Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“I am still your mom”

My husband heard these words from his mom as she lay in a hospital bed after having spent hours in the emergency room because of heart failure.

It was a frustrating surprise to us she was back in the hospital since she now sported two new heart valves and a pacemaker.  After those surgeries a few weeks ago, everyone thought she was now “Grandma K., Bionic Woman.”  Good as new.  No, better than new!

Not exactly.

Something was awry – her blood pressure was too low and her pulse rate was too high.  As in, her heart is acting like she just ran a marathon. 

She may have been rebuilt into the Bionic Woman but I assure you Grandma K. is not running any marathons.

Since my hubby is his mom’s primary caregiver, he sat in the hospital with her, getting updates from the doctors and nurses and sending regular updates via text to her extended family (several siblings, two other sons and three grandchildren).

Grandma K. is no stranger to hospitals (and my husband has become quite the texter).  She herself was a caregiver to her sister and her mom and has been in an out of hospitals for her heart problems, stroke, knee replacement surgeries as well as a variety of other reasons.   

To say she is sick of being sick would be an understatement.  She doesn’t like hospitals but you’d never know it.  She amazes the nurses and doctors with her positive spirit and toughness.  She has patiently waited for nurse after nurse to find a vein in her arms to start an I/V only to have them give up and have to start it in her neck (it’s about as pleasant as you might imagine). 

Grandma K. has earned her toughness.  She raised three rambunctious boys (and that’s being generous to the boys), was a military wife who moved three boys from Army base to Army base – North Carolina to Virginia to Germany to Italy to Panama then to California  – usually by herself since her husband was stationed in Vietnam. 

This tough woman set out on her own once the boys were mostly raised and she realized she could no longer stay in a destructive marriage.  She had no college education and no job training so went back to school, found a job and excelled as an employee. 

This woman good-naturedly lets us joke that she is the epitome of the song “Weebles Wobble but They Don’t Fall Down.”  (I think she lets us anyway; we’ll know after she reads this).  She’s kind of built like a Weeble and with her bad knees – well, you get the picture. 

She’s one tough lady and she’s sick of people taking care of her.  Grandma K. is the caregiver who sat with her sister through her diabetes and the horrific complications which ensued.  Grandma K. is the caregiver who lived with her life-of-the-party mom and who found her in their home after suffering a massive heart attack.  Grandma K. is the one who worries about my husband doing too much and aggravating his back pain. 

Grandma K. is the tough one, the caregiver.  It’s difficult for her to be the one receiving care. 

So when she sweetly asks the nurse for an extra pillow and blanket to give to my husband so he won’t be cold while he sleeps in the hospital overnight, she expects him to take them. 

She may be lying in the hospital bed while the doctors try to figure out the latest mystery of her heart problems but she is not going to stop being a caregiver. 

She’s too tough to just be the patient. 

After some protests along the line of “don’t worry about me, you’re the one in the hospital” you better believe my husband took the pillow and blanket. 

After all, she is still the mom. 


Kathy Lowrey said...

You married a smart man!

Grandma K sounds like somebody I would love :)
Prayers for her speedy recovery.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Kathy, You would LOVE Grandma K! She's out of the hospital and doing great. I admire her spunk and determination to, above all, be a mom. Hubby's not too bad either. :-)

Sandy Spurlock said...

Grandma K sounds like a truly amazing woman! I too wish her a speedy recovery!

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thanks, Sandy. She really is an amazing woman and I'm happy to report she's out of the hospital again and doing great! Keep your fingers crossed. :-)

Unknown said...

Hi Robert, this is one inspiring story that I hope to share with the entire oceanside urgent care as well if you don't mind.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Patrick, Thanks for your interest in the stories here. I don't mind you sharing as long as you credit the source (me & my blog) and welcome people to visit here. Thanks for reading!