas. It is always better to be proactive than reactive.

Lastly, I would like to add that PTSD may be in your future. When it finally makes itself known, get some support and/or medication. The whole family is affected by the serious illness of a loved one. Self-care of the care-giver is very important. That’s YOU Other Mother. Your family needs you healthy and whole to play your role.

Seasoned Mama

Be Brave: Then and Now

Epilepsy requires bravery from everyone involved.

Mama had to fight through a whole lot of fear to get to the brave side of the continuum. The fear is always there. The bravery has to be sought for and fought for. This was the hard part for me, but not for Rose.

Bravery is in her blood. Sometimes she reminds me of Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. She is perched atop the mast of her boat yelling at the storms and shaking her fist. That is her super power.

Where did this come from? Experience. Rose knows her storms are inevitable, so instead of going below to cower, she climbs her mast and dares it to destroy her. No where is safe. Might as well give epilepsy the finger.

Her bravery has been a surprise since she was small. Doctors expected to drug her for certain procedures. “No need.” I told them. She sat quietly watching or lay in the tunnels with her eyes on me as machines examined her insides. Her bravery was a blessing. It forced me be brave or at least pretend to be brave.

Reposting of Chapter 7: The First Neurologist will be on Saturday, June 12.

Hiding the Elephant

I have been known to bring home pets without permission.

Either the creature needed me or I needed it, so it came home with me.

Now, when I see an animal and say “It needs me.” or ‘I need it.”, someone in the family chants “NO MORE PETS” like a mantra.

Once, I had a long vivid dream in which I brought home a baby elephant and had to keep moving it around to hide it.

That is how I feel now, like I am hiding an elephant.

Its name is Fear.

Rose goes back to the university tomorrow. She is packing. I am sewing.

There is tenseness in the air. She knows I am anxious.

She has bags of mask to give away for her “Circle of Safety.”

Rose knows that I am a COVID nutcase.

I need her to be my ‘wingman’ on outings. I am fiercely afraid.

I fear the virus will find us. I fear it will take someone I need and love.

I have lost enough this year.

So there is Fear looming large, like an elephant.

I am trying to hide it.

I just need to keep it in check another day and a half.

Mama Bear is hiding her elephant from Baby Bear,

because Rose has her own elephants that she hides from me.

It’s a game we play, Hide and Don’t Seek.

I don’t need my elephant and neither does Rose.

Mama Bear

On the Move

Think of us tomorrow when we let Rose go again.

She came home last spring when the university closed due to Covid-19.

We are taking her back tomorrow.

She is supposed to stay until Thanksgiving. No fall break.

This is an experiment. I am a scientist.

My prediction is the virus will win again.

Not because it is strong and smart, but because we are weak and ignorant.

Young folks cannot see very far. They live in the now.

They hate rules and love risks. That is the great part about being young.

I miss that.

This virus is invisible. Young folks are invincible.

Pandemic protocol is stifling.

I know Rose will be as safe as anyone there.

But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

So think of us tomorrow as we boldly go into an experiment

that is most likely doomed to failure because of others.

Freedom has its costs.

We cannot get to the other side of this pandemic without paying our dues.

We are on the move and so is the virus.

Flow

The Fear is Still Here

Rose is away at college, but the fear is still here.

I foolishly thought that it would leave when she left.

That she would take it with her, but I was wrong.

I was unaware of this until a friend pointed it out…

that I gasped “Oh, no.” every time the phone rang during our visit.

My phone rang while I was shopping yesterday.

“Oh, no.”

This fear did not leave because she did.

It is still here.

It does not belong to her.

It is my own.

Seizure Mama