Pass the Purell, Please

Okay, I’m ready to leave.

Both sisters and my brother and I are sitting watching my mother be in a coma. As much as that is “being.” She is on a ventilator and narcotics and Versed and antibiotics in hopes that her internal systems can get themselves reorganized. She was transported from the small community hospital in the Keweenaw Peninsula to Marquette General Hospital early today as she appeared to be crashing in every direction. Her hemoglobin had come up from 3 to 6 with two transfusions but she has pneumonia, congestive heart failure and some sort of septicemia with high spiking temperatures. Marquette is the tertiary care center for the Upper Peninsula and the care here is thorough and kind.

One sister and I literally collided at the Detroit airport as I rushed off my plane from Florida and she from hers so we could connect on the small commuter. My brother is in from Boston and the other sister from Wisconsin.

When we arrived Bud was standing at my mother’s side as he had been for the past 48 hours. He pretty much looked like a small breeze would blow him over; he has pneumonia as well but they hadn’t’t been able to get him to leave the room or even sit in the chair. He just simply answers, “I can’t. That’s my wife.”

Once we came he gave in to his emotions and then gave in to a nap. It took two nurses and two daughters to convince him that it would be good for her if he would rest. They have hospitality rooms here- fully outfitted rooms where you can sleep and eat and make phone calls and go online- for 10.00/day. That’s a good deal. Betsy thinks the best deal is that they have well over a dozen flavors of jello daily in the hospital cafeteria for .50 each.

So Bud is sleeping in a hospitality room and here in my mom’s room there’s a note on the dry erase board that reads, “Bud is in 216” except that “Budisin” all slid together and so it looks like Budism, especially since the 216 is written below. Then someone wrote “Budism reigns.”

Here’s a Budism: While playing Trivial Pursuit a few years ago the question for Bud was, “In what sport do you rack your balls?” Bud, who is very smart and very up on sports, mulled it over this way and that, saying, “why, I just don’t know. Huh. I never heard of that.” until finally out of exasperation, Laurel said, “Dad! Just say any sport!” And he answered, “Shot put?”

“Shot Put!!! Bud! It’s pool! Billiards! You rack your balls in pool!”
And Bud said, “Oh! Rack! I couldn’t’t hear you- I thought you said WRAP.”

My mother came to some a while ago. She recognized my sister and me. She heard me when I said Bud was taking a much needed nap. For just a very few moments every several hours, our presence offers comfort. Then, after a couple minutes she looks panicked; I think right now increased awareness brings both pain and recognition of her situation- both the immediate discomfort of the tube in her throat and then the dawning that she is in the big hospital and all her children are around her. The nurses quickly but gently turned her and sedated her again.

Anyway, I’m ready to leave. But we are all so far from leaving right now. My mother is sicker than she has ever been and I think she’s trying to hang on but it’s going to be slow going. Bud, probably for the first time, thought he had lost her in the early hours of this morning. That fear was still all over him before he fell asleep a few hours ago.

I hate jello. I’ve washed my hands with that foamy stuff about a hundred times. I can’t even breathe deeply for fear of inhaling germs. I’m sitting on a blanket on the floor because it’s more comfortable but the nurse keeps asking me if I want a chair. The novelty of being with my siblings is no fun because we are in this room, with these smells and beeps and drips. We can’t make noise or yell at each other over cards or laugh uproariously over times past. It would take her quick wit and the sparkle in my mom’s eye and the sneaky smile on Bud’s face when he says, “what?? I can’t hear you!” for us to start having fun. Right now, that’s just not happening.Sign_3

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28 responses to “Pass the Purell, Please

  1. Oh Vicki – I was just writing to you on something unrelated and came by to check on something. Now I see this that you and your family are going through. My heart is with you.
    Love, Catinka

  2. I am so sorry Vicki. Your mom and Bud are in my prayers and thoughts today and until she is back up on her feet again. I’ll also keep the you and your siblings in prayer as well; it’s hard to take care of yourself when those you love are sick.

  3. Vicki, please know how very sorry I am about both your Mpm and Bud. I will pray for them and for you and your siblings. Take care of yourself and try to find something to laugh about. Your Mom would probably want that.

  4. Vicki,
    You and your family are in my thoughts today. I hope your mom recovers soon. Don’t forget to get your rest also. Take care.

  5. The Bud and Jan Show takes a turn for the worse. I am typing this through my tears. Even though things sound bleak right now, what looms large in this story (as always)is love. If I find myself in a hospital, heavily medicated and frightened, I would want to open my eyes and see my children and the man that I love. Hang in there, Vicki. And I am not making jokes about my heathen status today. I am praying.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. Will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Aw, gee, Vicki. That’s no good. I’m much hoping they can bring her out of this. Be sure to take care of yourself, too. Not nice if whole family has to take to bed.

    Just for you, will say one prayer: “Ease up, Big Ernie.”

  8. Our thoughts and prayers are with you also. God bless and take care.

  9. I’m so sorry about this. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  10. HUGE prayers flying your way from the far side of Wisconsin dear one. Many thoughts are with your whole family today. Take care of yourself and get that laughter flowing with the sibs. That will indeed help to heal both Bud and Jan. Smooches, Vick.

  11. Oh, Vicki!! {{{HUGS}}} There’s always room for jello (cello)? Hi to Betsy from me! Prayers for The Bud and Jan Show!!!

  12. kiss kiss. hug hug. Do they have oatmeal in the cafeteria? You can jazz it up with cinnamon, bits of apple, bananas, raisins, or irish creme whisky. I am sure that BMX and Tour de France are as good an answer as Billiards, by the way.

  13. I’m sending all the good, healing thought I can muster to your mom and Bud today, Vicki. Although I know it can be hard to do at times like this, please take care of yourself, too.

  14. We hardly even “know” each other, and here I am worried about your mom and dad. They’re both in my thoughts, and I am sending best wishes for their recovery. Take care.

  15. i’m so sorry that you are all in this terribly hard place! our prayers will go up for your mom and all of the rest of you. slow things down and take them as they come- don’t let the doctors push anyone anyone around. blessings

  16. I’m thinking of you all. 🙂

  17. Oh Vickie, You dont’ know be but Hoss told me to come and see you..you do need a big hug. I went through somewhat similar with both of my parents and there isn’t much anyone can do for you but hope you take care of yourself. Watching parents struggle is nothing but a nightmare. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and most importantly for your Mom……………..

  18. Prayers and positive thoughts to your mom, Bud AND all of you. It is tough when older people get sick; it hits them hard. However, she is in a good place and getting great treatment! That’s excellent news. Take care of yourself; hoping all goes well! Hugs.

  19. Hugs, Vicki.

    I’m so sorry to be late in hearing about this.

  20. I feel awful I have not been around this weekend to catch up with you. You and your family are in my prayers sweetie. Take care of you too.
    xoxo

  21. Vicki,
    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through right now. In the mid-90s, my father was having some unexplained symptoms which, after a ton of tests proved to be the result of extremely poor circulation due to blockages near his heart. He was rushed in for bypass surgery. I flew down to Florida to see him when he got out of the hospital. When I walked in the room I had to struggle to mask the shock I’m sure had to show in my face. He looked 20 years older. He recovered fully from the bypass surgery, but heart surgery is so hard on a person and the effects are clearly evident.

    It’s so difficult to see your parents becoming frail. I think we always assume that, by the time that happens, we’ll be able to deal with it. It always seems so far off in the future – always another ten years or more away. When it sneaks up on us, it comes as a complete surprise. We’re never prepared for it. Our parents are too strong to become like those weak and frail, elderly patients we’ve seen in hospitals! It’s so hard to accept.

    I’m sure your mother is comforted by her children being there. I’m sure Bud is too.

    I pray things get easier for you and you find some peace in the sitution. Try to get some rest. Maybe you can stay with your mother in shifts?? We’ll all be thinking and praying for you, Vicki.

    Mandy

  22. Dear Vicki,

    I heard your sad news by way of our beautiful, loving, wonderful friend Mary…I didn’t stop to tell her how lucky we are to have her before rushing over here (I’ll go back just as soon as I finish here) to tell you that I’m thinking of you and your family. Hugs to you and yours.

  23. Thoughts & prayers your way… xoxo

  24. Oh what sad news. Sending good thoughts and hugs your way.

  25. Vicki,

    I’m here via Mary’s verandah and wanted to let you know that even complete strangers are thinking of you and praying for your mom and Bud. What wonderful people.

  26. I’m late to arrive, but Vicki, you and your mom and Bud, as well as your siblings, are in my thoughts and prayers. Big hugs to you all…

  27. Thinking about you and your family, Vicki.

  28. I found your link on WordWhiz’s site and thought I would post a little encouragement and prayer. I just went through a tough time with my grandfather so I know a bit of what you are going through and how frustrating it is. I will be praying for you and your family.

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