I’m back in California. I went to Mom’s birthday party in New Jersey and stayed for a couple of days more. Six months ago or so Mom asked me if I was planning to come to her 90th birthday. I said, “Sure, I wouldn’t miss it.” She said, “Good, I’ll hang on until then.”
She hung on pretty well, albeit a little worse for wear. When I saw her, she had a glint in her eye that reminded me of when I was a kid. Now that I’m far away from where she lives again, it will be very hard to communicate. She doesn’t hear well at all and has trouble using the computer for e-mail and the phone for texting, so interacting with her will be tough. She also tires out very easily.
Mom didn’t have a very good night the last night I was there. She was a bit confused, had a headache and couldn’t decide if she wanted the bed covers on or off. She also felt very cold to the touch. I thought that if she rested up things would be better.
Before I left for the airport, we decided to call the nurse to take a look at her. The last phone call I got before I had to shut off my phone for the flight was from Cheryl. Mom was in the hospital.
I found out later that the folks in the Intensive Care Unit had to bring her temperature up with warm intravenous fluids and heated blankets; adjust her heart rate; evaluate her kidney function, which they didn’t think was all that great. Her headache and confusion may have been due to the toxins building up in her body.
Right now, Dave, my younger brother, and I are playing tag team with the Cardiac Care Unit and staying closely informed about her condition. She seems to be improving.
My watercolor sketch today is a crude visual summary of my visit, from the warmth and joy of the party to the cold reality of the current situation.
The warm red field of color merges into the cold blue. Within the cold area is a blood-starved blue kidney shape. A thermometer-like icon spans the two color fields. Within the warmth is a ghostly representation of the selfie I took of Mom and me at her party. We were both smiling at the same time, which is a rare occurrence. Mom’s heartbeat line (EKG) spans the width of the paper, running right through my head.