Monday, February 01, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Saturday, December 26, 2009
A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here--and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels singing overhead? Hark.
"December" by Gary Johnson. Used without permission from The Writers Almanac.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas to all of you, and to those you love!
First off, let me apologize for the lengthy silence from me and my family. I know you have all wanted to hear from us, especially about my Mom’s condition over the past few months.
Looking back on my previous letters to all of you, I realize that it has been more than six months since I last wrote. Again, I am sorry if this silence has led you to worry unnecessarily about my mom and her well-being. It has not been an easy going, but let me assure you now that Mommy is doing fine, and that she is at home, where we take turns taking care of her, together with a trusted nurse that stays with her on most nights.
I do feel a bit sad to tell you though, that my mom’s condition has hardly improved since she got out of the hospital last May. She is still bed-ridden and mostly unresponsive; although we still use the blink-once-for-yes scheme, and sometimes, it does seem like we do understand each other. As to her range of movements, there have been some improvements—she is often able to lift her head by herself, to spit, for example, or to help us when we move her about the bed, or during her rehab exercises. Some spastic movements are more pronounced as well—the curling of her hands to fists, and of her arms towards her chest, has been extended to her legs as well, although these movements are primarily involuntary.
Since the initial hospitalization, we have been back to the hospital twice. Once in ----- for 10 days because of an obstruction in her bowels: A simple colonoscopy was performed on her, and an extended stay required to balance her nutritional needs. The second was last week, and involved routine procedures to change her tracheal tube, a laryngoscopy to check her nasal passages and her vocal chords, and the last procedure was simply to transfer her feeding tube from her nose to a peg directly connected to her stomach. The last procedure was necessary to avoid the danger of choking, as well as to prevent possible infections through the old route.
I am sorry if this quick summary comes as a blow to all of you; please remember that all these happened in a span of more or less seven months. And though there definitely some stressful times for Mommy and for us, we have all been so much better ever since we’ve brought her home from that initial two-month hospital stay.
We have been... gifted, I suppose is the apt word this season, with just enough resources not to take anything for granted, and loving family and friends who are always willing to step up and help whenever we find ourselves lacking, or lost, or losing to despair. I say this because we have been quite successful (what an odd word to use in this context!), I think in the little adjustments and re-adjustments--the tailored and tapered accommodations necessary in a life so changed!—that it can become normal again.
Hah. Who would’ve thought I can say this, and all in my family believe it, seven months after what has passed? But I think, primarily, it is the relief of having her home again, and stable, and with us every day, that lends us, too, a certain strength and a more-than-enough semblance of normalcy which allows us to carry on with the necessary tasks, for her, and for ourselves. Our mom is home, and with us—perhaps this might be the beginning of all we begin to need, that the fulfilment of the rest becomes easier after this.
Am I making sense? Hehe. I feel selfish now, and not a little bit embarrassed, taking all of that time away in silence, and now, taking all of your time on these musings. But really, everything is as perfect as it can be in our world right now: It is 5:00 AM (perhaps why the philosophy! Sorry!), and I am on the last legs of my shift (and all of us halfway through) taking care of our mom (the 24thand today), my sisters and our Dad asleep in preparation for the next shift; the nurse home with her family as the maid soon will be too. Everything and everyone where they should be this Christmas.
And this family now, which with all your help and support and prayers and well-wishes throughout this year and even previously, is still, at its core, the same family. For this alone, silence or no, we will be forever grateful.
I hope and pray that this Christmas morning finds you and your family complete too, at the core, or in the heart, where it matters most.
Our love to you in this most generous of seasons,
Andrea -----, with my Family