One Pill Box Day at a Time

My mom has been in the hospital since Monday. Her symptoms remain severe weakness in her appendages and inability to sit or walk on her own. She can feel when she is touched. She can grip with strength. She can talk and eat. Her brain is not bleeding or clotting. Her spine has no apparent damage.

My sister is with us while my mom is in the hospital. My sister is mentally disabled, suffers from chronic epilepsy, and her balance and memory is still ravaged from a stroke she had four years ago. These are the pills she takes daily.

I find myself counting down her pill days to mark how long our mom has been alone in the hospital.

She doesn’t have COVID.

But we are subject to COVID’s rules. I can’t visit her. Even though I’m fully vaccinated (perks of being a caregiver for a permanently disabled adult) and even though she is virtually immobile.

This is hard. With each empty compartment on in my sister’s pill box, I find it a little harder to breathe.

I worry about her mental health. I worry about her lying there, thinking thoughts she can’t help but think, trapped in her body. How many horror stories have been written of people trapped with sound mind?

I have not told many people she is sick. Not even family. I know the people I haven’t told that I should tell don’t read my words here.

The family I have told all say one thing to me, “How hard it is for you. How great a daughter you are.”

I hate it.

I heard that same shit when my dad died.

But what else is there to say?

It has only been three nights. My heart goes out to the COVID patients and families who have to endure this for God knows how long.

I am scared of how I will be when it is time to refill my sister’s meds at the end of the week and our mom still isn’t back with us. But I can’t let myself think about it because of my sister, because of my kids.

Stranger, thank you for taking some of my fears.

For now, it is enough.

One Hour at a Time

For the umpteenth time, I am writing this to record the day.

Mom was admitted this afternoon into the hospital for chest pain, dizziness, and partial paralysis. Her brain looks good, she is aware and able to speak coherently, but it takes every ounce of effort for her to wiggle a toe or lift her hand. It’s like her brain sends the signals out to move, and her body doesn’t get them. Negative for COVID, since this is the big thing going around.

We were lucky because the ER staff let me stay with her the majority of the day. I only had to leave at 4:30 when they finally got a room and admitted her. No visitation because of COVID.

I worry about her being alone and immobile. I pray she has the best nurses who treat her with love and kindness, and not tired nurses who are at their own limits and can’t see past a body on a bed. I can only trust that God has got her.

They plan to do more MRIs on her head, neck, and spine. I hope there is progress and tomorrow we will have good news.

I am too tired to be scared. I have to worry also about not freaking my kids out. I have to also be there for my sister (mentally disabled adult with chronic epilepsy) and make sure she doesn’t freak out too. Usually, she’s the one in the hospital, so this is all new to us.

My husband has been what a great husband is. He took on responsibility naturally and without my needing to say anything. He kept the kids and my sis occupied while I was at the hospital. It’s a great peace of mind to know someone has your back like that. He has always been that for me. Even when we were just friends twenty years ago. And maybe I haven’t said it to his face yet, but I am grateful and forever thankful for his support and love. I don’t deserve it. I’m so nuts. My life feels nuts.

Taking it one hour at a time.

If it’s your thing, please offer a prayer up for my mom’s healing. 💜

I Have a Right

I have a right to be broken.

To not know up from left

On clear spring days sprinkled with chirps and song.

To sit with cold coffee staring at a blinking cursor

While small arms encircle me for warmth.

I have a right to be lost.

To mumble half-assed prayers for a better prayer life

With my head buried in my pillow or my phone.

To have a boulder crushing my ribs

As I give a thousand kisses and nuzzle forever until she squirms away.

I have a right to give up.

To drift with heavy head and half-open eyes

Tucked in by little hands and pecks on the cheek.

To grunt and groan and sigh and starve

With my cold cup of coffee by my side.

I have a right to be broken

In silence without fanfare or sirens

To sweep me to salvation or a rainbow’s end.

In peace without excuse or explanation

To help you help me when I just need to be.

For a moment… let me be.

For not being broken is breaking me.