#223 In which our hero damn near kills his own mother.
To make the trip to Columbus for our anniversary happen, The Scientist conspired with my mother to come up and watch the girls. Now, I knew mom was coming up, but I thought she was going to watch them Saturday for a couple of hours while we did dinner and a movie; little did I know that she planned on coming for the entire weekend.
When The Scientist first hatched her devious plan, she called my mother and asked if she’d be able to do it. She had to ask for two reasons: #1 there was a better than average chance that mom would already have plans, and #2 mom’s no spring chicken.
But, even though mom is 75, you’d never know it. She plays on a golf league, a bowling league; she’s in the garden club, she drives for Meals on Wheels… and I’m sure there’s plenty more that I don’t know about. She gets around better than both of The Scientist’s parents, who are 10 years her junior.
So when my wife revealed her plan and told me that mom was going to watch the girls, I wasn’t especially worried. At worst I was afraid that they might have a fit at bedtime and give mom the blues as she was trying to put them down.
As it turns out, they were little angels (according to their not-so-neutral grandmother). They went to bed at night, ate dinner well; Macey even pooped on the potty--something she has yet to do for us. I was more than a little relieved that all went well.
The following Monday, I found out I was going to Chicago that week. Our agency was part of a big pitch in conjunction with our sister agency, blah, blah, blah.
And so it was that I was in a boardroom in Chicago when I got a frantic call from mom’s next door neighbor.
Now, Next Door Neighbor has only called me before on one occasion and it was news that my mother was deathly ill. So, when I saw this neighbor’s name on my phone as the incoming call, I expected the worst. And it was.
ME: Hello?I was able to finally pull out of her that mom got sick sometime Monday, and it progressed rapidly until she was in a bad way on Wednesday. Vomiting, 104 degree fever. It was at this point that Next Door Neighbor finally drug mom to the doctor. Mom’s oxygen level was so low that they started her on inhaled oxygen right away, and wanted to keep her on it while they transported her to the hospital (thus the ambulance ride).
NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR: Hello, Craig?
ME: Yeah, what’s going on?
NDN: Craig, it’s Carol, you mother’s neighbor--
ME: Yeah, yeah, what’s going on?
NDN: Craig, your mother is very sick.
ME: How sick? What is going on?
NDN: We’re taking her to the hospital in an ambulance!
Of course, this was scary as hell for me, sitting in Chicago and unable to do anything. I mean, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything even if I was there, but at least I could have driven to the hospital if I was home. All I could do was call my sisters who, being further away than me, could do even less.
Turns out that mom developed pneumonia, and at an alarming rate. They put her on IV antibiotics and a nasal oxygen thingie, and she improved quickly. But she was still in the hospital nearly a week.
This is mom’s second bout with pneumonia in the span of a few months. And winter cold-and-flu season is coming. It worries me. However, mom has promised to be good and not over-exert herself and actually go to her doctor when she starts to feel sick, not after she’s been sick for days.
Of course, I’m convinced that it was watching our kids for a weekend that put mom into the hospital. If she didn’t actually catch something from one of the girls (even though I don’t remember them being sick over that weekend) she must have been so run down that her system couldn’t fight off any bugs, and bad turned to worse way too quickly.
So once again I’m faced with thinking about my mother’s health, and her current and future care.
And I don’t want to.
I’m the baby of the family, for Christ’s sake. I shouldn’t have to make decisions like this, I was never the responsible one. But now I have to be. And I hate it. I’m sure it’s thinking about my mom’s mortality that has me down; but Jesus, I don’t even want to deal. But I have to.
More and more often, lately.