Out of nowhere, Mom’s condition declined…literally overnight.

I got the call around 10:30 Sunday night.  When the phone rings at that hour, the adrenaline surges through my veins and it’s fight or flight for me.  Recognizing the number as Mom’s facility, I felt a pit in my stomach.  Something was terribly wrong.

I could hear the concern in the voice of the nurse who called.  She described Mom as minimally responsive.  They called an ambulance and quickly transported her to the hospital.  I met the ambulance in front of the emergency department.  Mom was slow to respond.  Her words and movements were extremely slow and lethargic.  They immediately put her in a room and began working with her.

I was an emotional wreck.  Over the years, I have had so many close calls with Mom, but this felt different.  I saw her in a different light.  This felt like it could be final.  And all of the years of preparing.  All of the years of holding back the tears to maintain a strong front….all of that flew out of the window.  Within minutes my strong countenance (the one I inherited from her) was dissolved into a typhoon of tears on my face.

The hospital was full, so there were no rooms available.  We were stuck in the ER…room 19.  The place was busy trying to handle the hospital overflow along with all of the patients needing immediate attention.  In the midst of the chaos, my mother received the best care she ever has, in this ER.  The physician was amazing.  We talked about options.  Mom has pneumonia in both lungs and her prognosis is poor.  I was able to communicate my wishes for her without feeling like I was giving up.  The doctor agreed.  Mom would likely not withstand aggressive treatment, but would benefit from palliative care, or comfort measures.  So there it was.  It was happening.  Mom’s journey was heading into a new direction…one with a final destination.  I didn’t know how to feel.  Did I do enough?  Should we go “all-in” and do all we can to “heal” her?  Should we back off and let her live her remaining days in peace?  Reflecting on how difficult it was to start an IV in her tiny little veins…thinking about the mental image of the nurse attempting to place a catheter, I knew that comfort was the way to go.

That being said….I am simply not ready.  I am not ready to travel this road.

We have had a challenging couple of days in the hospital.  Her oxygen saturation and blood pressure are low and she is now totally non-verbal.  I am here with her as I write this.  We were finally able to secure a room.  I cannot bear the thought of her passing alone, so I am here, in room 752.  Whether it happens tonight…tomorrow night…next week…next month or whenever…I will be there.

The way I see it….when she brought me into the world, it was just she and I.  In those days, fathers were not encouraged to be at the bedside.  So it was Mom and I and the medical staff.  Really, just the two of us.

And in my humble opinion….that’s just how she should leave this world.

Just she and I.

Just the two of us.

Building those castles in the sky…