I Love You, Mom - I Always Have and I Always Will
My beautiful Mom left at 93 on May 21, 2012. I had been her sole caretaker since she fell at the end of 2009, but also worked full time and regret every moment now that I was not with her 24/7 since I had the resources to do so. We have always lived together and I had come home for lunch every day for the last two years. We went out almost every weekend to shop and sometimes for dinner, and even went on an Alaskan cruise last summer, but it wasn't enough. Mom suffered through shingles early this year because I was so busy with a company merger that I forgot to get her shingles vaccine. We caught the rash with the antiviral, but there was still intense pain. Then at the end of April, she apparently contracted a UTI that turned into an Ecoli infection in her blood. We had a beautiful brunch on a river boat on Mother's Day. She had been looking forward to it and seemed to enjoy the day even though I knew she wasn't feeling well. The next day I took her to a party to see her friends and that afternoon went to work. She needed me to come home almost as soon as I got there, but I put her off, got distracted with work and ended up being gone for more than four hours. The next day she said she really didn't want me to go to work. It broke my heart - I was trying to wind down my workload so we could have a lot more free time by the end of May. Instead of seizing the moment that day, I went off to work to take care of deadlines -- gone for two hours, home for lunch, then gone for more than four hours. That night late, Mom was in atrial fibrillation and I had to call the ambulance. The Ecoli infection wasn't determined until her third day in the hospital. Everything was positive for her return home, but severe mistakes were made by staff and doctors and at the end of the fourth day, I was told her organs were shutting down. The fifth day, she seemed a bit better, and the sixth day her white blood count dropped dramatically and I was encouraged. The team doctor who never even spoke with my Mom told me I was only looking at one number and left. After a stronger antibiotic was put on her IV, Mom congested and lost consciouness. The DNR order was revoked and CPR brought her back strong. The doctor reappeared and tried to show me Mom's chart. I needed to be with Mom and was convicted to give her a chance on life support, but the doctor was indicating not to and the nurse told me I would probably have to make a "tougher" decision in a few days and that Mom couldnt' communicate with me after she was intubated. It felt like I was kicked in the knees, I swayed and turned down the life support so Mom and I could talk. She tried, but couldn't say anything. I traded a few minutes for a possible
chance. Now three months later, our own doctor who never came to the hospital, says her kidney levels were "low," but she might have had a chance. I would have been so grateful if only she had another week or a couple of months. We were just about to start going through our many photo albums and had little day trips planned when good weather came at the end of May. My work wound down just as I had planned, so I have all the time in the world for Mom and she is not here to spend it with. My heart is numb and I have lost interest in everything, including my career. I feel I betrayed Mom by not spending more time with her. She was my best friend and loved me unconditionally. I can't forgive myself for not being here more and ultimately for the wrong decision on the ventilator - I worry she may not have realized that I loved her with all my heart, but I always had and always will.