This week has been wonderful, and awful. My mom has been home since Friday and I cannot explain how much better it is to see her outside of the hospital. No more hospital meals, late night vital signs, sharing a room, visiting hours, or six am wake up calls. While a hospital is the place that sick people need to go, "healing environments" is one of the last phrases I would use to describe it's ambiance. Because of the lovely hospital experience, I have this semi constant dread of when we will have to go back, whether it is for a heart transplant or something else, it scares the crap out of me. I don't want to do it again, and I know we will have to.
It was awesome to be able to bring my mom to my house for a day. I could show her all the progress and the nursery. I could tuck her in my bed for the many naps she needs to take. It was hard to remember how sick she is when she started puking, but even she said it is better to puke at home than in the hospital, so we have that going for us.
While it is wonderful to have my mom at home, it is also scary. I'm afraid we will miss something, I'm scared that the other shoe will drop again. I'm afraid we will never be able to physically return to the mom I once had. Granted, I am so thankful to still have a mom that is alive, but it is hard to adjust to accepting the level of humanity we need to live in and acknowledge when someone is sick.
I spend my nights making people feel normal. Most everyone knows I am a labor and delivery nurse. Our job is to make the extremely uncomfortable aspects of our job as normal and comfortable for our patients as possible.
Yes friends, it is normal to spread your legs and expose the most private parts of yourself to a room full of people. I will hold your hand through it. It is normal to take a crap right in front of those same people. Or to puke your brains out. It is normal to be scared and nervous and emotional as you lose control of your body and give into what it needs to do to bring new life into the world. All night long I try to make people feel like none of this is a big deal, because while we might have learned from our culture and our previous experiences that many of these functions of our body are shameful, they aren't. We all do it, we all puke and poop. We all feel fear and anxiety, and hopefully extreme elation when that new little life takes its first breath.
But sometimes we forget. We forget how the same we really all our. We forget our humanity.
We're trying to figure out care for my mom. She doesn't need a nurse, just someone with her at all times to help to get up to get food or go to the bathroom. And I must admit, it has been hard for me to acknowledge my mom's humanity. I get scared that other people won't be able to make everything feel normal for my mom like I do, or like I hope I do. I get scared to ask for help because I don't know who is comfortable holding a puke bucket or emptying a commode. I don't know who is up for the challenge of embracing the true human needs of my mom, and the last thing I want is for her to feel shame when she needs help.
In our culture I think we pride ourselves on our strength and our ability to care for myself. I am learning that it takes significantly more strength to let other people care for us, especially when we do not have the ability to do it ourselves. Letting people in, and embracing our most basic needs takes strength, and I have been blessed to watch my mom be a strong woman. I have been blessed to be reminded of our humanity.
The cycle of life is so obvious yet so hard. At some point we will all die or be in my mom's shoes. It will happen. Our bodies will fail us. Yet so often I am able to live with this powerful denial that it won't ever happen to me. I want to celebrate the fact that my mom is here and that we get to care for her. I want to reframe my job as a privlage to be able to care for people in their most vulnerable state and during a life changing moment of their life.
So here is my big ask. We need help. We need help caring for my mom. You don't need any skills, just some compassion. We will be putting a schedule together, so if you are able to hang out with my mom for a couple hours, one time, or every other week, we would absolutely love it. We will also need help occasionally to get her to doctors appointments if you felt comfortable doing that. Please know that you might have to hold a puke bucket, wipe a tear, or empty a commode. Send me an email if this is something you are interested in, and thank you in advance. Thank you for reading and thank you for praying. Thank you for carrying us this far and for hopefully walking with us until we can get my mom a new heart. We should know by December if we are able to get in the transplant list. Until then we are going through the many tests that need to be done and trying to figure out the best way to keep my mom stable until then.
Big ask número dos. We need financial help and would like to set up a fundraiser for my mom to help her obtain a heart and live until then. This is completely foreign to us and I am open to all advice. Please email me if you have any ideas or suggestions about the best way to do this. If you are willing to help at all with your gifts or talents, I would love it. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can have something figured out, but until then, I would love any help, advice or suggestions, to walk this very unfamiliar road.
I want to make up a new word because thank you really never seems to be enough.