Saturday, December 13, 2008

How Quickly Life Changes

Tonight we left the local hospital where Fang's mom is lying in Buck's traction.  Her situation reminds us of just how quickly life can change.  Five years ago she was still working as a nurse; now she has lived in a nursing home for two years.  Just recently we noticed that she didn't call us by name, so we would call out each other's name to help her.  Oh, she knows us, but the names don't always come out for her.  This is just part of the slow slide into the human mind that comes to some of us if we are around long enough.

Even with double pneumonia and a broken hip, today she picked back at the doctors and nurses.  That is part of her charm.  One doctor from some Eastern European country came in and asked her how she was.  She got out, "Fine as frog's hair" before she ran out of air.  The little nurse with him tried to explain to him that it was an expression.  I just shook my head and told her that the man obviously didn't speak Texan.

Senile dementia is difficult for everyone involved.  So much of the time, MIL makes perfectly good sense.  Then she woke up from a short little nap (induced by the morphine, no doubt) and tried to explain to her nurse that she really appreciated the recipe that she made for her.  Hers was better than anyone else's recipe.  Blank looks on our faces and just nodding our heads and smiling.

Then I dared to appreciate a compliment she gave to me when she told the doctor that "This is my daughter-in-law and she has been such a blessing."  I really do hope that is how she feels.  

Our hospital is busy around the clock.  It makes one wonder how the staff ever gets it all done.  And it also makes me wonder how older people can get the care that they are going to need without family with them.  A lady across the hall had no one with her.  She cried most of the night according to my sister-in-law.  I would never want that to happen to MIL.  But nurses can't stand there and soothe and talk to the patients until they are quiet and comfortable.  MIL KNEW we were there, and it was as comforting to us to be there for her as it was to her to HAVE us there.

Life is too precious to throw it away or to decide it is not worth the bother.  Young or old, we all have something to offer others.  MIL still has a smart mouth---the nurse asked, "How are you feeling?"  Her answer, "With my fingers!"  That was worth a smile.  

We don't want our parents--or anyone--to hurt, but even pain can't totally take away a personality.  That indomitable spirit has value to show us life's worth--even when it changes so quickly and drastically.


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is beautiful It is sad to watch our family and friends change as they grow older. Your mother-in-law is fortunate to have someone as caring as you are. It seems a sense of humor runs in the family. Smiles are good medicine.

BTW, great blog. See you on Your Hub.


Carla said...

Yes, trust that compliment!

Anonymous said...

I miss her being who she used to be. Honry and full of opinions about everything. She has always been so independent. I hope I have half the strength she has.