It's been a month since I checked my mom out of the rehabilitation nursing home.
On the day she left, she was undernourished at 109 pounds, ( at 5'7"), had been diagnosed with pneumonia three days before and her spirit was so broken she nearly left this earth. With the efforts of my family, the home health care team and her strong Irish grit will to live and be her own person again, I am pleased to report, that after one month, the Betty has recuperated, and is now onto recovering her life.
The first order of business was live like a cat; eat, sleep. Eat, sleep. Be happy. Eat. Sleep. Her stomach was shrunk to the point where she could barely eat a quarter of a sandwich. She was so weak, that going from the bedroom to the bath room was a monumental task. The antibiotics she was taking for the pneumonia she contracted in the rehabilitation center were making her irritable and more anxious, among other things. Slowly, with the dedication of the aides and infinite patience on their part, we worked 24/7 to help her recover from pneumonia, maintain muscle tone to walk, and gain weight through a slow and gradual increase in home cooked nutritious foods. I stayed with her for three out of four weeks, with Team Betty, leaving for one to come back refreshed and able to look at things with perspective and I realized a miracle had happened right here; we saved her life.
During one of the many, many hours I sat at her bedside during the first part of the summer she spoke of longings for things we used to do together; one of them was "get a dog" at the park outside the public library in my hometown. 'Get well so we can go to the park' I would say to myself as I held her hand and sent her positive healing energy through her fitful haze of overmedication, lack of nutrition and bone tired weariness.
So today- after an appointment, Mom decided she wanted a hot dog from the vendor who sells them at a stand in the public library's tree lined park in my home town. We found her, parked in the shade, and I brought two dogs with yellow mustard and the last root beer to the car. We shared the root beer with two straws, enjoyed the dogs and had chips I had packed in a plastic bag. It was the best lunch I had had all summer, and have been on a cloud all day.
It's a little thing in the scope of a 24 hour day but it's indicative of the kind of progress she is now making. Each day she's a little stronger, a little more strong willed, a little quicker step, a little faster on the quick response, and sometimes, a lot more tired; but a good tired; the one that comes from a day well lived.
To me, that's the miracle.