» Mom ~ 1927-2015

Posted September 18, 2015 by / 0 comments

purple blackberry photos 057


This post will be a complete outpouring of emotions and praise for one of the most important people in my life who just recently was taken back to Heaven.  We borrowed her for 88 wonderful years and we had to give her back.  Man… that sucked!  One of the hardest days (couple of weeks actually) of my life.

Mom       Hat and shillelagh (colour)

Mom

 

 

This is my Mom!  She was born in Limavady, Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1927. She actually moved to Canada when she was a baby and I personally am very glad she did.

Mouse playing in shamrocks


I know my opinion is kind of biased since she was my Mom and best friend, but I honestly have never heard a bad word in my life about her.  She was loved and adored by all.  People who haven’t seen her since they were kids commented on memories that they had of her growing up.

I have many, many wonderful memories of Mom but one in particular will be her famous Strawberry Shortcake that she made every year on her birthday on July 2nd.  When Dad was still living she had it again on his birthday, which was July 16th.  For the past twenty-two years it’s just been the one.

You may ask, “What makes her Strawberry Shortcake so special?”  Well, the cake part of it is homemade.  It’s not biscuits, nor those store bought little spongy cakes.  This is a… well… short cake. It’s a sweet cake but only rises about one inch in height. Throw some mashed strawberries on that and real whipped cream and you’re in Heaven.  Oh… and Mom had a knack for adding more sugar to things than actually called for, which is why when people made her recipes it never tasted quite the same. I figured that out one afternoon when I was helping her make something and I passed her a cup of sugar and then saw her add a bit more. I’m like, “What are you doing?” She chuckled and said, “Oh I always throw a bit more in than called for.”

Talking about Mom’s recipes reminds me of something else worth mentioning. A number of years ago I was in a little shop and purchased the most amazing little thing. It was a book made entirely of homemade paper. Even the hard back cover was homemade.  It was a gorgeous book. I originally bought it as a journal but then thought I would do something special with it. After awhile it came to me what I wanted. I gave it to Mom and asked her to write, in her own handwriting, all of her recipes down in this book. Or at least as many as she could fit in the book and especially the recipes that were my most favourites growing up.  It took her a long time but I eventually got the book back from her and now it means more to me than it ever did before. It’s quite a treasure.

Anyway, I could go on forever talking about my Mom and everything that she meant to me. She was a wonderful person, a wonderful friend and most importantly a wonderful Mom. I will miss her dearly.

Spending thousands of dollars on education to become a doctor does NOT necessarily make you a GOOD one or give you a bedside manner of more than a tick!

The second part of my post, if you haven’t already guessed, is a bit of a rant actually. My Mom was 88 years old, but she would still be with us right now if it weren’t for the serious lack of proper care at our local hospital. Honestly, I don’t know how people get their license to practice medicine these days. Some of the most atrocious people that I’ve ever encountered in my life are actually paid to have our lives in their hands… and we’re supposed to trust them just because they’ve gone to school to be a doctor.

  • Mom was taken into out patients (aka emergency) on a Saturday afternoon with chest pains and not being able to breathe. She was sent home later that same night with a pat on the back telling her that she pulled a muscle in her chest from coughing. She didn’t have a cold. They never had her on a heart monitor, they didn’t take blood work, they didn’t take any other bodily fluid samples and after laying in the emergency room for 8 hours was sent home with basically no one looking at her or examining her.
  • Two days later she was taken back to out patients and was seen by a different doctor this time and at least this doctor determined that her heart was a little weak because she was getting older. She didn’t do anything for her as far as trying to make her better.  No!  She looked at her and said I’m going to take you off of one of your heart medications that you’ve been on for twenty some odd years because it’s a terrible medicine and no one should be on it. She knew nothing of Mom’s history with an irregular heartbeat, which is why she was on this drug in the first place… but yet she decided in her infinite wisdom to take her off the drug without further investigation. When you put your life in the hands of someone you’re supposed to trust, you think you’re doing the right thing. Right?  WRONG!
  • Three days later… Mom was taken back to out patients for the third time in the same week. She was in full on A-fib. The same female doctor looked at me and said, “Well, I expected you to be back. I just didn’t think it would be this soon!” I looked right back at her and said, “What do you mean you expected her back?” Her response was because she knew that she was going to go into A-fib after taking her off the medication. I glared at her and said, “If you knew she would be back because you knew for a fact that she was going to go into A-fib… why the hell did you send her home three days ago?”

Moving on

That same day after going to out patients she was admitted because they needed to monitor her heart a lot more closely now that they were going to try some other medications to get her back on track. Well, she couldn’t recover from the A-fib and her lungs and heart eventually were surrounded by fluid making it so much work to breathe and keep her heart pumping.

After being transferred to three different doctors and finally one particularly awful narcissistic creature for a human being, let alone doctor, that I’ve ever had the misfortune of laying eyes on, Mom finally told us that she was tired and she wanted no more treatments. She didn’t want to be poked and prodded any longer. We relayed this message to this narcissist who unbelievably gave us a really hard time and treated us like we were asking him to kill our mother. Like we weren’t under enough pressure. We had to fight with him and provide a Living Will to carry out Mom’s wishes because she was too weak to do so herself.

Seriously, he looked at us and said, “You are making a mistake! I can continue to give her treatment and she actually may make a full recovery from this.  It’s possible! It is my opinion that she is nowhere near ready for Palliative Care!” Our shock at his statement was completely valid considering not 24 hours before that he told us that things didn’t look very well for her at all and she very likely was going to die. He had a couple of things that he wanted to try for her, but he didn’t hold out too much hope. This is just two conversations with this asshole within a 24 hour period. There were many more that I’m not getting into and they were all horrible. He completely flipped from one extreme to the other leaving us completely reeling not having any idea what was happening with our mother.

  • There’s nothing we can do for her.

  • She’s coming along quite well, things are looking good.

  • She needs surgery or she’ll die.

  • She could make a full recovery.

In addition to that… we later found out that this same asshole had been giving her a drug that she was allergic to for three full 24 hour days. She was wearing a fat red armband for it as well as the computer screen that flashed a big red banner across it when her drugs were brought up on it. So, the doctor ordered it, but the nurses had missed it too. This drug is what caused a fight between him and myself one day because I said she’s got to get off this drug because she’s having terrible nightmares and is not settled during the night. I didn’t know at the time that what was listed on her armband was the same drug but a different name. They, of course, did know this and still gave it to her. He actually yelled at me and stomped away like a two year old when I said that the drug didn’t seem to be working.

Again, I could go on forever if I were to list each single incident with this specific doctor during the two weeks that we were there. He was a horrible, HORRIBLE man. He is horrific to all of the nurses as well apparently. We have every intention of filing a report on this doctor as well as the doctor from emergency. We have no plans to sue and we would never get anywhere with that anyway. They all cover their asses so well that we do not have enough money to be able to fight people like that, plus they would all say that she was 88 years old and died because her heart gave out. It’s sad that they’re going to get away without any repercussions for their actions toward patients or lack of… and behaviour toward family members.

Palliative Care Unit

In complete contrast from the above experience, I simply cannot say enough about this place and the care that Mom received while there.  After we were finally able to get the Palliative Care unit to come up and assess Mom, we met with a lovely doctor and nurse from that unit and in less than 15 minutes of reviewing her file and sitting with my sister and I at Mom’s bedside, was told that Mom was most definitely ready for Palliative Care. We were moved to this unit less than an hour later on August 26th and Mom had the best care until she passed away on September 1st.

It truly takes a special person to be able to work in this unit. You are spending your time doing nothing but making sure the patient is comfortable knowing that they aren’t making it out of that unit. It has to be gut wrenching on anyone.

I know that I spent two solid weeks in the hospital and after getting to the palliative unit the treatment that we received as “family members” was unbelievable. A complete 180 degrees from the other floor. I realize that they don’t have time to coddle family members and we would never expect that, but a kind word and tone to your voice, rather than complete ignorance and actually not speaking, goes a long way in my books. The nurses and staff AND the doctors were amazing people. Even the volunteers for that floor were fabulous. It truly is nothing like any other floor. They all deserve a special place in Heaven.

How much does it matter now?

So, my rant is done… well, halted at best. {Seriously this is a huge post already and you guys have no idea how much I left out.} The thing is, now I’m left wondering really what difference does it make now? My Mom is gone and I’ll never see her again. No amount of bitching and going over the story again and again will bring her back. Analyzing things to death will not bring her back and it’s not even therapy for us. It only leads to more anger and no peace.

I’m angry… so fucking angry… that she had to struggle so much for the final two weeks of her life but I’m grateful that she was very comfortable for the final five days. I’m grateful that I was there with my sister holding her while she took her last breath knowing that she was not alone. That was one of her worries that she would be alone when she died. She wasn’t. We mentioned it over and over to her while she slept or was sort of in a coma I guess. The nurses said that she could sometimes hear us if we kept talking to her. So that’s what we did. We kept talking in the room around her. We kept talking about past memories and stories. We kept giving her a hug and kiss goodnight and we’d talk to her all day long off and on. And we kept saying “We’re right here, Mom. You will NEVER be left alone.” Once she woke up a bit when we said that and mentioned her brother, Bill. She said, “Bill was alone.” Sadly that’s true, he was alone when he passed. She always remembered that and didn’t want it to happen to her. I’d like to think that she knew we were there until the very end.

candle

Again, repeating some of the words from my nephew’s eulogy for Mom… we were blessed to be allowed to borrow her from Heaven for 88 wonderful years and now we must give her back because God has plans for her. She will never be forgotten and she will be sorely missed by each and every one of us. There is a huge gaping hole in my heart and in my soul. I’m trying desperately not to fill that hole with anger and hatred for the people responsible. I know she would not want that.

I haven’t actually cried yet. Sure, a tear here and there during the eulogy from my nephew who could barely get his words out, but not the type of grieving that you do when you lose a parent. I hope that doesn’t make me look like a monster. I loved Mom very much and we had a great relationship. I’m not sure if it’s all the anger stopping me from grieving or if I’m at peace because I know that her suffering is over. She struggled for many years with unbearable pain from several different types of arthritis, which eventually put her in a wheelchair. She lost a lot of her spirit after that and it was sad to see her struggle. I have a feeling that one of these days when I least expect it something will trigger a memory and I’ll be inconsolable. I hope so because at least that will re-establish my faith that I’m actually human.

I do have one more unexpected treasure. When I came back to work I was going through all of my voicemails and there is one from July 21st that never got deleted and it was from Mom. I was able to get it transferred to my cell phone so now I will always have her voice to listen to, telling me one last time that she loves me.

I love you, Mom!

Paw prings

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