A New Year's Gift

My Lesson in Compassion
This past year has been a difficult one in my family, particularly for my 84 year old mother, who has struggled with multiple major health issues over the past 20 years. About 10 days before Christmas, she fell at home, and shattered her pelvis. After a painful and complicated surgery, she was placed into a nursing home on Christmas Eve. This is one of several recent stays there for her and now her future is uncertain. My Dad has become unable to care for her himself and they have adamantly refused any outside help. This particular quality my parents possess, one of fierce self-reliance, has been equally frustrating, infuriating and also strangely admirable. A steadfast marriage of 60 years has served them both well.

On New Year's Eve, my own health disintegrated and I was admitted to our local hospital. Some of you know that I was a critical care nurse for most of my adult life, and I have always prided myself on providing technically excellent and compassionate care to my patients. This turn of events, where I find myself on the receiving end of that care has provided me with an unexpected gift - a realization of a minute fraction of the life my Mom has endured for years. To be literally at the mercy of a total stranger - most of them kind, most of them competent, most of them believing that they are also compassionate and empathetic.

I sit here looking out the window of my hospital room, knowing that my stay will hopefully be brief... wondering. What fragment of life is my mother gazing at outside her own window. How is she adjusting to the uncertainties, knowing at some level that the life she has loved and lived has become something so beyond her control?

God please grant her the peace of acceptance.

Mom - I send you my love and my strength.

(written 1-4-07)


Anonymous Donna said...

Deb I hope you and your Mother are well on your way to recovery by the time you read this. Life throws us these curve balls all too often. Thinking of you, from your tablemate in Beckah's class at Art and Soul.
Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Friday, January 05, 2007 3:32:00 PM  
Blogger One Crabapple said...

Wow Deb....I am speechless.

You know...honest , I asked myself yesterday while I was driving WHY I had for the past days I kept seeing your blog picture flash in my mind

oh I dont claim to be pyschic - no worries !

but then I read this ! I was so sorry to hear about your mom. I know about taking care of your folks and how hard it is - what a reality check it is ! you begin to think about how short life is and how much closer we are to this age than we realize , etc etc.

I am sorry about your mom. I would torture myself with thoughts just like you are having - staring out that window....maybe she is okay with it , and maybe she is thinking of you....

You have quite a bit on your plate I see.

And now you are sick too ?! what is this ?

And stuck in the hospital that many days ?

Thinking of you Dear Friend - with your new pretty hair & cut....I hope you will be back on your feet soon with strength to cope with your mom & dad.

Prayers for your mom too.

Love, S.

Friday, January 05, 2007 5:54:00 PM  
Blogger One Crabapple said...

oh shoot ! I meant to sign off as

"Madame S."

(apparently I have visions now ??)

Friday, January 05, 2007 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger LisaOceandreamer said...

oh dear Deb, how your feelings about your mom resonates with me. Please know my heart is with you.
and now on top of all your worries YOU find yourself in hospital too. (no doubt she worries for you too) I truly hope with all my heart you come home soon and feeling well.
I've noticed your blog hadn't changed as I was making my way around again and was wondering about you. I was sorry to read the reasons why.
I send you a warm, gentle hug.

Friday, January 05, 2007 6:36:00 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

Deb -- I'm sending you get well wishes -- there's a lot on your plate right now -- take care of yourself, too xoxox

Friday, January 05, 2007 8:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Sombra said...

Deb, I'm so sorry that you have been unwell! I'm praying for your quick recovery and that of your mom's.

Saturday, January 06, 2007 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Tatterededge said...

Dear Deb, I send you gentle hugs for your aching heart. I know what it's like to have to place a loved on in care. It's so difficult to make the adjustment, because, when at all possible, you want them to be healthy and independant. It broke my heart to do it, however I knew deep down that it was the most loving thing I could do. It meant that they would have trained medical care round the clock which meant we were able to have several more good years together, which I doubt would have been possbile otherwise.

I am so sorry the stress of this has taken a toll on your own health and I send you healing energy. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you journey in unchartered territory.

Saturday, January 06, 2007 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger primdollie said...

Oh Deb I am so sorry that not only your mom but now you as well in the hospital!! Oh dear i do so hope that you will be home soon and doing better and as well for your mom!!! I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers and for you to have strength to keep your chin up and keep going and know all about those thoughts going thru your head I am sure we have all thought them at one time or another!!! I hope that things will take a turn for the better VERY soon! thinking of you!! Love Linda

Saturday, January 06, 2007 1:50:00 PM  
Blogger cinderelly said...

i wish you a fast recovery, deb. so sorry for your difficulties. it is hard when you are not feeling well, and also when your parents are not well...i know i often forget mine are not immortal after all. get well soon!

Saturday, January 06, 2007 5:04:00 PM  
Blogger liz said...

dear deb,
so sorry to read of your difficult time. i hope you will soon be feeling SO much better...and that your mom and dad will be able to adjust to this change in their lives and embrace it. thinking of you and sending much love and hugs
liz xx

Sunday, January 07, 2007 6:53:00 AM  
Blogger Maija said...

Dearest Deb...I am praying for you and your mom. Be well.

Sunday, January 07, 2007 1:42:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I sure hope you are feeling better, Deb! I will be thinking about you and your Mom,,hope you will be home and creating soon!

Sunday, January 07, 2007 7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Dear Deb,

I hope you are well on the mend now! I am so sorry to hear that you were in the hospital on top of everything else! Praying that you and your parents are in the best of health soon!


Sunday, January 07, 2007 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger AnnieElf said...

I deeply feel the pain you are feeling about your mom's condition. I'm so sorry that you have had to actually walk in her shoes for a bit and become intimately acquainted with what she must be feeling. Blessings to you. Get well soon.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:35:00 AM  

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