Saturday, February 1, 2014


I had all these plans to write about cheerful substanceless things this month, like tv. But instead, my mother went back into the hospital two weeks ago and I had to go back to Michigan.

When I got the call on a Monday, her aide had good reason to believe it could be near the end. She had just finished the antibiotics from her last bout of pneumonia and was having symptoms that suggested it had come galloping back. She also had a hemoglobin of 5, when you want it to be at least 11. She was grey, confused and had easily agreed to go to the ER, which she had been fighting hard all week. I didn't quite get the impression that I was rushing to her deathbed, but it clearly wasn't good.

By the time I got there on Thursday, she was doing much better. By Saturday, she had gotten a transfusion, the infection was under control and the doctor said that most of her problems were actually her congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension acting up and they were responding well to medications. She got home last Tuesday.

I, meanwhile, got to figure out how to get home on a day that the latest polar vortex was dumping 13 inches of snow on my fair snow-plow impaired city. After an hour on hold with United while meanwhile seeing online that my best choice was to pay $1000 to switch my flight to 5am on Thursday, I decided, "I have a rental car. I'm going to drive." And so I did. I had James with me, but thank goodness he's an excellent little traveller (a terrible sickroom visitor, but a great traveller). We spent the night in Columbus and by Wednesday, the snow had stopped and was cleared on major roads by the time we got home Wednesday night. There was a point I was convinced that the Pennsylvania Turnpike was actually some eternal road stretching through purgatory, but we made it home in the end.

So it's all good again for the moment. I'm experiencing some major emotional whiplash though. I've been prepared for it to be the end twice in the past six weeks. You can't be constantly ready for something terrible without starting to lose it after a while. Life is too busy to fall apart though, so I'm just trucking on.