heathrowga: (Default)
Today would have been my mother's 60th birthday.

My aunt and I spoke this morning about how she was such a young spirit. It was a lovely conversation. The kids enjoyed talking to my aunt, "their Great Aunt Deb." (Tom's sister jokes that she is to be called "their Favorite Aunt Deb" to keep things straight.)

I'm pretty okay today. It took me a while to fall asleep last night. Tom let me sleep in because he rules like that.

I wish things were different so my kids could meet the neat lady I knew when I was younger. I miss my mom.
heathrowga: (gawthick)
Two nights ago, we finished going through the sympathy cards from my mother's passing in April. I just let them stack up on the kitchen table because I couldn't bear to open them up and read them. And by "we", I mean "Tom". I've saved the cards along with the guest register book from the funeral and I'll write thank you/ acknowledgement notes in the coming weeks.

I do feel good in that I've finished my thank you notes for the people that donated to Lifepath Hospice in honor of my mother.  Things are getting to a place where I can close a door on this part of my life. It's just been a hard summer, and I hope that my delay in sending these notes out isn't viewed too harshly.
heathrowga: (gawthick)
This week, I've been missing my mom a great deal. Monday was especially rough. My dad called while he was on a layover in town, and he picked up on the sadness in my voice. (Dad and my mother had been divorced for over a decade when she died.) He shared that he had a Mom-related blue spell the day before.  Hearing that someone else missed her truly helped me.

There are so few people around that knew my mom in her good years.  Even before my mom was officially diagnosed with cirrhosis, her mind had been changed from the years of drinking. Tom never knew my mom back when she was vivacious and pleasant to be around.  So while he realizes that I'm mourning her death, he can't understand the full impact of the years of good memories and love. He only got to live through the "pain in the tuckus" years.

While I was down in Tampa, my aunt presented me with a box of pictures from my youth. This is better than gold to me. (My mother only had one photo album of pictures from my youth, and it was water damaged. I was only able to salvage four photos from it.) I'm planning to spend some time over the next year or so taking this large box of photos and writing down as much of the associated history and anecdotes as I remember. I already feel like part of my mom is slipping away. Same thing with Abuelo (maternal grandfather), who passed 2 weeks before Amelia was born.

It has been getting easier though. It's not nearly as bad as the first month where I would just stop to cry in the middle of the kitchen for a while.  Before Monday, it had been a couple of weeks since the last big grief punch.
heathrowga: (gawthick)
PURNELL, Carmen M. (Pazo), 58, lifelong resident of Tampa, passed away on Tues. Apr. 22, 2008. Carmen was a 1967 graduate of H.B. Plant High School and attended the Univ. of Tampa. She is survived by her husband Bruce B. Purnell, her mother, Regla Pazo, her daughter, Heather Sorensen (Tom), granddaughters, Amelia and Katie, and her sister, Debra Johnson (Dr. David). A celebration of Carmen’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Sat. Apr. 26th at Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S. MacDill Ave., with a reception immediately following in the funeral home Banquet/Reception Room. In lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions to Melech Hospice House (Burgundy Team), 11125 N. 52nd St., Temple Terrace, FL. 33617.
----
Thank you for coming here today to remember my mother, Carmen. She was a pretty amazing person.

If she saw that somebody needed something, she would find a way to get it to them.

She was a loving woman, a kind woman,  a funny woman, and a smart woman.

Most importantly (to me), she was my mother.  

In the last few years, I have become a mother myself to two beautiful girls, Amelia and Katie. They're back in Atlanta with my husband, Tom, right now. Amelia is 4, and Katie just turned 2. This has been the hardest job I've ever taken on. Even though I'm "just" a stay-at-home mother now, most days I am plumb exhausted by the time the girls are in bed at night. If I am this tired and I've only been at the job for 4 years, I can only imagine what I'll feel like at 10 years...or 18 years.  I admire my mother for living through those years and waking up every morning and greeting me with a smile, warmth, love, and forgiveness.

My mother took in all of my friends. She was the group mom. All of my friends were welcome at our house, and there were no strangers in our home. I had several friends who fell out with their parents. She would invite my friends to stay with us for a few days, feed them, clothe them, and mediate to get the families back together. I share this anecdote because I think it tells you the importance family had in my mother's life. She believed in the importance of sitting down every night to a family dinner and talking. I do this with my husband and children (much to Amelia and Katie's chagrin.) 

I believe my mother died way too young. I wish she could be around to watch her grandchildren grow up to conquer the world. However, she'll just have to watch them up from Heaven. I'll make sure to tell Amelia and Katie lots of great stories about how Carmen used to take me to the airport late at night to watch the airplanes take off or how she taught me to cook ropa vieja from scratch. I just wish she could teach them these things herself.

I'd like to close with a poem from Christina Rosetti called "Sonnets are Full of Love":
Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome

Has many sonnets: so here now shall be

One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws

Of time and change and mortal life and death.
heathrowga: (mom)
I'm back from Tampa. I'm very drained. I'll write more in the next couple of days.

I held up quite well, but I don't think anyone is ever ready to see one's mother in a coffin.   It was a closed casket service, but during the reception after the funeral, I was given a few minutes alone with my mom. That was the time I really lost it over the weekend.    
heathrowga: (Sabine)
Mom has finally been discharged from the hospital. She's at the hospice house for a few days, until health care is arranged for her at the house. Her MRSA is raging, and she needs twice daily IV antibiotic feeds. (Quick, everyone!  Panic!  MRSA!)

In addition, Sabine is back at the vet. She had stopped bathing over the last few days, we could not keep her feeding consistently, and she was just following me around the house and sleeping. So we had a stinky, unhappy cat stalking me.  I tried forcing her to bathe by spraying her with a water bottle (recommended by her vet!), but she'd just stare at me like "Mom!  I'm not doing anything wrong!  Why are you spraying me?" She wouldn't lick the water off her coat. So I'd have a wet, stinky cat staring at me, following me. Then she'd sit in a warm window and get hot...so it would become a hot, wet, stinky cat following me around, stalking me.

We were following all of the vet recommendations.  We were giving her twice daily oral medications for her oral ulcers (because of the kidney failure - metabolic acidosis) plus daily subcutaneous dialysis.  All of the cats were switched to a full wet food diet. She's getting a full blood work-up today.  We'll see what the story is,.
heathrowga: (Default)
She is a complete nutter.

We went round and round with such gems as:
1. If you want us there for a particular holiday, ask us!
2. Just because you are sick doesn't mean we will cancel all existing plans.
3. The reason I didn't tell you Tom was in London is that you never once asked what was going on with us during that time period.
4. I didn't volunteer my holiday plans because you never asked.
5. No, really, you do turn into a shrew whenever I mention my father. That's why I didn't jump up and down to share my plans with Dad.
6. Hell, no, we are not going to break our tradition of doing Christmas at our house.
7. Just because you are sick doesn't make you right.
8. If you are mad at me, tell me. Don't tell your sister to tell me.
9. Sitting around pouting until I notice only makes you look more like a 13-year old.
10. If you want more details/to be more involved, call me.
11. When I mean, "Call me", I don't mean to tell me lies about how you aren't drinking. Because I know what your drunk voice sounds like.
heathrowga: (Default)
The current plan is to leave Tom alone with the girls for the weekend and drive down to Tampa to see my mom. I don't think she'll even know I was there, but that's not the point.  I'm arranging for a sitter to come over at noon (I hope!), so I have a chance of making it there before visiting hours end Friday night. 

The thought of traveling <i> again so soon </i> is horrifying to me.  However, since there's not a clear understanding of how long she has, I want to be sure I'm there.  For what purpose, who knows. I think it's for closure. I've tried to do that every time I've gone to Florida in the last 8 months, but I guess it won't be enough until it is.
heathrowga: (evilhalf)
[personal profile] onceupon posted an entry yesterday that really has me thinking. I've been feeling less than wonderful since Katie was born. While I was overweight prior to the birth of my kids, I haven't gotten down to my default weight since Katie was born. (My default weight = the set point that my body seems to hit unless I'm exercising 1 hour a day and eating 1000 calories per day. Then I can drop 20 lbs which come back on within a short period of time. I've maintained that set point since I left college at age 22.) 

Very little of my clothing fits me well. I have many years of clothing to fit my default weight, but not a great deal of things at this higher weight. I am hesitant to shop for new clothing for me for fear I'll waste money. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's because I don't want to face the fact that I'm this new size.  I go to the few stores that carry attractive items in my size and nothing looks right.

Right now, I'm still trying to deal with this ongoing stress of my mom's illness. (She's going through an up period, but she's still in hospice. She continues to abuse her body, so it's inevitable...just maybe delayed.)  I have two young children. My allergies try to slay me when I step outside right now. Yes, I could exercise inside...during the kids' naptime (assuming they nap at the same time), or once they are asleep when I normally spend time with my husband catching up.  I need to make it a priority, but I have nothing left to give.

Eating well? Well, we get in our fruit and veggie counts.  I am in the process of converting us to whole wheat pasta and flours. I know that I overeat to help quell the feeling of sorrow and frustration. I rarely drink (1 drink a month is a big month), don't smoke, and I definitely don't do drugs. I've got an appointment with a shrink in April.

I just don't know. I can list to you all of the good behaviors I should be engaging in. Then when the time comes, I just can't or won't.  I don't have a good answer right now. I'm just putting one foot in front of the other right now.
heathrowga: (Default)
This has been the weekend of gathering my wagons. I've had to slough off some commitments in order to keep myself and the family afloat. We are going out tonight to a dear friend's house to catch up and watch part of the Super Bowl. We'll be home way before the end, because at least one child in this house is going to have enough sleep damnit.

Katie's still having a rough go of it. Like most ear infections, it's much worse at night. Therefore, it's much worse for us at night. This weekend, Tom has very graciously given me the lion's share of the sleep, since I need to do the night shift during the work week.

As for my mom, I'm trying to get over my hurt that she didn't even call me when she left the hospital. However, I need to remember that this kind of mental decline is part of the cirrhosis death. It's hard when I am trying to reach out to her constantly to deal with a mush-mouthed and confused woman who has a hair trigger temper.
heathrowga: (Default)
To distract myself from wanting to throttle my mother, I offer this link: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=local&id=4997426 Watch the video that goes along with it.

(Why am I pissed? She was released from the hospital today, didn't think to call me, and when I asked her why, she claimed she had been trying to call me all day. Lies. I was at home with the girls from noon on. Grrr. She sounded horrible on the phone, barely making a lick of sense. I hate how her brain is fading.)
heathrowga: (Default)
The little cold that Amelia had late last week has been passed to Katie. Katie passed it to me. I'm just feeling a little run down with a rough throat. Katie's running a fever, drooling and snotting like a crazed person, and she has a very rough cough. If she's still running a fever tomorrow (day 3), I'll take her to the doctor. Me, I'll linger for a couple of weeks and end up with a sinus infection.

Mom's still in the hospital. She's spending her nights crying and her days bemoaning the lack of good care she's getting. (The care is fine. She just doesn't want to be there.) I'm calling her twice a day because she needs to hear I love her, but oh my goodness would the whining please stop?

Amelia is grumpy that Katie needs to be cuddled so much. Katie's grumpy because she hurts. Mom is just needing more than anyone can give her.

What do I need? A week long vacation away from everyone but Tom. However, that's not happening any time soon.
heathrowga: (Default)
As far as I know, Mom is still not in the hospital. She promised various people she would go tonight, but I'll believe she's in the hospital when I have to talk to her via Tampa General's switchboard. The best excuse I heard so far is that she didn't want to go today because all of the routes to the hospital would be blocked by Gasparilla. I have a funny feeling that the police would let ambulances through the parade route, you know what I mean?

I spent the morning puttering around the house with Tom and the kids. When they were down for a nap, I went to the mall and bought myself a funeral dress. I figure that I am going to need one really soon now, so I might as well shop for it while I am on my own, versus grabbing the first thing in my size that's remotely appropriate, like I have to when the kids are with me. I got even more depressed looking at myself in the mirror at Macy's, because I just haven't gotten myself in eat better and exercise. I need to, but I'm just at my limit right now.

I did find a nice wrap dress 60% off at Macy's. I hate spending a ton of money for something I'll only wear once. While this could be a cocktail or dinner dress later on, I just don't see myself reusing it. I imbue things with significance, and it'll be colored by that forever more. For example, a sleep outfit that I purchased for Flipper prior to the miscarriage was never used for Amelia or Katie. I just couldn't.

I came home to save Tom from the children. We packed up the family and headed out to run errands. While we were at Petsmart, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] pigri and her husband. We had a very nice chat while Amelia attempted to steal a few kittens from the adoption agency. Ms. M looked wonderful, and I confessed that I have Wii envy.

For dinner, we had pizza and now I'm watching Tom play a bit of Lego Star Wars. I spoke on the phone with my aunt and my mom's best friend earlier this evening, and now I'm waiting for my head to stop pounding. I took something over an hour ago, and it's just intensified since then.

Wow

Jan. 15th, 2007 11:40 am
heathrowga: (Default)
I stumbled across this website last night: http://stayathomemotherdom.clubmom.com/ . It's so well-written and she sounds like someone I have known for years. I wrote her an email this morning for being so honest about her struggles and how much insight it's given me into my mother. She wrote back the sweetest email.
heathrowga: (hate you!)
Things are looking up slightly. Tom went to the doctor today; I'll try to get by tomorrow. The cold has branched out into an upper respiratory infection in him; I assume that I've gotten my quarterly sinus infection.

At this point, not sure when mom is getting out of the hospital. She has some sort of strep infection in her body, and they aren't sure where. They think it may be around the port in her chest, which is bad.

I'm just done for today. I'll cheer myself up by showing off the cuteness:



heathrowga: (Default)
Mom had her TIPS procedure yesterday. She's doing well. However, she's developed this "charming" habit of trying to hand me off to someone else when I call. People say it's because she's scared of the situation and afraid to break down on the phone to me. I can kinda get that, but it's hurting me. I'd like to talk to her about how she's feeling and what's going on in her head and heart. Apparently, she's getting her fill of that with her drinking buddies that call in and visit.

I called tonight to check on her. She said she was fine and then told me she had to go to eat an orange. I asked her if she was serious.

Yeah.

I rank below citrus.

I'm so fucking heartbroken right now, I can't even stand it. If this entry makes sense, I'll be amazed.
heathrowga: (Default)
Thank you for all the good thoughts over the weekend. Mom's been sedated since Sunday afternoon. They did an endoscopy and found several bleeding ulcers in her esophagus and stomach. Oddly, that's the best they could have hoped for; esophageal varices are scarier. While they had her under, they did another paracentesis and removed another 10 L of fluid from her abdomen. She's now being "drained" every 10 days or so. They're keeping her under through this morning/afternoon to give her a chance to rest. There is hope that they can get her TIPS performed Wednesday which should cut down on the frequency of needed paracentesis.

The doctor had a come to Jesus with Mom on Saturday before they put her under to explain why drinking is bad when you have cirrhosis, mmmkay? Let's see if this one sticks. I'm not holding out hope.

Last night was a rough night for our family. Katie's cold has moved into her chest, so she was up coughing a lot last night. That meant I was up with her most of the night. Today, while I'm out running errands, I'll pick up another humidifier. Apparently the move ate one of ours. I may splurge for one of the cute penguin or kitty cat ones.
heathrowga: (Default)
Yesterday, the family was all sick. We stayed at home, took shifts napping, and tried to keep it together. We watched the Florida-Georgia game, and it was painful to watch the 4th quarter. However, it all turned out well.

We got the kids down to sleep, then I received a call that my mom was being admitted to the hospital and put into the ICU. She'd been vomiting blood fo r24 hours and kept refusing to go to the hospital. Her husband forced her to do so Saturday afternoon. She was triaged, stabilized, and admitted quickly. However, her husband called her sister and all of their buddies and forgot to call me. My aunt called me at 9 P.M. to find out if I was notified. I spent the evening being slightly freaked out. Tom sent me to bed about 10:30 with an Ambien so I'd have a chance of getting some sleep.

I slept like the dead. I feel physically better, but I'm a touch of a wreck right now. My mom is still in ICU and they're not going to move her/do anything big until Monday. She's probably going to have the TIPS shunt placed in on Wednesday. She's currently receiving blood transfusions, bags of antibiotics (to address her elevated white count), and they've intubated her. They'll do an endoscopy either today or tomorrow to figure out if its esophageal varices or what.

Tom and I have figured out what we'll do in the event this turns worse. We'll pack up the car and all drive down to Tampa. Then he'll catch a flight back to Atlanta and take MARTA to work. We both feel that me trying to do that drive with both kids on my own would be dangerous and painful, given my likely emotional state.

I'm quite drained right now emotionally. We're going to try to get out to a pumpkin patch to take photos of the kids. The fresh air and sunlight will hopefully raise my spirits.
heathrowga: (evilhalf)
The house goes on the market Monday. The realtor took pictures yesterday of our house for the various realtor websites. We've been so busy getting the house fabulous looking that I'm a bit shell-shocked with the whole experience. Looking around the house this morning, it's hard to believe how quickly 2 children can take a house from "pristine/show-ready" to "toys scattered hither and yon." I'm scared that the house is going to take forever to sell. In addition, I'm scared it will sell too quickly. We've been idly looking at properties, but I know it's time to get serious. There's something slightly surreal about all this.

I've not posted recently about my mother. That's due to there not being any (good) news. She was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago to receive a blood transfusion. She felt better for a few days after getting her "oil changed," but the fatigue has returned quickly. She keeps treating her cirrhosis as a bad case of the flu that a good rest will cure. It's been over a year since she was diagnosed, and it's only gotten worse. Her ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen) have been drained about 10 times in the last year. That's a very bad sign for future health, since it is not responding to the medical and dietary changes. Her liver is failing, and it's going to kill her at some point in the future. Emory has removed her from the transplant program due to her not going to alcohol treatment. She keeps thinking that she can get an exception, even though her doctors, Emory, and everyone around her (except her alcoholic husband) tell her she needs to follow Emory's requirements. I have tried everything in my power to fix her, and I'm at peace (right now, it could change) that it's her choice to live or die.

On a lighter note: http://youtube.com/watch?v=CqnVZwXQbQk
heathrowga: (Default)
Whenever I think I'm getting better handling my mom's illness, I'm slapped upside the head with how much I want to still fix things. She's now started in that "obviously she's not getting good care because she's not getting better" line of BS. She had the audacity to tell me that her body should regenerate after she's been doing "everything right" for the last 9 months.

Slight problem with that attitude: it's dead wrong. She's killed so much of her liver that healthy tissue has been replaced with scar tissue. Scar tissue is effectively dead tissue. This has been explained to her over and over again. The only way she'll ever feel better is to replace her liver with a donor liver. The truth of this bounces off her.

Why in the hell can't I get her to understand this? And barring that, why can't I get it in my head that I can't fix her? I rage against her denial, which is probably my own form of denial.

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heathrowga

August 2010

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