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Reply #6: That'd sure light a fire under my lazy butt, too. [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Places » Michigan Donate to DU
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-01-09 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That'd sure light a fire under my lazy butt, too.
Edited on Sat Aug-01-09 08:41 PM by TahitiNut
I've been remiss for far, far too long in meeting Laura face-to-face and telling her how much I appreciate her ... even though a fat, dirty, old man like me might not be the foremost member of her fan club. My procrastination and reticence caused me to drop the ball -- a mistake I don't wish to repeat.

Now for the background ... and the bad news ... (I'll post this here rather than post a 'support thread' in GD or the Lounge)

As some might know (I'm not really a "tell all" type), I was compelled to move back from California back in February 2003 due to my stepfather's demise and my mother's health and care crisis. She was hospitalized back then and it became clear in the nursing home during her rehab that she wasn't going to be able to live by herself. Thus, my life which had been derailed became a train wreck ... and I jettisoned my employment search (and life and much household goods and furniture) and moved back here to Michigan to care for my mother. (Being a twice-divorced and not remarried guy without kids to worry about made it 'easier.') Thus, I've been her "assisted-living" caregiver for 6.5 years -- doing the housework, shopping, driving, laundry, home maintenance, medications management, and all-around therapist for her ... thankfully being able to maintain "modesty boundaries" (she was able to bathe and dress and toilet herself) that afforded her the dignity she needed. (It's been a challenge ... since I'm not at allwhat anyone would call a "mama's boy."))

Then, last year, she suffered two vertebral compression fractures (L2 and L4), the second during the holidays. Increasing pain and insufficiency of pain medications led to her second hospitalization in January. Two weeks followed by three weeks in rehab and she was home again. But it's been a slow decline. She'd been increasingly getting the 'osteoporosis stoop,' bent over her walker. Two months ago or so we found she'd gotten yet another vertebral compression fracture, higher on the spine around the level of a bra strap.

As we have attempted to deal with this, about four weeks or so ago, she again began coughing up mucous -- something that's been an occasional problem due to her COPD, but lower profile. This time however, the volume and persistence was far more severe. The episode began on a Tuesday evening at a restaurant ... was so serious that she was bed-ridden on the Wednesday ... better enough on the Thursday afternoon that she could keep a podiatrist appointment ... but so bad on the Friday that she couldn't get up or dressed for a beauty shop appointment. (For her, that's serious.)

With the help and support of my step-sister, we took her to Beaumont Emergency that Friday evening. She was admitted to their Progressive Care Unit with pneumonia. That was July 17. Her condition deteriorated. Last night (Friday) I visited and, for the first time, she was unable to wake up. I was concerned but the nurse said not to be too concerned ... even though we knew her condition was grave. Her vitals were still about the same with a heart rate of 90-110, blood pressure of 170/79 and peripheral blood oxygen at 94-99. Then, at 2:30am I was called from the hospital and told they'd moved her to the cardiac intensive care unit due to low oxygen and weak heartbeat. After a nearly sleepless night (2 hours of sleep) I was awakened at 7:30am and told her condition was NOT an optimistic one and asking about the measures we (she and I) wanted them to take on a 'code'.

The bottom line is that my mother passed away about 3pm this afternoon. I'm a wreck. (That's NOT to invite pity.) I ache with that pain we all know from all-nighters, too little sleep, and too much stress.

Her wishes to have her body donated to Wayne State University's Medical School as an anatomical gift will be honored. We won't be having any services ... just remembering her each in our own way.

The (dark humor) irony ... as a child of the Great Depression, my mother was always careful about discarding anything. "That's too good to throw away" was one of her most frequent scolds ... whether it be food or kitsch. Thus, I'd sort of wanted someone to use magic marker on her body (which is emaciated to concentration camp levels) and write "Too Good To Throw Away." (The ICU staff didn't seem to get my 'humor.' After all, I'm a Nut.)

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