Archive | July 2016

Two Steps Forward, One Step Backwards

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My 5 year old daughter and my Mom.

As I sit here at 5am, in a cold hospital room on an uncomfortable plastic-coated chair that pulls out into something that resembles a sleeping surface, I am watching my mom sleep and get a temporary respite from her bilateral pneumonia. About an hour ago, we were both asleep, until she had a coughing fit that she couldn’t get to stop. It seemed that she laid her mechanical squeaky monster of a bed down too flat and her lungs didn’t approve. The coughing caused chest pain, which caused shallow breaths, which caused quick deep breaths, which led to more coughing. “The coughing is a good thing as a result of the breathing treatments” the nurses say, but I’m sure Mom disagrees right now. Or she would if she was awake.

Anyway, the coughing was efficiently timed, so to speak, as laboratory came in the door to draw blood for yet another test. The plhebotamist was pleased that she didn’t have to wake up a patient at 4am to do what needed to be done. Before she was done, an LVN came in to take vitals: blood pressure-good, oxygen levels-acceptable, body temperature-normal. Someone from respiratory came in to give Mom her nightly breathing treatment. Moms night nurse also came in to bring her some tylenol for the chest pain and body aches. The last person to show up was the X-ray tech to get a chest X-ray. It was convenient, albeit tasking on Moms body.

This is day two of her adventures in the hospital. An adventure, I might add, that she never wanted to take. But she had a cold, then an upper respiratory infection, and seemingly overnight, pneumonia in both lungs. It’s a difficult spot to be in when you can’t breathe, and also for those of us wishing we could take the pain away. All we can do is watch, and help with menial tasks to make things easier while the nurses do the serious stuff. It’s particularly difficult when day one of your hospital stay was made with great strides in improving your health. The attending physician said that she could possibly go home on the 3rd day, but with this setback, I’m going to wager that it will be at least another day. Her oxygen levels have bounced around, because when they try to take her off of it she isn’t staying saturated enough on her own… meaning her lungs haven’t healed enough yet.

By the way, if you’re a nurse or LVN, you deserve so much recognition. You are a precious comoddity in this world. You have to be caring, and dedicated, knowledgable and efficient, as well as stern and disconnected. You have to know how to be compassionate and personable, while still maintaining professional capabilities and not letting emotions get in the way. You are appreciated, even if your patients don’t show it.

After everyone completed their tasks and left the room, Mom decided she needed to use the restroom. I helped her up, held her tubing and walked her the four feet to the bathroom and back to her bed when she was done. This simple task winded her, and took every last ounce of energy that she had. As she sat on the edge of the bed, gathering up reserved energy to lay down and get situated, her eyes closed. I moved forward and put her head on my chest, wrapped my arms around her, and rubbed her back. I wanted so badly to share with her my strength and my health so she could heal but the only thing I could offer was love. At that very moment I felt so weak. Love can heal many things, but pneumonia is mostly immune.

I waited for Mom to pull away from me, but she didn’t. My heart wanted to crawl into bed with her and hold her while she slept like she did to me when I was ill as a child. My brain told me to lay her down so she can sleep. I decided to go with my brain, because I knew Moms body was weak and needed to rest. When I pulled her head away from me, she had tears in her eyes. My heart cried with her… she was trying so hard to be so strong, to get better, and she felt like she was failing. All I could do was get her comfortable and covered up in blankets, and then gently rub her face and hair while she fell back asleep.

I looked down at this sleeping woman, this wonderful creation that created me, and I couldn’t help but realize how fleeting and short life can be. I thought of loved ones that are already passed – my Grandmother especially – and received a deeper knowledge of how my Mom felt when she looked at her Mom. I’ve always appreciated my family, and I try not to ever take them for granted.

But there’s something unnerving about watching someone sleep with tubes in their nose and an IV in their arm. It’s a cold slap of reality in an almost too warm embrace from Death himself. You realize so many things in that instant, and it either makes or breaks a person. This is why many people who go into a hospital for longer than an overnight usually have a different outlook on things when they come out. They realize that there was a chance they weren’t going to make it. Again, kudos to the nursing staff, because this is your everyday.

All in all, Mom slept for an hour from about 4:45am to 5:45am, then had to use the potty again. I unhooked her leg compression cuffs, got her IV and oxygen tubing together, unplugged the charging cable for her IV, and helped her to the bathroom. Then did it all in reverse when she was done. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. By the time I finished writing this at 6am, she was already fast asleep and snoring gently. (Don’t tell her she’s snoring, she will deny it.) She can snore all she wants to. It’s been a helluva night, and she needs all the rest she can get. Maybe the breakfast dude will be delayed and not come bouncing in here at 7am.

Edit: The respiratory tech came in at 6:15am to do another breathing treatment. Thankfully, this was non-invasive, and Mom woke up just enough to put the band around her head. Maybe I can ger another hour of sleep before my kids get here. We’ll see.

It Starts at Home

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My last blog post was over a year ago. I’ve been hiding from my blog, and the honest truth is that my depression has been heavy, life has been chaotic, and I haven’t wanted to sit down and spend an hour or more writing. But in light of the recent tragedy that has happened in Dallas, Texas (which is just a few hours from me), I felt a heavy burden on my heart to write about something that isn’t (commonly) addressed during these sad times.

Racism. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Ermehgerd, she’s so stupid, that’s all over the media!” but stay with me here – there’s a method to my madness, I promise. The basis of these attacks on the human population can all be traced back to racism.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, this post is NOT about any-color supremacy. Or to put-down any skin color. If you take off our skin, we all look the same. It’s no different than when my hair was blue, purple and green a few weeks ago. If I shaved my head, I’d look like any other person with no hair.

But I digress.

Racism is the basis of these attacks. What I want to address though, is the basis of the racism. How did people get to thinking that there was a hierarchy for skin color? Because of our nation’s history. Segregation, slavery, and the mentality of superiority were driving factors to make one person view another as a lesser entity, and want not-equal things to happen to them. But don’t limit your thinking to the “whites and the blacks” in terms of skin color – this happened in many countries around the world to people FROM the very country that was persecuting them. Egyptians were slaves to other Egyptians, Saudi Arabians were sold as slaves to other Saudi Arabians, Africans were slaves to other Africans. The major difference in all of this is when the lines of color are crossed – when a person of one color skin is a slave to a person of another color skin. Africans were sold as slaves to the Saudi Arabians. Muslims were sold as slaves to other European countries.

But how did it all begin?

Racism was invented by society. It’s a thought process that views someone else as inferior simply because they are different than you are. Money was and still is a very large driving factor in this continuing mentality, as those with money view those without as lesser individuals. How did racism begin? It’s a educated guess or theory at best, and I’m leaving that one up to the people qualified to tackle it.

What is on my heart and mind as a mother is the fact that it continues. Narrow-minded thinking gets passed down to the next generation by way of expressing opinions as truths, and the younger ones don’t know to challenge it, so they accept it as the truth they know. Many times their eyes are opened later in life and they change their opinions, and many times it’s not. Is this due to a lack of options, a lack of understanding, a lack of intelligence, lack of ___? Possibly. Each situation is as different as each person. The main issue is that it still continues. Generation after generation get fed this narrow-minded way of thinking, and not given the option to form their own opinions.

So how do we fix this? How do we combat this issue that has plagued humanity as a whole since seemingly the beginning of history? By teaching our kids to think for themselves. We as parents need to allow – NO, we need to encourage our children to keep an open mind about everything in life, and to decide for themselves what their beliefs are. By no means am I saying to not parent your children! We are their guides to all things in life, from healthy eating habits, safe places to go, the right things to say, how to dress and not look like you’re from the 1980’s (bless my daughter’s heart!*), and how to worship and praise in the religion of your church, amongst many other duties. But if your child decides that they are different, shouldn’t we encourage that (within reason)? If they decide that they are a Democrat in a Republican household, what exactly does it matter? It’s a matter of beliefs, plain and simple. It may change how you communicate, but it shouldn’t change how much you love them. If they decide that Catholicism is not their thing, and they are going to be Jehovah’s Witness, then that’s their thing. We as parents should love them anyway, and still support them and invite them to happy and peaceful Sunday dinners (mindfully avoiding the conflicting issues…there should be plenty of other things to chat about!)

So what does this have to do with racism? Everything. Racism is a learned behavior; it’s learned by watching and listening to how those around them treat others that are different. If it starts at home, it can end at home. If we as parents are mindful of how we treat others, our children will learn this. If we do not discriminate based on superficial circumstances, our children will not either. If we do not spew hatred because of a difference in beliefs but instead teach tolerance, our children will learn to tolerate those that are different and love them for who they are. If we teach morals, our children will learn morals.

Let me reiterate that: IF WE TEACH MORALS, OUR CHILDREN WILL LEARN MORALS.

Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Leo Tolstoy said “Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks about changing himself.”

We can’t change anything unless we change ourselves. The next generation has no hope of making the changes that this world needs unless they are taught how. We can complain all we want, but until enough of us DO something about it, nothing will change. Many of us as parents do not have the capability (or time, for that matter) to attend rallies, protests, or campaign on a political level to make significant changes. But we are raising the next generation, and our possibilities for changes are as endless as our children’s imaginations.

R.I.P. to those that have lost their lives in the recent attacks, and may the hearts of the surviving family members be comforted during this painful time.

*There’s nothing wrong with the 80’s, it’s my all-time favorite decade! But we are not in the 80’s, so I try to encourage my daughter to at least coordinate her outfits, not layer the first 8 things she pulls out of her closet… 🙂

This entry was posted on July 8, 2016. 3 Comments