Wednesday, December 10, 2008

60/40

It's like I'm nesting for a baby again, waiting for my mom to possibly die. I can't even believe I'm putting that into words. My dad called tonight and for the first time said she might not pull through.

Her Muscular Dystrophy complicates everything. She's not breathing on her own. Hasn't eaten in 5 days, so they gave her a feeding tube. She got pneumonia from a long period of shallow breathing and not clearing out her lungs. My dad says she's completely non-responsive. It's like she's in a coma. I told him I really thought I should be home, regardless of what the doctors were saying. They all assure him that "it's nothing like that." But my father, the most realistic person at facing good or bad news, said he would say it's around 50/50 chances of her coming out okay. Maybe 60/40. He's going to be pushing for more brain scans tomorrow, because we both agreed this didn't sound like her. Even with her deeply groggy places she can go if she doesn't have Provigil in the afternoon, she doesn't just disappear. My gut tells me this might be the time. And either way, I really want to see her.

It's odd to be contemplating the death of my mom on the heels of Dawn's new baby boy. Ethan is sleeping upstairs with Jack, and he's been so excited about his new little sibling. I've been moved to tears for them. That there's this new little life in the world! I can't wait to see her baby. I'm so delighted he's healthy. That she's safe. There's this celebratory elation sharing space with my heavy introspection.

I made a shadowbox for my mom for Christmas, with her baby clothes in it. That she was once this tiny little life. I can't believe there's a chance she might never see the shadowbox. There's such a surreal life and death dance happening in our house.

I have an overwhelming need to do dishes. Laundry. Wait for the calls tomorrow to tell me where we stand with things. Buy my flight tickets. It reminds me so much of the weeks before my babies, scrubbing the floors and needing to feel like I was ready physically to take on this new emotional transition.

If 85% of people with her disease die before age 60, and the rest die from respiratory or cardiac things, does it really make sense that she could pull through having this period of not breathing on her own? Of having pneumonia? If anyone with MD can do it, she can.

And perhaps it will all be some weird dress rehearsal and turn out to be nothing. And then she and I can laugh about the time we thought she might die and how she's too stubborn to go through with it.

There's always been a sense that I would lose her at some point soon. She talked about it all the time. When we decided we were done having children, there was this relief that she had met all of my children. That she met Simone, whose middle name was Powers after her family. She loves that we named her grandbaby Powers.

I'd often wondered if I would get a call that she'd died suddenly and I wasn't there. And wondered what our last conversation would have been like. If this is the time....if I might lose her now....what an incredible gift that I'll be able to see her. My dad said even the worst case scenario, they can keep her on life support until I'm home. There's no way things would happen where I couldn't get there on time. Perhaps that's why I can have a calm sense of peace about things, even as my brain races through the wondering of what's going to happen to my mommy. I don't have to fear not being there, which will make all the difference in the world to me. Even if she can't respond, I can sit by her bed and tell her how much I love her.

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