It’s a new year. And it’s 8 minutes until the 2nd. I decided on the 30th to sign up for a January blogging challenge. Me, who is becoming more of a procrastinator with every passing day, who would have thought I’d wait until the last minute to sign up and then wait until now 6 minutes before the 2nd of the month to write up a post for the 1st.
If looking back through my posts I’m correct, my last actual post, meaning not just a share of an Instagram post, was on March 9, 2016. I’m not even sure what happened in 2016 that I wasn’t into posting, but if you’ve been checking in on me here (or Instagram), you know that my mom passed away last year in February. I pretty much stopped wanting to do anything after that. It wasn’t in the “I don’t want to be alive anymore” sense of not wanting to do anything, just the “I’m too numb to do anything more than play mindless games on Facebook” sense. I barely ate the first week after she passed. I had to force myself to do so. I never even posted what happened to her, but I won’t give the super long story, just a shorter version. Her death was very sudden. She had had knee replacement surgery on her right knee in April 2014 and it never quite felt right afterward. It was still hurting her like she had never had the surgery. Come forward to January 2017 and she saw a new ortho surgeon who did some x-rays and ran some tests and found her knee to be infected. She had surgery to take out the fake knee and clean out the infection. A couple days later her hemoglobin dropped and she needed a blood transfusion. This happened 2 more times. She was bleeding from somewhere, but they could not run tests to find out where it was happening because she wasn’t well enough. So she was bleeding and needed tests run but they couldn’t be run because she was bleeding/not well. Her last day the O2 in her blood was high. They were trying to get it to go down by putting an oxygen mask on her that was more pressure than a normal mask, but it wasn’t working. My brother and I had gone to see her that day and the mask looked really tight and uncomfortable, which could be why it wasn’t working as she kept trying to take off the mask. She wasn’t thinking clearly, due to the high O2 level, so she wasn’t understanding why she needed to keep the mask on. A few hours after my brother and I left, they took off the mask and sedated her and put her on a respirator. I think it was too late to try this method to lower her O2, and she ended up coding (meaning her heart stopped). She didn’t code immediately after being put on the respirator, but about a half hour later.
The hospital called my mom’s boyfriend, who was at work, and he then called me, but the way he told me about it, he made it sound like she was ok. So I called the hospital myself and they told me she was definitely not ok and that we needed to get down there ASAP. I am not even sure why the hospital called him. They had instructions to call me first, as the oldest child of my mom’s, and I would inform everyone else. They definitely never had the instructions to call her boyfriend. Nothing against him, but my siblings and I were never sure if he would choose the best results for her in this type of situation. She did not have any end of life paperwork filled out. We tried, but she wasn’t ready to do it. Anyway, after I talked to the hospital, I called my brother and sister and they started making their way to the hospital. My brother picked me up since he was closer to me than my mom’s boyfriend was and on the way our sister’s fiance called to see how close we were and my mom started coding for the 4th time during the call. Since my mom did not have end of life paperwork done, it was up to us 3 kids (well mostly me I guess, as the oldest, but I wanted all 3 of us to be ok with the decision) on what happened so they kept performing CPR every time she coded. My brother and I got up to her room just before she coded for the 5th time and our mom’s boyfriend arrived when she was coding for the 6th time. One of the nurses was talking to us and saying that after the first code they had shined a flashlight in her eyes (like they do) and there was no response, no pupil dilation or anything. The nurse had also told us that there was no way to tell what type of condition my mom would come back in, if she came back, and that they very likely had broken all of her ribs doing CPR (which would have been a long and painful recovery even without everything else going on). Because of all of this, during the 8th code, we were all in the room with her (in the corners, along the wall, away from the nurses working on her) and we decided to call it and let her go. She might not have had the paperwork done, but she had told me a few years ago she did not want to be in a vegetative state. I think knowing that and the nurse telling us what she did, helped make the decision “easier”. Not that it was easy at all. I got to sit with her a while afterward. She was still hooked up to the respirator though and I wish she had not been. She had been in the hospital before and sedated while on a respirator, so this just seemed like that and she always recovered from that. As morbid as it may sound, I think I needed to see her truly gone to help grieve better. Even now, almost a year later, I’ll look over at the mantle where her urn is, and think to myself “are you sure? are we sure? are you really gone?”. I’m not sure how much that would have changed if I saw her off the respirator afterward, but I’m full of “what if’s” about the whole situation. Especially what if when my brother and I went to see her earlier that day and they had told us about the oxygen mask and possibly having to intubate her, what if I had thought to ask about them just doing it then instead of waiting. It might have helped. Then again, if it was truly going to help, wouldn’t they have done that, to begin with? If. If. If.
So that’s the story. Yes, this is the short version. 😄 The long version involves everything after the initial knee surgery to the point where she had the replacement taken out.
I really cannot believe that it has been almost a year since we lost her. She was my entire support system, which is another reason I’ve done pretty much nothing since losing her. I’m not sure what to do. I had something very important I wanted to do, that she was going to be by my side throughout and I can still do it, I just have to go about it totally different since my mom is gone. If you didn’t know/don’t remember, I was living with her and her boyfriend since around May 2014. I’m still living in the house with her boyfriend. Neither of us are in the best health and should not be living alone, so it kind of works for us. Plus this way his dog is not alone when he goes to work. She has separation issues, abandonment issues, and anxiety because of it, so it’s better if someone is here with her. She also misses my mom a lot. She will lay on my mom’s side of the bed or on her clothes (that we still have not gone through) when she seems especially sad.
I think this post has gone on for a very long time, sorry, but internet cookies for you if you’ve reached the end. I meant to talk about more than just my mom, but that will have to wait for another post.