HOSPITAL BLUES

 

Choose your size, S-XL, and use only once.  (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

Choose your size, S-XL, and use only once. (All pictures by Marylin Warner)

On February 1st, I wrote a post—“What We Learn While We Wait”—about the things I learn when I visit my mother each month and spend much of my time just sitting with her while she naps. This is Part 2 of that lesson. Now I sit with Mom in her hospital room. This is our new journey together; there are new lessons…and decisions to make. This emergency will pass, but there will be others, and I need to be prepared.

At Mom’s apartment, I’m surrounded by pictures, books and keepsakes, all of them familiar because I chose them to bring from their house to make the move here for my parents easier and more comfortable. Here in Mom’s hospital room there are no pictures on the wall, and though I’m not unfamiliar with computers and IV lines and bags and procedures, they are unfamiliar in the context of connecting them to my mother.

I look around and choose one thing to observe, to focus on and learn about, and I choose the wall opposite me, with the small, medium, large and extra large nitrile exam gloves.

All sizes, to fit all the hands of those who help my mother, the confused 95-year-old lady who has already pulled one IV line out of her arm, and whose “rolling” veins made a new line very difficult. To take blood for the most recent test, the experienced phlebotomist finally had to take it from her foot, and I had to hold Mom’s leg still and have her count aloud with me to calm her cries while the vials filled.

This is a difficult time, so as I study the blue latex-free, single-use medical gloves, I begin to think of other gloves. White cotton gloves, some with little pearl side buttons, the kind of go-to-church-or-weddings-or funerals-white gloves ladies used to wear, back in the time when they also wore hats and high heels and hose with seams.

When the styles relaxed, my mother didn’t throw her gloves away—actually, she rarely threw anything away—but found a new use for them.  When she went out to her garden to pick fresh tomatoes, beans, zucchini, carrots and lettuce for dinner, she put on a pair of her gloves to keep grass stains off her hands. On Saturday nights, when she polished her nails for church the next day, she washed and dried her hands carefully and then applied Vaseline or—get this—Crisco, coating her fingers and hands, and then she slept wearing a clean pair of cotton gloves to protect the skin-softening concoction. She’d come out in her robe, wearing rollers in her hair and gloves on her hands, and my dad would just grin and shake his head.  Remembering that makes me miss those good old days with both of them, my dad whistling and my mom blinking her eyes at us and laughing.

Now I sit with my mother in her hospital room, and she naps as I study the wall of medical DOP/DEHP-free, powder-free, ambidextrous gloves.  I watch people with their own styles of putting on and removing and disposing the gloves, and memories of my mother’s glove-wearing styles help me connect the dots and make these days in the hospital feel more normal.  Or at least the next step in what will become the next “normal” for us.

At night Mom is safe in her caregiver’s additional care, and I go back to my mother’s assisted living and sleep alone in her apartment. Downstairs in the main room, “Art Is Ageless” voting continues for the many amazing quilts, paintings, sculptures, whittled wood knife sheathes and crocheted dresses, all created by seniors in their 70s, 80s, 90s…and one 103-year old lady.

I’m so inspired that I use the only materials I have available, a pair of blue nitrile exam gloves. I blow them up like balloons, tie the tops and arrange them on the living room floor of my mother’s apartment. I title my creation “Helping Hands,” but it’s not for any contest.  It’s just for me, a way to create something and distract myself after another day at the hospital.

"Art Is Ageless" BEST OF SHOW 2014 quilt by Berniece Buell

“Art Is Ageless” BEST OF SHOW 2014 quilt by Berniece Buell

 

My disposable creation: "Hands That Help"

My disposable creation:
“Helping Hands”

 

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84 Comments

Filed under art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, gardening, lessons about life, lessons for great-grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, Quilting projects, Things to be thankful for

84 responses to “HOSPITAL BLUES

  1. I am always struck by the poignancy of your posts, perhaps because having an aunt with Alzheimer’s and an elderly mother, both age 95, I am viewing my own life and theirs from a similar vantage point.

    These posts are treasures and I can imagine your doing more with them as a collection sometime in the future. Before your started following my blog, I published a post with the “glove” theme: http://plainandfancygirl.com/2013/08/21/mennonite-flashback-i-rings-and-gloves/

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with aging, but has a similar artifact. Well done, Merril.

    • I read your glove post, Marian, and especially enjoyed the picture of the ring your grandmother gave you. Both your mother and your aunt are the same age of my mother, so you understand the challenges and the lessons learned along the way.

  2. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Praying for you and your sweet mom, Marylin. So sorry to hear this visit is even harder than most.

  3. One thing I glean from your posts is that your mother seems to be in very good hands, and the caregivers really do care about their charges. That is a true blessing.

    • You’re so right. We have excellent caregivers, and they made a huge difference by continuing to help care for her in the hospital. When she leaves the hospital, they’ll be with her back at the apartment; I count on them keeping me filled in between my visits to Kansas.

  4. I’m sorry. What happened?

    • So many symptoms all at once, then a UTI requiring one IV antibiotic changed to a more effective one. Cultures, enzyme checks, blood tests, ultra sound, follow-ups and decisions had to be made about treatments and possible surgeries. I know what she would say to do if she could, and so the final decision was based on that. But it’s still hard, Julia, as you know so well with your hospice work.

      • Yes, I know how hard it is. And knowing how hard it is for the patient I always ask, what I would want if the situation was reversed and I was in that bed.
        My husband and I both had grandmothers named Jennie- with an ‘ie’ not a ‘y’. Both died within a week of each other, although neither of us knew it at the time. Both died of the same thing – a perforated ulcer, peritonitis and sepsis, but we didn’t know that either just then. The doctors were uncertain of the diagnosis, thought it might be a UTI and sepsis..
        I was in nursing school, my husband was in medical school. Each of us was asked by our mother what to do. I guess we both said the same thing– make her comfortable and do as little as possible.
        I don’t envy you your shoes. Nevertheless I’ll be blunt. It’s only about you in a peripheral way. It’s about her.
        I know how much you love your mother. Through you I’ve come to love her too.
        Hang in there. love, Julia

      • Julia, thank you for sharing this. Both of you, in medical training, facing these decisions with both of your grandmothers, the two Jennies with ‘ie’ and not ‘y’ (I love it). I know what my mother expressed years ago and would still want now, and with full confidence I could answer in the same way you did. And you’re so right; this is about her. Thank you for your comments along the way; yes, you do love her, too.

  5. When I didn’t see your post this morning, I thought about sending you an e-mail to check on things, but I assumed you were busy.
    My prayers are with your mother and you, Marylin. I pray that she is back in her apartment soon.
    I love your disposable creation. Between you and I, I’ve been known to slather my hands and feet with Vaseline at night and sleep with socks covering them.
    xoxo hugs

    • Thank you, Jill. I appreciate that.
      About the Vaseline under socks for our feet, I remember that, too. But Crisco on hands under gloves? Mom had read it in a magazine somewhere, and the total effect–white gloves with a robe and hair rollers
      –was so funny. We teased her that on a hot night she could stuff pieces of raw chicken in her gloves and see if the heat from her hands friend them!!
      But even now, I’ve found the best way to gently remove mascara is with olive oil.

  6. Ah dear Marylin, we wait with you and join some dots while time passes oh so slowly. Will be thinking of you, your Mom and the lovely family we have come to know through your wonderful blog. Your creation is so poignant; the circumstances that drove you to create it are familiar and you have expressed so much. Sending hugs and positive thoughts across the miles xx

  7. What a poignant post Marylin. Yes, good memories of your Mom again and better times but having to focus on something in a sterile hospital room is no fun, especially when you can’t help but sit and worry. I feel for you so much.I know things will be back on an even keel when she gets over this and goes home but it always seems to take so much longer than we’d like.
    Perhaps taking in a photo album to focus on and something you can prick your Mom’s interest with might help a bit.
    xxx I send you Massive Hugs xxx

    • At this point, David, she will go back to her apartment…until this happens again, and it will. She no longer recognizes even very large pictures in the albums, but several times she did think she had to get back to the family farm. (Her clear memories are from the distant past; she hasn’t lived on the farm in more than seven decades.) We were under a tornado watch on Thursday, and she saw the storm out her hospital window and went on and on about how we had to get back to the farm.
      Thank you for the massive hugs!

  8. At such a personal time, I thank you for sharing your story. As you say “This emergency will pass, but there will be others, and I need to be prepared.” Your caring hands and arms that you bring miles away from home and others will embrace your mother with all the love you remember.

    As I admire the second photo, I can only think what beautiful work created by loving hands, precise and subtle in the changes of color hues. I can’t help but think each trip you make is another color with subtle changes of color, but the tone never changes, filled with love. As other commenters have done, I send you and your mom Hugs. Bless you and your mother.

    • What beautiful images you created, Georgette, especially the subtle changes of color hues, which I definitely felt. Thank you for your kind thoughts, hugs and blessings for both of us.

  9. I am sorry both you and your mother are having to face an even more difficult time this week. You have such a wonderful attitude. How you handle things is inspiring to your readers, keeps us all going to face our own challenges, usually far lesser ones than yours. Hang in there…sure you will.

    • This was not the visit I was expecting to have this month, Claudia, but I should have been preparing for it to happen.
      When I left Colorado there were still threats of some cold and snow; when I arrived in southeast Kansas, the early spring signs I was hoping for were there, but so were tornado watches and long days in the hospital.
      That’s the way life is. You’ve had quite a winter yourself, so I know you understand.

  10. I just couldn’t push the like button tonight Marylin. My heart is aching for you and your mother. I’m so sorry that Mary is ill and in the hospital. It did make me smile, however, to think about you looking at the blue gloves and then creatively taking them home to make a “work of art” out of them. Please know that you are both in my thoughts and prayers. I am sending lots of love and hugs to both of you. Blessings, Robyn

    • Blowing up the blue gloves made me smile, too. Laugh out loud, actually, when I wished I had more so I could make water balloons out of some and maybe throw them out the window. (I was desperate for something ridiculous at that point.) Thank you, Robyn

  11. Janet Armstrong

    Marylin, I so enjoyed our visit. I wish it was under different circumstances but your mother is in great hands. You and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers. Your blog is such a wonderful tribute to our sweet mother. Bless you and your mother. Janet

    • Janet, you were the unexpected angel in my life this week! It’s been years–decades, actually–since we’ve seen each other and talked, yet when I saw your sweet smiling face in the hallway at the hospital, the years fell away and we were in high school again. The next two hours in the hospital cafeteria weren’t just much-needed caffeine for me, but also the joy of us catching up on each other’s lives and the shared grief for both of our mothers. I’m praying for you and Steve as you travel to Texas for the birth of your grandbaby, and special prayers for your daughter-in-law that she doesn’t face the same dangers during the surgery this time.

      Thank you for all the talking and listening, the laughs and the sighs, Janet. I only wish my mom had been aware for even a few moments, to recognize you and respond to your sweet greetings.

  12. You are such a strong lady Marilyn – and an inspiring one 🙂

  13. Nancy Saltzman

    Beautiful post that made me smile and cry at the same time. I agree with Marian that a compilation of all of your posts would touch the hearts of a lot of people — I hope you do publish them at some point!

  14. Daniela

    Art is indeed ageless … but so is love even more so! With each post, each hour your devote to your mother’s care – you confirm it!

  15. Marylin, it’s Mothering Sunday here in the UK today so you and your Mum are in my thoughts today. Hope you are managing to cope and that Mum is at least comfortable in this setback to her health; Stay Strong all your friends are here to support you Both xxx liked the gloves BTW my gloves still fascinate my Grandkids who still find it hilarious to try and put the right one on, luckily they can get two fingers into one of glove fingers…….

    When asked the inevitable question the refrain was ‘don’t you Pick your nose, cos that’s what might happen to you ……’

    • Now you have me laughing, Tom. On Facebook, the picture of your work gloves–minus one finger to fit your hand–made your gloves a true work of practical art. Framed and entered in an “Art Is Ageless” contest, you would have gotten my vote, and the votes of all your blog friends!
      Thank you for your humorous, honest, gentle reminder to put all things in perspective! Hugs and love to you, Ishbel and the grandchildren.

  16. Jane Thorne

    Wrapping you both with love in the softest hug Marylin. Creative expression has been a saving grace on so many occasions, I ‘see’ your gloves. Sending you, your Mum and all your lovely family, love and healing energy and as I craft I send you love in every stitch. Xx

  17. Oh dear Marylin, I’m so glad that I turned on my laptop this Sunday morning to quickly check up on a few emails before heading out and I was so glad to see your post (had a feeling, you know?) but so sorry to learn that your dear mom is in the hospital. How you write such a poignant, tender and beautifully written post at such a time amazes me and your art expression with the gloves brought a tear to my eye.
    Isn’t it strange how the most innocuous objects, like these blue gloves, take on a whole new meaning at such times as these? To have given you these lovely memories of your sweet mom’s younger years and her array of gloves for different occasions is such a blessing to help you focus on the good times and help alleviate today’s reality just a little…
    I do find this post so poignant for another reason: today in the UK it’s Mothering Sunday (Mother’s Day). I loved playing with my mum’s long, buttoned and elegant ‘shopping’ gloves as I used to call them as a girl, her glove drawer was like a treasure chest to me 🙂
    Sending love, prayers and big hugs to you my friend and holding you close in my heart… 🙂 x

    • Sherri, you and Tom both mention that in the UK today is Mothering Sunday, which for us in America will be Mother’s Day on May 11. We have different dates, but our hearts share love and memories of our mothers. And–again, as you and Tom also prove–creative appreciation for gloves! There’s something very healing and hopeful about this connection we share even across the ocean.
      Thank you for the love, prayers and hugs, Sherri…and the stories you share that remind me that on heart-deep levels we are truly connected.

  18. Pam

    I remember our conversation last week and I am thinking of you, Marylin. I love your creativity in the eye of your storm and am hoping your mom is doing better.

    • I thought about that, Pam, how after your mother’s 100th birthday she had such problems that for awhile Hospice got involved. But then she rallied. Who knows or can predict how long any one of us has left?
      There’s just something about IV lines with bags of fluids and meds, and the atmosphere of a hospital room that moves everything into present tense, seeming immediate and too real. But if all goes well with the most recent blood tests, she’ll go back to the familiar rooms of her apartment and her attentive caregivers, and she’ll be happier and more content there, I think.
      Those blue gloves distracted me for awhile, and we all need occasional distractions, right?

  19. thinking of you at this time of change for you.

  20. Marylin, your whole blog, but also every single post shows you love your mother, her life, and your shared memories.
    I wish you all the best and your mother too. Hospital visits are difficult under all circumstances, especially when you feel your mother is vulnerable. Your mother is vulnerable, but she is in good hands and she has a lovely and deeply caring daughter.

    • Paula, I think of your ‘mindful drawing’–the plan and sequences and attention to minute detail–and compare it with my mindless blowing up of blue rubber gloves to create my own little picture on the carpet. We do what we can to focus on other things, especially when the people we love are vulnerable and the hours are filled with waiting. Thank you for your comments.

  21. Marylin, this conjures such memories of my husband’s parents. My own parents managed to escape the hospital stays. Keeping the loving memories alive in the stress and turmoil of illness is one of the the great challenges and the great joys, too. Blessings on you.

    • I remind myself that my parents did very well and were healthy and active until my dad was 89, and now, when my mother is 95. Those earlier, healthy images are sustaining and encouraging; this new stage is the next step of my mother’s journey, and it’s been quite an adventure.

  22. Oh, Marylin, you’ve captured this “waiting” and “wondering” so well, by not focusing on the feelings but on the objects surrounding the feelings.

    Life is so strange.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time in hospitals, waiting. I’ve never, ever gotten used to it, although I do appreciate medical technology. But it certainly isn’t comfortable for those of us who wait. Do take care of yourself.

    • Tracy, remember the ginger lily scented oils at the shop in Rhode Island you wrote about so well that I ordered some? I had a small vial with me and wanted to share it with Mom because anything ginger has always been a favorite of hers.
      Her hand and wrist were covered with layers of wrap so she couldn’t pull out the IV line again. So I put just a dab of oil on my own hand, then rubbed it at the edge of her pillow case when the caregiver and I readjusted the pillow so she’d be more comfortable.
      At first she didn’t notice–it was such a faint scent on the edge–but later she turned to it and sniffed and sniffed. It was nothing spectacular, just a touching moment, and at times like this the little things mean a lot.

      • That’s beautiful — it’s the less-than-spectacular moments that often mean the most (the ones that we might overlook, if we’re in a hurry).

        The scent-memory, as I understand it, is the deepest/earliest and longest-lasting sensory memory. I feel blessed to be linked to the pleasure that aroma gave to your mother.

        I’m thinking of, and praying for both of you.

      • The faint scent of ginger lily raised my spirits, too, Tracy. I kept a dab of oil on both of my wrists so maybe Mom would recognize the hands that pulled up her blankets or smoothed back her hair. It’s the little things…

      • I’m going to share this story with Charna next time I see her–she’ll love it. It’s the kind of thing that makes her passionate about what she’s doing.

  23. Your loving care is so strong Marylin. Your compassion and pragmatism are admirable. The hardest question I was ever asked was whether I wanted the hospital to attempt to resuscitate my mother if the worst happened. My brother wouldn’t opine. I knew what my mother wished. That made it easier. Eventually she slipped into a coma and passed away 2 days later. We all have to face it but finding a coping mechanism isn’t easy. You are a wonderful daughter, repaying your mother’s love so richly.

    • Thank you, Andrew. Those are the hard questions; the answers are basic and easy to make because we know what is best and is necessary, but the heart still aches.
      I walked from one wing of the hospital to another, appreciating for the first time all of Gordon Parks’ framed art and photographs, especially his powerful black and white photographs of Kansas terrain and families during the years when there were intense struggles for integration and equality. Gordon Parks grew up in Fort Scott and faced some difficult times, but in the end his family donated copies of many of his photographs when the new hospital was built.
      You and he both capture the life truths of others with your cameras and open windows of awareness for us.

  24. Diana Stevan

    Dear Marylin, I am so sorry about your current situation with your mother. So so stressful, it brings back memories of my time in hospital with my mother. Yes, gloves. I wore my share of them as well as mom picked up an infection while she was there. I hope and pray that your mother is comfortable and that you can sleep well at nights. Love your blue gloves. I hope some of the lovely memories of your mom and dad in better days give you some solace. Hugs.

    • I have so many memories of those better days, Diana, of times Mom cut fresh flowers and we took them to friends in the hospital or in nursing homes, and memories of Dad going to visit a friend after surgery and just sitting quietly nearby, waiting. With your experiences when your mother was in the hospital, you know the feeling of wearing gloves to protect her, the necessity of warding off infection, the vision of the bright colors moving about her, meeting her needs and taking care of her. The gloves are the brightest spot of vivid color in the room.

  25. Sending warm thoughts to you and your mother Marylin. I’m glad that even during these difficult times you can draw on wonderful memories and also find the space to laugh.

    • Thank you, Andrea. I was tempted–just for a moment–to make water balloons out of the gloves and then toss them in the parking lot or out a window. Not really, but just the thought of it did make me laugh.

  26. Glee Kracl

    Marylin, how I wish I could give you a hug right now. It is hard to know what to thnk, feel or do when dealing with “tough times”. Your ablility to keep your sense of humor just amazes me and your writing talent in beyond my comprehension. Just know I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Thank you so much, Glee, and despite the distance I do feel the hug. I know you can relate to all this after going through it with your parents. We’re now becoming the ‘seniors’ in our families, and our grandchildren look at us the way we looked at Grandma!!! The cousins are stepping up to the plate!

  27. Love the “Helping Hands” art… a very creative distraction.
    The storm that blew through Fort Scott passed through Kansas City too. Thankfully, we live north of I-70. But, I guess the storm was terrible south of I-70… quarter-sized hail in Lee’s Summit and Raytown.
    I’m so sorry about your wonderful mom Marylin. I hope that her health improves very soon. She is very blessed to have such a loving daughter and such excellent caregivers.

    • Thank you, Theresa. It looks like she goes ‘home’ to her assisted living tomorrow, but it will just be a matter of time until these problems repeat and increase. We’ll be taking it one day at a time.

  28. Marilyn, I can’t find your personal email address right now so will do this way. I put you on my blog chain today, but know you are very busy. If you can’t participate right now, don’t worry. Just hoped to hear your comments.

  29. What you write is poignant and reflective.

    What is it really that makes us “learn” from situations and circumstances we see ourselves in? Could this be our way to make sense of something unfamiliar and see how that fits in into our existing perspective structure?

    Shakti

    • That’s a good question, Shakti, and I think the answers vary from day to day in these situations as we try to deal with everything. We just do our best to figure things out as we go along, I think.

  30. Marylin, love how you noticed the latex gloves while your mom slept, and then you lead into wonderful story about your mom, and then you created a masterpiece with those blue gloves. Thanks for making me grin. Love the quilt too! 🙂

    • Up close the quilt was amazing, Tracy. Each colored square is a separate piece, and I was amazed that the senior lady who did the quilting had such good eyesight and patience. It’s a beautiful quilt.
      The blue gloves gave me a diversion and a new perspective…and something ‘creative’ to do when I was alone back at Mom’s apartment that night.

  31. Marilyn, your posts always touch me in a beautiful way. The memories you share about your mom are very precious. Thanks for all the warm and thoughtful reflections. I pray that your mom’s hospital stay will be shorter than expected and that she can go back to the comfort of her own bed. Sending both of you lots of hugs!

  32. Thank you, Elaine. She will be going back to the comfort of her own bed tomorrow. It’s probably a temporary comfort at this stage, but no one knows how long anything will last, so we’ll enjoy it while we can. I’m still laughing at your pictures of Manhattan–the NY Cowboy and the guitarist–and laughing feels wonderful!

  33. I love how you moved from the sterile blue nitrile gloves to a more comforting remembrance connected to your Mom and Dad – the white linen gloves with pearl buttons. You and your Mom are in my heart. She is in good hands … with you and with her caretakers. Blessings. Judy

    • Thank you, Judy.
      The gloves were a necessary distraction from the reality of the IV lines and Mom’s confusion. I was grateful that focusing on those boxes of gloves led me to the happy memories of Mom wearing fancy old white gloves–over Vaseline or Crisco–to make her hands soft.
      It’s amazing how the gifts of distraction come when we need them most.

  34. I’m heading out in a couple of weeks to Florida to surprise my father for his 90th birthday. 90! It’s hard to wrap my head around. My mother is 88. When they know we’re coming, they insist on my husband and I having their room (instead of using the perfectly fine – they think it’s flimsy – pull out sofa bed) and they go sleep at an aunt’s house in the neighborhood. Such are parents. He’s not been very sentimental or demonstrative over the years and such advanced age has resulted in an inclination toward both. It’s been such an educational experience for me to learn more about who he really is. I am blessed by the longevity and yet feel deprived of interaction with them because of the geographical distance – each ridiculously short visit is precious. As I head toward ‘home,’ I’ll have pictures of gloves with pearls down the side in my head and be thinking of your precious time with your mom, too. Prayers for you both as well as your helping hands, Marylin.

    • Thank you, Shel. And prayers for many wonderful visits with both of your parents.
      My father was just the opposite. Loving, demonstrative, kind throughout his life and all my memories of him…until Alzheimer’s. Then he became who he really was NOT, an angry, raging stranger. I did not cry at his funeral because he had died in bits and pieces over the years.
      However, like the memories of the pearl-button gloves, sweet memories of him interacting with our family, helping others, just being his good and good-natured self–these memories creep up on me and I remember him as he truly was. With each of these memories I cry and grieve over losing him.
      Visit your parents as often as you possibly can, Shel, even for very short visits. You’ll never regret it, no matter what else you have to trade to do it.

      A very Happy 90th Birthday to your father. Help him blow out his candles and let your heart make a wish for the two of you, father and daughter, on his special day that is also your special day.

  35. Jim

    Dear Marylin, those days at the hospital took a toll on you. I saw it when you returned home. You were exhausted emotionally and physically. You even had sore arms from helping the caregiver lift and stabilize your mom during those “nineteen” trips to the restroom while she was recovering. All you wanted to do when you arrived home was crawl under the covers and sleep. Then when you awoke, you created this week’s blog posting. And you felt much better.

    I am grateful for this blog and all your worldwide friends who visit it. I saw firsthand how the creation of this week’s posting was important ‘therapy’ for you. I especially enjoyed the “Helping Hands” photo, so original and so expressive!

    • Thank you, Jim, for behind-the-scene glimpse at what goes into the living, and, thus, the writing of this blog. Many are praying for your friend, Marylin. A year and a half ago, I’d never even read a blog. Now, through this medium, I feel very connected with people traveling parallel paths all over the country.

      • It’s surprising how many of us do have parallel paths, Shel, but it’s affirming, too. All over the country we’re experiencing similar challenges–with me, it’s my mom’s dementia and now other health issues; but others are struggling to take care of children, adult children, spouses, siblings– and the shared information, suggestions, and support is very affirming.
        Blogging forges deeper connections than I ever imagined.

    • Hi, Jim. You don’t have to write a comment, but I always appreciate your reaction to my posts and the others’ comments and reactions. I don’t know what I would have done without talking to you each night on the phone, and texting during the day, too. Now I better understand what you went through with your mother during the final months. The sore shoulders and arms will heal faster than the heavy heart, but you’ve helped assure me that eventually even that will heal. Thanks, honey.

  36. Prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.
    I love the helping hands photo.

    • Thank you, L. Marie.
      If you ever need a distraction during a hard time in the hospital, try blowing up medical gloves. Even if it cheers you up for only a few minutes, it’s still a mood lifter! (And the deep breathing is very good for you, too.)

  37. Amanda Vanderford (Patterson)

    I’m a little late on reading this blog but it made me smile! The love you have for your mother is astonishing! So glad you gave me this website! I love reading your blogs about what a great person your mother is and also love hearing that she is in good hands.

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