Saturday, January 28, 2006

Success Card #5

The value of life is not the length of it,
but the use we make of it.

~ Michel de Montaigne


This means more to me tonight than it did this morning. You see, this morning, I started this post out talking about how I could be related, in some distant fashion, to the author of the quote. Then I spoke of my American Heritage. Then I went and ran a race, but only as a training run. I came home. Dinked around on my computer for a bit. Thought about calling my mother, but got side-tracked by something else. Tried, unsuccessfully, to take a nap. Got up and made something to eat, instead.

Then, a little after 6 pm, my mom calls me. She is complaining of a pain in her back. A little more probing on my part and I discover that her pain is in the back of her shoulder. Her left shoulder. I ask if she was nauseous as well. She says a little. I told her I thought we should call 911. Her automatic response, "Do you think so?" "Yes, Mom. I do." Well, because of her hoarding she naturally didn't want to do that. I asked her if she wanted me to come get her. She did.

Twenty-five minutes later, I knock on her door. I try to open it. It's locked, of course. I hear her inside telling me she's coming. She steps onto the dark porch with her bag and book in hand, closing the door behind her. I ask her if she has a coat, for she is not wearing one. She says yes, then tells me she thinks she is sicker than she thought and asks me to take her things. I do.

I try to discover a little more about what is wrong with her. I'm holding onto her hand. Why does she think she is sicker? All she wants to do is sit down. There is a chair on the porch, but because of all the trash, it's hard for me to maneuver her there. She starts to weave, but is still standing upright. "Mom," I say, "Tell me what's going on. Tell me why you think you are sicker." But before she can respond, she collapses on the front porch. My mother is a large woman and there was no way I could keep her from falling. She smacks her head on the screen door.

Now I'm slightly frantic. She doesn't respond to my voice and when I try to sit her up, she is unresponsive. I quickly dig into my purse, pull out my cell, and put a frantic call in to 911. I tell them I need an ambulance and give them the address. I get transferred to the fire department. I repeat myself. They ask me questions. Is she concious? No. Is she breathing? Yes. Kind of. I can't explain to them what it sounds like. Yes, she's breathing and her mouth is moving. It's almost like she is snoring. They tell me to keep her warm, so I put her coat over her and take mine off to give her for added warmth.

Two minutes later, the medics arrive. Because the porch is dark, my flagging them down doesn't help. I finally yell just loud enough to catch their attention. There must have been at least a half a dozen people suddenly crowded around her trying to assess her condition. I try to succinctly tell them what her complaints were and why we were on the porch.

They very unceremoniously drag her off the porch and put her onto their gurney. The bundle her up and put her in the ambulance. One of the medics tells me they will let me know where they are taking her in just a minute. Then the aid truck is gone and another medic comes back to me. He tells me where they have takern her. He adds that he is unable to determine her prognosis, but he warns me it doesn't look good because of the kind of breathing she was doing. He further warned me that they would be intubating her on the ride to the hospital as well as pushing IV fluids.

I follow in my car, calling my sister along the way. I share with her what the medic told me, then tell her there is no sense in her going to the hospital as there really isn't anything she can do. She agrees and tells me to call her when I know more.

When I arrive at the hospital, I head for the emergency room triage nurse. I explain that my mother was just brought in by ambulance, but it occurs to me they don't even know her name. The triage assistant calls into the actual emergency room, briefly explains how she has a woman that says her mom was just brought in, and is put on hold. A minute later, the medic I was talking to at my mother's housecomes out. I'm delighted because he knows who I am. Another nurse comes out and takes some info such as my mother's name. Until then, she was a "Jane Doe."

Another minute later, I've got two nurses and a medic escorting me into the emergency room. They are trying to prepare me for what I'm going to see. They tell me there is activity on the monitor, but warn me it doesn't exist without them performing CPR.

I finally step into the room where they are performing CPR on my mother. The doctor quickly brings me up to speed, telling me that an ultrasound of her heart shows that it isn't beating on its own. I'm watching this young man working hard to keep my mother's heart going, but I shake my head. No, no, no, no, no. Don't. Stop. You can quit. She doesn't want any extreme measures to be taken to save her life. And in that instant, I realize my mother is gone.

I don't cry, I don't scream, I don't wail. I'm simply stunned. The doctors and nurses ask me questions and I respond. They are all very sympathetic. I finally push past all of them and go to her. I hold her hand and kiss her face. I call my sister.

=====================================

So it is with sadness and regret that I focus on this quote. My mother was 78 when she passed away. That would be considered a long life by some. I still think of it as rather short. But as the quote suggests, it isn't how long you live, but what you do with your life.

My mother an ordinary woman with an fairly ordinary, albeit interesting, life. She gave birth to and reared five children. As a former military wife, she had travelled extensively. She never let on how she hated all the moving we did. And because I didn't know she hated it, I was always excited to go to a new place.

------------

I have to finish this later. I went to be around 11:30 p.m. and woke up around 3:00 a.m. I've been awake ever since. It's now after 6. I need some sleep.



33 Comments:

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Iron Benny uttered...

I'm so sorry for your loss. May you and your family find peace and comfort in this time of anguish.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger Ironayla uttered...

HUGS!!!!!

I am sorry for your sudden loss.

If you need anything.... just give me a call or IM me :)

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger nancytoby uttered...

Awww, I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like at the same time you have a big job ahead of you, too. Hang tough. Thank you for sharing these moments with us.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger nancytoby uttered...

Your difficult story has been on my mind ever since this morning. I just wanted to say that we're thinking about you and hope you're doing reasonably well and got a good sleep.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Mica uttered...

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger robtherunner uttered...

Susan, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger Shelley uttered...

This is so sad, it was so tough to read, I can only imagine how tough it was for you to write this. I am so sorry about your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Take care!

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger bunnygirl uttered...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Peace to you and yours.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Keryn uttered...

My heart goes out to you. I can't even imagine how tough it was to write this. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger DebbieJRT uttered...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. I can't imagine how hard this must be, but there are people thinking of you out here in internet land.

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Tammy uttered...

Oh Puddy ~ {{{HUGS}}} I'm so sorry for your tragic loss. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts.

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Flo uttered...

Oh god Puddy, what can I say. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. As Debbie said, know there are people out here in internetland thinking of you and your family.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger PuddyRat uttered...

My thanks to all of you for your kind words and well wishes. It is, naturally, a difficult time, made somewhat more difficult by the circumstances.

My sisters and I did spend time at my mother's home today and we laughed, we railed, and we wept. We also did a little cleaning and barely made a dent. However, we take comfort in knowing she no longer has to live like that and that she is now truly free.

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger jeanne uttered...

I too am so sorry for you loss and how sudden it was. I am going through dealing with a sick parent, too, and I am waiting for such a call.

My prayers are with you and your sister.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick uttered...

Found you via a friend we have in common, Nancy. I am sorry for you loss and how it happened. Those are awful circumstances. My dad's health is not the best and I am unsure how I will deal with it when he goes.

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger Joyce uttered...

i'm sorry for your loss, blessings to you

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger runr53 uttered...

I don't know what to say, it is always hard to lose loved ones. My thoughts and prayers are with youand yours.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger *jeanne* uttered...

Oh, I'm so sad to hear of your loss. I lost my Mom to cancer in 2001. There's no bottom to the sorrow.

My heart is with you.

*jeanne*

 
At 4:25 AM, Blogger Okolo uttered...

My condolences to you and your family. I don't know the history, but it seems so sudden.

Yes, she's now free.

Followed a link from Nancy's blog.

 
At 4:39 AM, Blogger Lynne uttered...

It's a tough tough thing to go through and my heart goes out to you and your family. Hang in, Hang on.

 
At 6:42 AM, Blogger Wylee uttered...

Oh my dear. What a hard day. Thank you for sharing with us, and reminding us how quickly life can change forever.

 
At 7:03 AM, Blogger Fe-lady uttered...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Because you were there fpr her, your mom knew that you loved her very much...and she still knows now...
laughing and crying with your sister is just what you needed to do.
Take care and know that she is resting peacefully.

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger William uttered...

I am very sorry about your loss. I've just said a prayer for you and you family.

 
At 7:43 AM, Blogger Flatman uttered...

So sorry for the hard times that you are going through and are sure to face in the coming days ahead. I will be praying that God gives you a special peace...

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger TriFeist uttered...

My heart goes out to you and your family. I will keep you in my prayers.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger mipper uttered...

i am so sorry. i hope you will find comfort and peace during this time.

 
At 9:46 PM, Blogger Ellie uttered...

Puddy.... I just caught up with this. What a blessing it was for your mother that you were there with her when she collapsed... not only to get help, but because her last moments of awareness had you in them.

You did everything beautifully, including telling the ER staff she wanted to be allowed to go. You showed true loyalty, love and courage.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger Silly Sally uttered...

I found your blog through a search since I will be doing Ironman Canada as well. I'm very sorry for the sudden loss of your mother. My mother is a hoarder too, but not to the extent that yours is. I used to not want to deal with this problem, amongst many other things, but with the confirmation of her cancer, I realise how petty I have been and see the wonderful unselfish woman that raised me. It seemed that you loved your mother very much and that is very special. May she rest in peace.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Steven uttered...

You're in my thoughts and prayers, Puddyrat.

 
At 12:22 PM, Blogger Holly uttered...

I'm so sorry for you loss! You are in my thoughts...

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger SEO Expert uttered...

Good. This is not a spam on your blog. I have been searching for cybex treadmill stuffs and came across your blog. Some good stuff you have. Just sharing what I have build. Go to cybex treadmill and give me some comments too.

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger KLN uttered...

Oh Puddy, I'm so sorry for your loss. Glad your sister is around for mutual support and sharing. Biggest HUGS to you!
-Knees

 
At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous uttered...

Oh Susan,
I am so sorry to read of the loss of your mother. Please know in time, you'll dream of her and she'll be happy and healthy. I wish you peace.

Julie aka Prlgrl

 

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