Monday, April 23, 2007

Health stuff...and other stuff

First off--Steven. He is doing very well, though the road from my last post to this one hasn't been smooth. He managed to yank out his respirator tube on Thursday so they had to re-do it and kept his sedation lower again for a day or two. Now, however, he is unsedated and understands to leave the darn thing alone. They are planning to remove it today and if things go well with that, he'll be out of ICU soon. Recovery will still be a long process, but his fevers are down and the antibiotics are doing their job. So that is a HUGE answer to prayer and I thank you very much. Steven will too! And I know his folks and grandparents are in awe of how many people have been praying for Steve.

Meanwhile my mom had a stroke so my focus has swung in that direction. Jim and I drove over Friday afternoon (she landed in hospital 90 miles away Friday morning). She'd been sent to the regional hospital for a CT scan and had just arrived back when we got there. The scan showed that she has bleeds on both sides of her brain. Just to complicate things, she also has a clot. This means they cannot treat either condition as it will speed up the opposite one. I'm thinking it must be unusual to have both kinds of pressure building in the same head. She's been on coumadin for a long time which is a blood thinner. It's supposed to prevent clots if I remember right. So it hasn't done that, and she has bleeds so they've had to discontinue it. Right now it is anybody's guess how long it will take for her to have another stroke...and which kind it will be.

The official words are things like *fairly significant stroke* and *the prognosis is poor*.

She can speak, but easily loses where she was going with a sentence. Then she gets frustrated while she tries to figure it out. Then she'll move her hand, her face will clear, and she'll say, "Never mind, it doesn't matter." Her right side is fairly paralyzed: she can lift her arm if asked to but not move her fingers, for example. Her right leg is equally uncooperative. Her left side has also been affected, but less so. Watching her left hand try to hold a fork and chase food around her plate is difficult, but she is shocked if asked if she needs help--and refuses it. The one time I did hold her knife up to the edge of her plate so she at least had something to run her fork up against. She glared at me but made use of it and the meal went better after that.

Every day it seems to be news that she is in the hospital, that she had a stroke, that she spent hours in the regional hospital Friday waiting for the ambulance to be free to return her to the local hospital. She knows us but is surprised that family is starting to gather from a distance. I believe she knows why, but then forgets.

Her doctor is on the hunt for a local extended care or nursing home bed for her as it is clear she cannot return to her apartment. She's managed the past few weeks (since I was there in March) with a live-in caregiver but that day seems to be passed. And of course we don't know how long this stage will last either. Could be a day...or a month. It isn't likely to be much longer.

Should we feel sorry for my mom? No. We should pray that God will take her quickly. My dad died almost 9 years ago now, she is 84, she has loved God and followed him for most of her life. It has been her biggest fear that she would lose her mind and waste away in a nursing home. She is ready to go. It would be a mercy if God took her soon.

The journey is hard, even knowing that heaven awaits her. It's been an emotionally wrenching couple of weeks around here and I appreciate your continued prayers for Steve, for my mom...and for me and my family. I'm home (and at work) at the moment but I know the phone could ring at any time and end this little lull I'm in. If all things stay even I plan to go over Thursday for a few days. I'd like to see Mom again...and also the clan is trickling in and I haven't seen some of them in a few years. It is silly to even try to make plans but hey, I'm human.

So, Chris asked why I was having company (in comments). Here's what happened about that. The company was my nephew (my mom's grandson) and his young family who are missionaries in Mozambique. Because of mom's stroke and us going over there, we visited with my nephew there instead of at home, which also gave him more visits with his grandma. We popped in to see her one last time Sunday morning at 8 o'clock before leaving for our place, where my nephew preached in the main church service. I took them out for lunch (remember the disaster in my kitchen!), then went over to friends' from the church who had offered to host a casual time for folks who wanted to visit my nephew's family. From there they left for Spokane.

Thus I managed to avoid having overnight company and even avoided having anyone over for a meal. While Jim and I were over seeing my mom, my in-laws moved the gas line and reinstalled my gas stove so that is a huge blessing for me. (My FIL was a gas-fitter before his retirement.)

Jim did go to work for his night shifts this weekend and is on his way home now. The cows have wrecked part of the fence so he does have to concentrate on fixing that before he goes back to work on the kitchen. His folks (and I) are tired of herding them back in! Of course, all our plans are dependent on what happens with my mom.

Writing? What's that?


Random Walk Writer said...

Hugs, Val. I must say, you have awesome in-laws.

Prayers continue.

Valerie Comer said...

Yeah. I'll second that on my in-laws.

chrisd said...

(((((((((FiL))))))))))) I had tears in my eyes reading his kindness.

((((((((Val and family))))))))

While I'm delighted to hear about Steve, I'm so sorry about your mom.

Karenee said...

{{{{many hugs}}} I hope to see you soon, perhaps even Thursday.

Maripat said...

Hugs, Val. I wish there was something more I could do. I'm glad to hear your family is close by.


Kait said...

::hugs:: Take care, Val!

Valerie Comer said...

Thank you all so much for your hugs. Things are about the same today...on all fronts.

Becky said...

Thanks for taking the time to detail what's going on, Valerie.

I'm so glad to know that your mom is a Christian. I'll be praying for her and you. This is just a hard, hard time. The curse of death is just that, but God is the One who walks through the valley of its shadow with us. It is His rod and staff that comfort us. May you know His comfort today.