Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Pressure's On

Can't believe so much has happened in the short time since my last post on this blog. I not only ended up in ER once for my bronchitis, but a few days later I drove myself there again when my jaw swelled up enormously in just a couple of hours! Forgive me for worrying about my airways closing with a big knot there bigger than a goose egg on the side of my neck, and not feeling safe to wait for the doctor's office to maybe be able to see me that day. So I just went.

The ER staff totally understood my concerns and supported the decision to come there. But it turned out to just be a salivary gland stone that had blocked up my salivary gland, causing it to swell so much so quickly. With some simple home treatments, I was able to get my jaw back to a normal size. I guess all the medicines I was using to dry up my bronchitis caused the stone to develop.

Then it was Dean's turn to see ER. He began having an adverse reaction to a second blood pressure medicine we were trying him on. I drove him there myself the first time. He was sleeping almost full-time, slurring his words, and was very wobbly on his already wobbly legs. It was increasing fast, and on the weekend, so what do you do?

Then the next night, after we cut the medicine in half as they prescribed, he had another reaction. This time with more mental complications. To make a long story short, I ended up having to call 911 to fetch him back in the middle of the night when he decided to leave the house on his own, not telling me where he went. The police and our neighbors were looking everywhere for him, but fortunately he was found safe and sound a couple of blocks away at the corner gas station. He was resting on a chair they provided for him, with the store clerks about to call the police themselves to see where this obviously delusional old man belonged.

I wish that were the only health crises. But the next night Dean was running blood pressures so high, one of the home health agency nurses did not believe my report and said I wasn't taking it right. So, I ignored her dismissive attitude and called the doctor's office myself, even though it was after hours. So thankful there was an emergency number for his doctor and I immediately called it. He returned my call quickly and said to go ahead and start him on the new medicine he had just prescribed for him in his office earlier that day. Well, that brought the pressure right down. But we're still watching it to see if it will keep it stable enough. It still spikes up there now and then.

Not sure what God is trying to show me with these trials happening all at once. We haven't been to the ER or hospital this many times in the last decade. And now all this in the space of only one month! It may be just a reminder that the closing events of this earth's history will be rapid ones too.

As my mind's spinning with the urgency and seriousness of our situation in this one household, what would it be like if everyone in the world experienced similar crises one right on top of the other?

But the greatest comfort is that God was right there with us through it all. I don't doubt for a minute that things will be calm again here soon for the Thompsons. Just as those final days at the end of time will lead to a beautiful eternity in heaven, without sin or suffering ever to enter our lives again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Caregiving for Me

Two weeks ago I came down with a monster cold. It was so bad even the first day, with my wimpy lungs, that I went to see the doctor for some additional medicines. Even though I had already started using my nebulizer and cough expectorant, I knew that prednisone and even an antibiotic would probably be added. And it was.

I still went home with the fear that this cold would not end without a call to 911 when my coughing spasms would turn into a choking episode. With less than half of my lungs functioning due to a deformed chest cavity (scoliosis), I just don't have the pulmonary power needed to cough up phlegm or even a tiny piece of food or water that might get lodged in my windpipe.

Three days later after an intense coughing spell, I had the phone in my hand almost ready to punch the 911, before I started to get my breath back. A week after that I actually did dial the 911 when I started to choke again, but told the paramedics I was alright and they didn't have to come.

The very next morning I had to call 911, when I couldn't get any air due to the phlegm closing off my breathing. Even though I had thankfully started breathing by the time they got there, and was using my nebulizer, they insisted I needed to go in to ER. Still in my nightgown, I thought to ask for my purse as we went out the door.

The worse part of my ambulance ride was when I looked in my purse and didn't see my car keys! Sometimes I just leave them lying by the purse and sometimes they are in. I was terrified that Dean would get in the car and drive himself to the hospital! He would be OK driving even though he hasn't been a licensed driver for fifteen years, but would he actually be able to find his way to the hospital without getting lost? I doubted it.

My cell phone was in my purse, however, so I managed to call my daughter when I got to the hospital. Bless her heart, her dad had called her about what had happened, just as she was getting off her night shift and gotten almost asleep. But she said she was on the way to the hospital. I tried to divert her to our house first, but she was determined to be by my side and was almost there.

The happy ending was that after a few tests and they didn't see pneumonia or any sign of infection, I was allowed to go home before noon, with another round of meds to get filled at the drug store. I was so thankful that my daughter was there to take me home, and the house was still standing when we got there, although Dean had been pretty shook up over it all.

I had assumed that he would go ahead and take his van to his day program that day, but he hadn't been able to get his socks on, so had stayed home. How could this man have taken care of himself, if I had been admitted to the hospital? I hope I never find out. But it was comforting to know that my daughter and son-in-law are here to step up to the plate and help. I even have a nephew fifty miles away, who would have dropped everything to come, had I needed him.

One thing that brought a smile was when Dean and I went to church this weekend, and they handed him a microphone to share a prayer request. He asked that people pray that his wife not have another coughing "spree". Yep, that described it pretty well. Some people have shopping sprees; I have coughing sprees.

I was indeed thankful that prayers did see us both through this eventful week. But as soon as I feel better, I'm going shopping instead.

my "at home" hospital

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Moms in My Life

Today being Mother's Day, I am overcome with emotions from several different fronts. I'm missing my own mother, appreciating my daughter's motherhood of two special granddaughters, recognizing the enormous sacrifice and love of all the women I have known in our family and church circle.

But taking it down to a personal level, as a caregiver, I'm reminded that motherhood doesn't end when a child is grown. We all require a little mothering as we get older. Just a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. Not all moms are as good at that as others, but it's something we need to keep practicing, especially when our  grown children no longer need our physical intervention as much as our emotional and moral support. (And conversely, we mothers need it too. That's why sisterhood was invented.)

Even Dean, who seems to be requiring more and more assistance with the tasks of life, is still in just as much need for someone who understands and appreciates him and his quirky ways, as he is with needing someone to help put his socks on.

As I contemplate our changing family roles, I am tending to embrace my role as caregiver/mother more on a day like today, Mother's Day. I can more easily find reason to celebrate my role, however it transforms itself with Dean over the next few years. I'm ready to be whatever he needs, because it continues to strengthen my relationship with him and with God. And what else is there?

my sister, mother, and I in 2005 (trip to Florida)