Sunday, December 16, 2007

A lesson in perspective

Friday afternoon, I was gearing up for a busy weekend. I had been having some minor health issues and had gotten behind on Christmas shopping and other holiday stuff. I finally went to the doctor Friday morning and was looking forward to feeling better and catching up on some things.

Around 6:30, Mom called and asked if I could come over and help her. She said her hand and lips were numb and she couldn't think straight. Her speech was a little slurred. She thought she was having a migraine. I grabbed some Excedrin Migraine and went over there.

After nearly an hour, we finally convinced her to go to the ER. They did a CAT scan which showed some abnormalities. The ER doctor said it appeared she'd had a minor stroke. Those are words that completely stop you in your tracks.

I don't know much about strokes, but I know they can be debilitating and cause permanent damage. How much damage had been done? Was she more likely to have another one? They transferred her to another hospital where a neurosurgeon could look at her. The next thirty-six hours were tense and anxious, worrying and wondering.

I think Mom probably got to her room around 11:00 Friday night. It filled my heart to see three of her sisters, one brother, two sisters-in-law, and one niece show up at the hospital at that hour. One aunt even spent the night at the hospital Friday night.

She spent Friday night and Saturday night in the hospital, undergoing a battery of tests. They released her this morning. The neurosurgeon said he thought her numbness and other symptoms were caused by scar tissue from a previous stroke. And she has to make an appointment with him to see if he can determine why these episodes are occurring and how to prevent them.

My thoughts are many and scattered. I'm not sure I'm making much sense. It was strange to be there without Dad. I mean, he visited for a few minutes on Saturday. But it was weird to realize for the first time the responsibilities that had been transferred to my sister and me.

On trips back and forth to the hospital this weekend,I kept passing places that reminded me of my childhood. I passed the preschool I attended. It closed a few months ago, but the building and sign are still there, along with some playground equipment. I remembered crying when Mom would drop me off. And thirty years seemed to have disappeared like a wisp of smoke.

For a time when I was very young, Mom and Dad cleaned the social security offices at night and cleaned up the parking lot of a shopping center on the weekend to make extra money. They would bring me along. I passed the shopping center on the way to the hospital this weekend. I thought about Mom and Dad when they were younger, trying to make ends meet. Oh, to be five again.

It just seemed things like that kept popping up and stirring memories of long ago. And I didn't mind at all. I was thankful to be reminded of things I hadn't thought about in years.

Friday afternoon, I was stressing about shopping and errands and Christmas and such. But sometimes life has its own plans. Tonight, I'm spending the night at Mom's, having been reminded of the things that are really important. All that other stuff... is just stuff.


  1. Sorry you're going through this now...

    I lost my mom in 1999, and my father has been in a nursing home since August, not doing too well, either. The worst feeling in the world is when you realize that your parents are fragile and that they won't last forever. Hope your mom recovers. Migraines alone are a risk factor for stroke, depending on what else is going on with her... if she's got good doctors, they'll sort it out.

    Sounds like you caught things early, before she has a lot of deficits, so she should do well. But none of us like to be reminded of how tenuous our existence--or our parents existence--really is. Hang in there, Bone. You'll be in my prayers.

  2. So glad she was discharged

    Your Mom might have once cleaned Social Security offices but she's too young to collect regular SSA. Loved that story :)

    Think she has relative youth, it being minor, and most of all you on her side

    Think your mother has a lot of living to do, and that this was a warning for not just your Mom but for you--that diet you described so uh eloquently a few weeks back.

    Glad you stayed at your Mom's as I think you needed each other, but I want you to remember that she's not elderly--that all of us are fragile at one time or another

    You can't let your Mom give in to fear. Fear can be paralyzing and contagious

    If I sound cavalier I don't mean to be. My dad died of a massive stroke in 91. Technology wasn't advanced then to have helped him

    Now they can detect "small strokes" and do things about it

    They can even do things for more major ones

    Be glad Bone, be very glad that they were able to help her--and that your Mom helped herself by going to the hospital

  3. I will keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers.

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  5. *HUGS*

    Blogger doesn't give me a size option on comments, so just know those are as big of hugs as I can give.

    It probably goes without saying that you and your family are definitely in my thoughts and prayers, but I figure it can't hurt to remind you there are lots of people who care.

    All that other stuff... is just stuff.

    Well said... I have a feeling you'll get an A on this lesson.

  6. ((((Bone))))

    I hope your mother recovers and you find the strength you need.



  7. i am thinking of your mom and your family. those we love ARE what is important. i'm so sorry she (all of you) have to go through this. i hope everything is ok with her!

  8. the holidays are especially emotional times to suffer thru something like this... i hope they can get mom on something to prevent any further strokes and you will have a long happy future together as a family.....

  9. My mother had a stroke back in 92. I was in college at the time and wanted to come home immediately but my father insisted I finish the semester. That was not a fun semester. Luckily, my mother recovered (mostly) and is alive and well.

  10. I'm glad your mom was able to be discharged. Hopefully the doctor figures out what is wrong and gets her on the right treatment.

    Stroke is one of those things that, to me, has the obvious symptoms but people just poo-poo them away to tiredness, headache, not having eaten, etc. The minor strokes though can be hard to see. Good for you for convincing her to go to the hospital quickly. It probably saved her life. Speed to treatment is THE ONE thing you can do to lessen the effects of the stroke. They have medications now that, for more severe strokes, if given within a small window, can lessen or completely eliminate the effects of a stroke. My grandmother ended up dying of a stroke because my grandfather and uncle didn't recognize the symptoms.

    Just this weekend, my family was talking about how life just seems to fly by once you get to a certain age. These situations can be little reminders that we have to stop and appreciate all that we have now, because too quickly it will be gone.

    Hugs to you Bone. And best wishes to get well to Momma Bone.

  11. So sorry to hear about your mom's stroke, Bone. Glad to hear she is recovering well...hope she is much better now and the doc. has been able to pinpoint the reasons for these strokes...she will be in my thoughts. Parents take care of our boo-boos when we are little, so as adults we take care of them...and so glad to see you are there for her every step of the way, good luck and stay strong. You will get through this, take care, UL

  12. Hugs- I tried to send a and your mom were in my thoughts all weekend-
    and you continue to be~
    "stuff is just stuff"...
    profoundly said~

  13. I understand you. My grandma passed away a couple weeks ago. Everytime I passed something in Ark it reminded me of something.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I hope she recovers quickly. She is lucky to have such a caring family.

  14. I'll be adding your mom to my prayers, I sure hope they get her all figured out right. Hugs

    and no a rickshaw in the snow wouldn't be very efficient. ;)

  15. Oh wow what a scare. It is great that your family all lives relatively close and could be there for her. I wish you all the best and hope that doctor's can pinpoint what might have caused it so to prevent future ones. Is she doing ok now? I will be thinking of you and your family.

  16. A big hug to you and your mom. How scary it must have been to you. I am glad she went to the hospital.

    I lost my dad in 1990, and lately I am preoccupied by my 68 year-old mom's mortality. I can't even begin to imagine what my world would be without her.

  17. Your post makes me want to hop on a plane and fly to Florida tonight so I can play a game of cards with my mom! I love the love in your words!

  18. Bone, I am so sorry to hear this news. I hope your mom recovers and is feeling like herself soon.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. So sorry to hear of the stresses and hope your mom recovers fully and quickly! Truly, other stuff is just stuff but it always takes a scare to remind us! Best wishes, Bone!

  20. gosh. I am not a big hugger, but even I would hug you right now!

    its a whopper isnt it... when you arent really the child anymore...but the caregiver. Its that deer in the headlights kind of feeling... like WAIT... I AM THE KID!!!

    I am so glad your Mom called you and didnt let it go. My Aunt let it go and lost so much speach and mobility because of timing! She is really lucky to have you!

    It is wonderful that her relatives came to visit and even that your Dad did. I bet it meant the world to her.

    Back to you though for a moment though... take care of your 'minor health issues' and be good to yourself through this time. It can suck the life out of you!

    My thoughts are with you big guy!

  21. I am sorry to hear about your mom, Bone. I know exactly what you are going through. My mammaw had a stroke in '98 and she died a month and half later. Hers wasn't caught early though like your mom's. I think if your mom can get proper medication she'll be fine. If you need to talk give me holler at No one should have to endure the holidays without someone to talk to. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. I went through the same exact thing back in October. Mom is fine now, and even though I'm used to her various health issues, the word stroke scared the shit out of me. I know what you're going through. Hang in there.

    If you ever want to chat, drop me a note.

  23. I'll make du'a (prayers) for you and your mother. Meanwhile, I hope she gets to feeling better and you guys can have some happy holidays.

  24. Sorry to hear about your mom, Bone. I hope she has a speedy recovery and your family can enjoy the holidays together, free of stress, worry and illness.

  25. Bone, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. My own heart seized up when I was reading this. I think a large part of me would die if anything happened to my mother.

    Take care of her and God bless.


  26. Bone, your Mom is in my the blink of an eye, the commercialism of Christmas becomes very unimportant, doesn't it? Your blog post was so is obvious your Mom has very loving children who are surrounding her with love and support. Thinking of you...

  27. Bone--came by to pick up your 3-ww and just read this.. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I recently posted about my mom and her illness--when I was back in NC last month, why does time have to fly by so fast?

  28. Bone--came by to pick up your 3-ww and just read this.. I'm sorry to hear about your mom, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I recently posted about my mom and her illness--when I was back in NC last month, why does time have to fly by so fast?

  29. Bone -- Hugs and prayers are sent. And here, smack, is all my extra energy for you, so you can function with your usual "Boneness"- and make your mom smile.

  30. I too came for 3WW and am reading this!

    See the pluses. You got to take her to hospital before more damage could have been caused.

    I entirely agree. When something like this happens other things cease to matter. I should know. The waiting...and all..

    My prayers for your mother, you and your sister.


  31. What comes through in all the trials your family is facing is a lot of love. Her siblings came to her in the hospital, you rushed to her side, your memories of how they protected you as a child. It's really touching to hear the gratitude in your words.

    I hope she's better soon, with no major setbacks.

  32. My boss had a stroke after I'd been with the company for only a few months. He just retired - over a year and a half later. He's okay and has a second chance to appreciate life. It really helped me put 'stuff' in perspective as well. Glad your mom is doing better. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  33. This post reminded me so much of the time I had to undergo the same thing when my mom had a stroke eight years ago.

    My prayers are with you and your family. I hope and pray your mom gets better.

  34. I wish the best for you and your family and I hope your mom recovers quickly.

    *hugs* and *kisses*

  35. all that stuff, is just stuff...ABSOLUTELY!

    Take care of you, spend time with your mom, and prayers for all of you.

  36. I'm very sorry about what's happened to your mother and your family.
    I am thankful that she was fine, and seems to have suffered no long term damage.

    Not that anyone welcomes these types of things, but they always do help to put things in perspective. I felt the same way when I lost my grandfather a month ago.

    My heart is with you, friend.