The last couple of days have been hectic and emotional. My mom went into the hospital this weekend with extreme leg pain. So many tests later and they are still guessing at what it is. The hospital discharged her yesterday, but she is still having pain. Yesterday was a vast improvement. She was walking around and had more movement then I have seen since last Thursday. Today, not so much. She tried going up stairs and managed, but then when we tried to extend her circle to going out and about (errands like a Starbucks run, to the bank, and we were attempting to go to the DMV), it failed. She had what I can only describe as an attack. It came on suddenly, causing her to shout out. We turned the car around immediately and headed back home. My mom, dad and sister are supposed to leave for vacation tomorrow. I know my mom wants to go, but I am positive that she should not go. There is still no solid diagnosis. She has an MRI scheduled for tomorrow to confirm (or disprove) a pinched nerve. If it is some type of nerve damage or nerve issue, it is most likely a sciatica. The other option is a kidney stone. Even though the pain associated with kidney stones is horrific, I feel like it would be a better diagnosis than an inflamed nerve.
It’s always scary to see your parents in pain. When you realize not only are you getting older, but that obligations begin to switch and you have to take care of them. There was a moment on Sunday where my mom was crying because she felt that the tide had turned. She said she is my mother, that she is the one who is strong, be the house that shelters me and be the one who helps and holds me, but the tables turned and I was supporting her, I was helping her, I was there for her. She started crying, overcome with emotion, at being in such a weakened state. My sister and I were there, and we held her hand and told her that there is no shame in needing help, there is no negativity at all. We are family, though we all bicker and annoy each other, when it comes down to the wire, we are family first and foremost. My sister, my mom, and my dad have all held my hand in the last couple of months, and it was my time to reciprocate. I would not have it any other way.
There were a few moments that I was in complete shock, though. I have never seen my mother in the amount of pain I saw Saturday night. It was deflating and scary to see my mom buckled down to a gurney and in the back of an ambulance. I could not help the tears as they came. She looked so fragile and it sent shocks throughout me. My dad, who is usually cool and calm, an expert at not showing true emotion, had a stark look of disbelief on his face. And fear. The fear was the worst to behold. You always look to your parents for that extra bit of confidence, and when you see it erased from their features, the reality sets in.
There was another moment that made my stomach leap into my throat. Though I knew my mom had been given drugs, it’s hard to hear her give up hope. When they admitted her into the hospital Sunday morning they asked routine questions. One was about religious beliefs or practices that needed adherence. My mom responded, in a drugged slur, “I want a Lutheran pastor when the time comes.” The operative word, the one that makes this sentence completely scary and depressing is “when.” She said “when” and not “if.” That differentiation in propositions felt like fist to my stomach. I knew she would be fine, I know she will be fine, but the fact that she was in such an extreme amount of pain that she said “when” and not “if” (and yes, my mom, even in a drugged state would be aware of the implications; she has more of an appreciation for word choice than I do) is frightening. Pair that with seeing her, crying, ashen, sweating, experiencing something that has her weeping and reverting back to infantile expression, shouting uncontrollably. I felt fragile watching her, like I could break at any moment. I need to be strong, calm, relaxed, keep positive thought going, but I felt like I could just shatter into a thousand pieces.
I had some amazing friends carry me through this. They gave me an ear and helped talk me down from emotional ledges. I even spoke to Jonathan, letting him know her progress and diagnosis. We both agreed that when our parents were ill or in trouble, we would still be supports for one another. His father, who I still feel is a father-in-law to me, has cancer, and I have him in my thoughts daily. Same with his grandfather and uncle. My dad was going through some health issues when we broke up and he asked I keep him updated with medical news. Jonathan was always good at diffusing my anxiety when it comes to health concerns, mine or others. He has a level head and turns into a scientist, researching everything under the moon. To him, knowledge is the closest to godliness. He has faith in knowledge more than anything else. Understanding can help a person cope, and I can attest to knowledge providing relief. I have had my fair share of health issues and when a recurring problem appears, my heart sinks a little. Jonathan was perfect at calmly talking to me about it, emotionally holding my hand and allowing me to voice concerns and then help me to prove or disprove certain theories or incidents. Though he didn’t have to, he was there. And I cannot express how much that meant to me. It made me realize that friendship is possible between him and I. Though it might be a long road, it is not one blocked off from travel.
I am preoccupied by these events. And I am still rather hypnotized by them. Add in a chest cold, and you have me and my state of mind. Lack of sleep has not improved my health, neither has stress. I had to swallow down some Theraflu to actually get some sleep last night, and even then I was tossing and turning more than I should. Anxiety has been my bunk mate. It is not pleasant. The bitch has me losing sleep.