Lost My Mom
by Christina S.
(Ottawa, On. Canada)
My mother passed away this June, 2011. It was very quick and unexpected. She was only 65. A few months before her passing we found out she had (what we found out later) was cellulitis in her left foot. She was a diabetic so we tried to explain that this was something she shouldn't ignore, she needed to go see a doctor for it.
After several months of arguing about it she finally went to get help. She was put on an IV antibiotic, which I found out meant that it was extremely serious. Although I wasn't told this until after her passing.
The infection seemed to be improving after a couple of days. Then she was having difficulty breathing. I don't know if it was because of the antibiotics or not. My father brought her to the hospital the day before Father's day.
I was told that they would be admitting her but because of the tests they had to do that visiting wouldn't be allowed til the next day.
I wasn't told that my children would not be allowed to see her. Since I was a single mom, I brought my girls with me so that we all could see for ourselves that she was improving. We had been told it was nothing serious they were just trying to maintain her O2 levels. They had her on oxygen. I found out upon arriving at the hospital that she didn't in fact have asthma as we had been told. She had COPD which confused the heck out of me.
My sister came out to watch my children so that I could see my mom. The floor she was on was supposed to be for terminal patients. The nurse told me that the only reason she was put on the floor was because this was the only room available.
The nurse showed me to her room and when I looked at my mom all I felt was shock. She looked like she had aged 30 years in the week since I had seen her. It blew my mind away.
I wanted to rush to her and hug her tight but my dad gave me a look that was 'don't do anything that will upset her.' So I just went and hugged her.
She told me not to worry she'd be going home by Monday. I doubted it but said nothing. After leaving her, we went home and I tried to reassure my kids that everything was going to be ok.
That Wednesday I found out that one of her lungs had collapsed. Not because anyone in my family told me but because I read it on my younger sister's FB page. That really angered me.
I talked to my mother daily in the hospital. I was not told what was going on. My father didn't want me worrying. He told my sister's not to tell me anything, this made me even angrier.
I had enough of things being kept from me so I called the nurses station to hear everything that was going on. I was stunned. How was this possible and no one thought to tell me?
I had spent most of my life taking care of my parents, from a very young age. How could he keep me in the dark? How could she? I would take my kids every single week to see them. Even after I got hurt, even after I ended up in a wheelchair. I still took my kids at least once a week to see them and they shut me out.
The Sunday before she passed away, I called the hospital. Mom kept saying she was going home the next day. Every day was the same. She wasn't healthy enough to go. When I called that day she told me she couldn't talk she was about to go for surgery again. AGAIN! No one told me that she had gone the first time, even after I told the nurses to make sure I was notified of any changes in her condition.
I was on the list of people to contact yet they did not do that.
I called my father to find out what was going on. He told me that she had developed blood clots in her legs and because of the pneumonia they had to do a local surgery on her. Putting her 'under' would be too dangerous. (yet another thing I hadn't been informed about. )
I called back a few hours later because the nurse told me when I called them again because I hadn't been informed, that when my mom woke up that morning her right leg was blue. They had tried to put her on a blood thinner to help with the blood clots because of the pneumonia. They didn't want to do any more surgery.
The doctor had gone in to see her and the OR was booked. Until she had started complaining about stomach pains so they had to do a CT scan to find out what was going on. I would get a phone call when something was known. I made sure that they actually would call this time.
When I heard back, I was told that they had to transfer her to a different hospital because the one she was in didn't do gastric bypass surgeries. It wasn't until the next evening that she was actually transferred because they were waiting on a bed.
I couldn't understand this. Why wouldn't they just transfer her, do the surgery and then worry about having a bed for her.
Monday night they hadn't told us that she was in for the surgery. My sister called said she was on her way over to pick me up. I got a sitter and headed out to my parents house. We got there and I called the hospital. They told us she was in surgery and they would call if we were needed. (Why weren't we called before so we could talk to her?)
We got to the hospital, no one could find out where she was. We (after a long search) finally found her in the ICU recovery room. When I found a nurse she said 'your mother is out of surgery, the doctor is in with her now. She is ok. The doctor will be out in a few minutes to talk to you and let you know how things went.' All I focused on was "She is OK!"
The doctor came out 10 minutes later and said that she wasn't going to make it. He said that when they opened her stomach up it was so riddled with blood clots everything had suffocated inside of her.
I was blown away. How could this be possible? How could they have dropped the ball so much that now the only thing keeping my mother alive was a few breathing tubes? How could this happen? It wasn't supposed to be like this.
She was supposed to grow old and see her grandchildren grow up, possibly get married. I was supposed to have more time. How could they take that away from me? From my sisters? From my father? From all the grandchildren?
We had the opportunity to say good bye to her. We were told that they had given her medication to keep her comfortable but she wouldn't wake up again. I went in with my sisters and my father and stood vigil until the early hours of the morning.
They told us that when they turned off the oxygen machines that it would be a slow process as her body shut down. I told them they were wrong. She was going to be fine, she was Irish! She was a red head! There was no one more stubborn than my mom and she wouldn't leave like this.
She left me and now I don't know how to deal with it.
My father, 2 days after mom passed, went through all of her stuff and got rid of everything. I saved what I could. Most of it is in storage at the moment because I cannot bring myself to look at it yet.
My father is now living with my younger sister and her family because my dad can't be left to take care of himself. They recently moved out of the city so now it feels like I am not only losing my mom all over again, it's like I am losing my father too.
I don't know what to do anymore.