Thursday, July 21, 2011

cue music: "When the night has come and the land is dark...

...No I won't be afraid, Just as long as you Stand By Me"

I haven't posted in quite awhile and was even thinking "The Accidental Caregiver" had run its course. Mom has been doing well in her new home (at least as well as can be expected); life has developed a sense of normalcy for me (assuming you consider life with a teenage son as normal). But I am now reminded of why I gave my blog this title: my role as caretaker has been unplanned and unexpected. And so it continues...

Mom fell during the night earlier this week and fractured her neck. How do you anticipate something like this? Fractured hip - yes. Stroke or heart attack - all in the realm of my considered possibilities. Fractured neck? I must admit I've been caught off guard. In fact, I was caught in Atlanta. I had just driven my son and his friend (who may affectionately be referred to in this post as "the juvies")to camp, and suddenly found myself on a plan heading back to Miami.

In the course of 3 days, I've agonized along with my brother and sister as we try to determine what medical treatment (if any) to authorize for Mom; watched her endure being in traction; make it through surgery (which went great); and begin the "recovery" process. Now there have been complications. Serious ones. And I find myself writing this in the Medical ICU waiting room.

But while all of this may be "accidental" to me, it is not to God, and I am amazed at how God continues to show the wonders of his love (Psalm 17), if we will only have eyes and hearts that are willing to see. What have I seen:

God is with me. I have felt God's presence, comfort and strength through all of this. God is amazing.

God's people are with me. Friends have prayed, called, sent messages and visited. Friends from all over the world; from all stages of my life. How could you not feel encouraged and loved when you know people stand by you...whether they are here in Miami, throughout the US, or in South Africa?? Yesterday afternoon Mom took a turn while I was by her bedside holding her hand. The Rapid Response Team quickly filled the room and I found myself out in the hallway. My daughter texted me (from South Africa) and asked if anyone was with me. I looked around and thought, technically no, my family and friends were not there at that moment, but no, I'm not alone. I have never once felt alone. Amazing.

My family is amazing. My sweet husband with his medical background interprets all the information and asks pertinent questions. He makes me look smart (so long as I don't actually say anything, the drs think I know what's going on). My brother and sister have been supportive and helpful throughout Mom's illness, and especially now. My brother even offered to pick up "the juvies" from camp and bring them home - or keep them. (Maybe I'll have him keep them...for the rest of the summer).

Life is good. The doctors, nurses and support staff here have not only been extremely competent, but have shown us nothing but kindness and compassion. Mom's doctor even put us on the "most favored patient list". Why? Who knows! But it means I get to go to the special room for the special people - where there is a free computer, free coffee, and free snacks! And did I mention the snacks? They had fruit, granola bars, and guava pastries. So far I've tried the guava pastries. Yum. Tomorrow I will ask about a gym...I will need it if they keep serving guava pastries

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