Thankful Thursday (Late and Long)

I made a quick post a few days ago noting that my mother was in the hospital; and that I might not be posting much until she’s out.  Partly because I don’t have the time, but truthfully, mostly because I don’t have the mental energy to crank out anything that requires a lot of thought.  I decided, though, that I would at least try to pen an update post, mostly because I need to just ramble for a while, as well as express a bit of gratitude.

Thankful Tree

Maybe I need to
make one of these.
via Simply Vintagegirl

I am so thankful that Mom is still hanging in there.  She is nearly 78 years old, with a host of health problems.  She was having a lot of difficulty breathing and was very weak on Saturday (the 15th).  Ambulance to ER late Saturday night.  Admitted to ICU.  Transferred from ICU to ICCU on Tuesday, and as of this writing, is still in ICCU.  We’re not sure how much longer she’ll be there, but they’re talking about wanting her to go to a skilled nursing facility for a little while next. This only came up yesterday, and as of yesterday evening when I was there last, it hadn’t been discussed with her yet. Frankly, I don’t want to be there when they do bring it up with her because she’s going to freak out immediately. She’s going to hear the word ‘nursing’, think nursing home, then all should take cover as the nuclear fallout rains down. “You’re not putting me in a DAMN nursing home!!!” It will be difficult to edge a word in that she should only be there a couple weeks or so for respiratory rehabilitation… not a permanent stay. I don’t want her to have to be there either, but if she needs monitoring and rehabilitation that can’t really be done at home, then I would feel safer with her there.

So far, they’ve determined that she has congestive heart failure (but we already knew this), and that is of course contributing to the fluid on her lungs (as well as the rest of her body – she was pretty swollen up). Her heart is enlarged, and we’re not sure how long it has been that way because no one has ever mentioned it before, even following previous heart tests. She is in chronic atrial fibrillation, but she was diagnosed with AFib many years ago, so again, another known issue. There has been a dense area in her right lung, which was presumed to be pneumonia, so she’s had quite a few rounds of antibiotics. Well, yesterday morning they did a swallow test to see if she has been (unknowingly) aspirating food/liquids when she swallows and it turns out she has. SO, she actually has aspiration pneumonia, not bacterial pneumonia… but they said that aspiration pneumonia causes the lung to be so inflamed that it sets a person up for bacterial pneumonia so they’ve still been giving her the antibiotics anyway. They’ve also determined that she has level 4 reflux, meaning that her stomach contents are coming very high up her esophagus, and she’s probably aspirating some of that too. Sigh. Who knows how long all this has been going on because no one has ever looked this far into it before. “Oh, you’ve got pneumonia… here’s some antibiotics… some breathing treatments… okay, you’re all better now… time to go home.” That’s the usual routine. Anyway, after finding out about her aspiration problems, she has special instructions on how to swallow a certain way to help prevent the aspiration, as well as instructions to always sleep at an incline, not to lay down for at least 30 min after a meal… etc.
At any rate, basically she has all the problems above, plus her hypertension, her long-term diabetes, etc. It’s always working together to well… work against her. The congestive heart failure complicates the AFib… the AFib complicates the congestive heart failure… both of them complicate the pneumonia and vice versa. Diabetes complicates all of it because it’s about so much more than high blood sugar. The damage and complications that diabetes causes to your whole body (every system, every organ, every network) over time is unbelievable.
She’s having more lung tests today (not sure what all yet) and hopefully we’ll get to know the results of those later. I think the results of today’s tests will be the deciding factor in whether they want her to go to skilled nursing or not.

As you might imagine, she has good days and bad days. Some days she feels better and is in good spirits. Other days, she’s absolutely miserable. I’m trying to ultimately prepare myself for the worst, because even if she gets through all of this mess okay, I still feel like we’re at the beginning of the end.

All I know is that aging parents are heartbreaking.

Still though, I am thankful.

Thankful Tree

I really should make one of these. Except that I’m not craftsy. At all.
Again, via Simply Vintagegirl

The Personal Stuff:

♥ I am thankful that after much convincing, we were finally able to talk my Mom into going to the hospital Saturday night.  I am pretty sure I’d be writing a much different update had we not.

♥ I am thankful that even though she has bad days, that she is still hanging in there.  As unpleasant as a discussion about spending some time in skilled nursing might be, I am thankful that we are even getting the opportunity for such a discussion.

♥ I am not thankful that my Dad is gone, but I am thankful that he passed before my mother.  The times she has been in the hospital over the last few years, but most especially this time, would’ve been very hard on him.  My dad was a very strong, stoic man… but he had a quiet dependence on my mom that would show any time she was gone for longer than he thought she was going to be.  He would start pacing and hovering around the windows… looking out every five minutes for her to roll into the driveway.  No cell phones in those days.  Just worry.

♥ I am thankful for my family.  We are rotating our visitation to the hospital so that my Mom can get much-needed rest in-between.  We trade updates over the phone and try to be strong for each other, as we prepare for whatever comes next.  I am thankful for their positivity, as I tend to lean towards fearing the worst in every situation.

♥ I am thankful for my husband.  He works very, very hard to take care of all of us.  He is actually out of town this week for work… bad time to be out of town with my mother in the hospital and all, but his dedication to his job is what keeps a roof over our heads.  If anything happens, he can and will take an emergency flight home.  I am also thankful that he is a dedicated dog dad.  He loves the wieners just as much as I do, and frankly, sometimes I think they’re more bonded to him than me.  Probably because he lets them lick him with wild abandon.

♥ I am thankful for my dogs, the wieners… for without them, I would be all alone at home this week.  They are pretty sad and mopey without their daddy around, but they are a comfort to me in a way that they’re completely unaware of.  I am thankful for how patient they are with how boring I must be right now.

♥ I am most certainly thankful for the everyday miracles.  I am thankful for my vision, my hearing, my health, clean running water, a climate-controlled home, the food in my fridge and pantry, and the fact that there’s enough for tomorrow and then some.  I am well aware of these blessings and do my best to never, ever take them for granted.

Austin Sleeping Sitting Up

Oh Mama, you’re such a bore…

The Blog Stuff:

♥ I am thankful for every single visitor to my blog.  There are millions and millions of blogs out there.  But right now, at this very moment in time, you are reading mine.  You can’t even begin to imagine how much that means to little old me.

♥ I am thankful for every comment on my blog.  Just stopping by is a wonder to me, but for someone to take a moment a leave a comment is beyond what I could ask for.

♥ I am thankful for every single person who decides to subscribe to hear more of my rambles, every single follower on Twitter, every single like on Facebook, and every single follower on Pinterest.  I’ve only got a handful at each, but every single person clicked a Like or Follow button that they simply didn’t have to click.  Google+… well, I’ve got zero peeps there, but that’s okay… ‘cuz I still haven’t quite figured out the draw of it, nor how to really take advantage of its features… if there are any.

♥ I’m thankful that even though I’m still struggling desperately to find the right “voice” for this blog, people are hanging in there and there are regulars that always stop by with some kind words.

♥ I am thankful for every single share, mention, tweet, retweet, etc.  Without those, there would be many fewer visitors.  I hope to make rescue a much larger focus here, but without visitors, that won’t matter.  For now, if someone visits, and happens to click over to the Dachshund Rescue page, every share or tweet of that makes me happy.  Even if the longdogs aren’t your thing, maybe they are for someone you know.  But truthfully, I support all rescue. Of every breed of dog.  Everywhere.  Oh, and the kittehs too.

♥ I am thankful for those bloggers who are doing everything they can to support animal rescue and rehoming.  There are many people with a much larger following and reach than I that are plugging away to save lives, to make a difference.  I am so thankful that they are using their networks for the good of animals.

♥ Speaking of rescue, I am SO thankful for rescuers everywhere.  What you do is dirty, tiring, often very heartbreaking, but ultimately very rewarding.  You are making a difference in the lives that other people forgot or didn’t care about.  You take broken, abused, neglected creatures and turn them into happy miracles.  You do the work that so very few people could or would do.  I really, really cannot thank you enough.

♥ I am thankful that you’ve read this far.  No, seriously.  I ramble.  A lot.  I don’t know how to write a short post.  It’s something I desperately need to work on.  I am thankful for your patience as I figure this whole blogging thing out.

I hope to be able to get back to wiener-related posts very soon.  The wieners hope so too.  I promised them some adventures this upcoming week, so I hope my mother remains stable and we’re able to make good on those promises.  Stay tuned for the (mis)adventures.

I have decided to include this post in the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop hosted by PepiSmartDog

Thankful Thursday Blog Hop

8 Responses to Thankful Thursday (Late and Long)

  1. houndstooth4 says:

    I’m sorry life has thrown you such a curve ball this week! Would it help if it was proposed to your mom that she go to a rehabilitative home rather than a skilled nursing home? We do a lot of visits to several nursing homes, and some of them have people transitioning out of a hospital to home. Those residents are sure to let us know that they’re not staying, and I understand why it’s very important to them. Sending prayers that your mom makes a quick recovery and gets back where she wants to be soon! 🙂

    • Pam says:

      Thank you SO much for the kind words and prayers. And yes… that’s such a good idea! Put it to her as rehab or transitional therapy or something like that instead of even using the word nursing at all. That sounds so much better and she might be much more open to it. A simple but brilliant idea. Thank you!!

  2. Jules says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a tough time. I haven’t yet reached the point in my life where my parents are struggling but I imagine it will be a very hard period, indeed.

    Sending lots of healing vibes to you and your family.


    Jules of Canines & Couture

  3. Oh, I know how tough that can be. My mom had to do a stint in the “rehab”/nursing home for a bit following heart surgery and she was not thrilled with it. Then there was the long recovery afterwards. She’s doing quite well now and hopefully your mom will be soon too.

    It’s so good to have supportive family at times like this. I wouldn’t want to be an only child with no other family in town. It helps to have folks to share with. Hang in there!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: The End of K9 Kamp?My Profile

    • Pam says:

      So(!) great to hear that your mom is doing so well after her heart surgery, even if it did mean a stint in rehab and a long recovery.
      I hope that my mom is doing much better soon as well. The hard part is getting her to accept that getting better means cooperation on her part. She’s a stubborn woman, I tell ya. But I can’t blame her. If I make it to 78, Lord knows how stubborn and cantankerous I’ll be, assuming I still have my wits about me.
      And yes, I am thankful to have family nearby. I don’t know what I would do if they were all out of state or if I just didn’t have any. We rely on each other for sanity… but we’re also a troubled bunch, so for insanity too ;).

  4. My heart goes out to you. I went through an all too similar experience with my mom. Repeated hospitalizations with rehab follow up. I lost her in February. She was like the energizer bunny who kept going and going and… then she didn’t. My only words of any wisdom are to be sure to take care of yourself. (Easy to say; hard to do.) I know first hand the stress you’re dealing with. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Ugly Dogs Need More Love: Dog Song SaturdayMy Profile

    • Pam says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mom so recently. Like the Energizer bunny… yes, I know exactly what you mean. My mother was like that her whole life until the last several years, because she just can’t be now. However, she is carrying a lot of stress that no 78-year-old person should be carrying… but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
      I am trying to take care of myself. When I lost my Dad, he was in the hospital several weeks before he passed. I barely ate or slept at all during that time. He was in such hell, though… it was almost a relief when he passed. The worst part is that you can’t just go crawl into a hole somewhere… there are funeral arrangements to be made and all kinds of things to take care of. When the time comes, I know I will be managing quite a bit of that stuff, so I need to stay strong.
      You said your mom went through repeated hospitalizations as well. I’m still not sure if the hospitalizations help to prepare us for the inevitable, but for me, I feel like they do. It absolutely kills me to see my dearest mother miserable in a hospital bed, but it lets me know that the time is coming… whether weeks, months, a year or more… it lets me prepare as best as I possibly can (though as I know you know, we’re never really prepared). I really feel for those who have to face a very sudden and unexpected loss.
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, and most certainly for your understanding. It always helps to hear from someone who has walked the same road.

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