I guess I should have realized this years ago. However, it didn’t really hit me until Mom was in the ER after she fell and broke her hip. She was frightened. At this point, she’d had another minor stroke and did not know who I was. Attempts to give her peanut M&Ms to soothe the misery resulted in me digging them back out of her mouth when she didn’t seem to know how to swallow the chewed up candy.
Today is my son’s 21st birthday, and it is dawning on me that I should have picked up on this years ago. On day 2 of my labor, my dad shows up at the hospital wondering what is taking me so long to deliver my son — my mom was no where in sight. They usually always traveled as a pair.
A decade later when Dad fell playing racquetball and broke his hip and needed surgery, my Mom forbade me to visit him in the hospital. After she got him checked in, she called to have me pick her up and take her home. I thought it was bizarre that she wasn’t staying through the surgery and when she found out I went anyway, she made my sister call and yell at me.
I’d been to medical appointments with her and she was always aloof and dismissive of any medical issues I thought she should be sharing with her doctor. Looking back on all of her reports that she “passed” her physical, I have to laugh at my inability to recognize how much my Mom despised the hospital.
As I approach what would have been her 87th birthday, I’m relieved she is free of this earth and the dementia that stole her away from us piece by piece. I’m also humbled by my total lack of insight and only hope what I learned will come in handy as I work to give back to others who are engulfed in their caregiving journey’s.
We are doing the best we can with the information we have. Your loved ones are lucky to have you working for their benefit. Keep up the good fight. Admitted.