October seems to be a tough month for my family. Last October we were stationed at the hospital with my dad battling pancreatic cancer followed by hospice at home and then his funeral. This October I am staying with my mom after a severe vaccine reaction 13 days ago.
It was a beautiful October day on Tuesday the 12th. Mom and I went to her internist for her yearly visit and he remarked that she was in such good condition and was pleased she was still living independently. She decided that since we were at UT Southwestern that she would get her vaccine boosters and check that off her to-do list. We finished the vaccines and enjoyed Starbucks on the way home.
At approximately 7pm my mom texted me asking if my boosters make me weak and dizzy. I responded that I was just a little sore but nothing else. She said she was tired and would probably go to bed earlier than normal to rest.
The next morning I was at my daughter’s house watching my grandkids for the day when at 9:12 am my mom called me and all I hear is moaning on the other end. I kept saying “MOM!” over and over and she didn’t reply. I called her right back and she answered saying, “I’m too weak to talk, okay?” and put the phone down.
I immediately called my husband and ask him to come right away to sit with our grandkid because I needed to check on my mom. He arrived about 25 minutes later which seemed like an eternity which led to another eternity getting to my mom’s house.
I arrived as quickly as I safely could and multitasked on the drive calling my brother in Illinois as to what was happening. I said if she didn’t look good I was calling the paramedics to transport her. As I opened her front door, I called out to her but there was no answer. I ran up the stairs to her bedroom calling her name. As I approached the bed, I saw my mom pale and weak. She had difficulty speaking and she couldn’t lift herself out of bed.
I told my mom we needed to call the paramedics to look at her and possibly go to the hospital. My husband notified me he had reached our son-in-law to watch the kids and he was on his way. Once he arrived we were able to convince my mom that she needed medical help and I dialed 911.
It was only a few minutes when the paramedics arrived and determined that mom was dehydrated, too weak to get out of bed, and needed to be transported to the hospital. This was the beginning of an ordeal we are still walking through.
We sat in the ER for hours as a CT Scan was run, blood was collected, questions were asked, documents were signed, and so on as we all know what the ER visits bring. As I sat in the ER treatment room while mom was having a CT Scan I saw something I had never seen before. It was a police processional with a casket covered in the American flag. There were 2 officers before the casket, many family members following the casket, and officers behind the family closing out the processional. I am sure they didn’t realize our treatment room door was open with me inside. I realized this was the police officer that had been hit by the drunk driver just a few days before. It broke my heart. My husband’s sister was killed by a drunk driver when he was 16.
I immediately began praying for the family and officers that we now grieving. I knew their grief from losing my dad just a year ago. I prayed for their peace and comfort and strength as a family to support each other. I also said a prayer again for about the hundredth time for my mom’s healing and recovery.
No one else saw the procession, not my husband, not my mom, but I knew God had me see it for a reason. It allowed me to pray for others I did not know and in gratitude, for the help my mom was receiving.
I spent all night with mom in her room catching vomit time after time. She was so nauseous. The day after my mom was moved from ER to a hospital room things became very scary. My mom slept all day and when I tried to ask her questions she just rolled her eyes open, mumbled, and went right back to sleep. This lasted about 10 hours straight. She slept through ultrasounds, chest X-rays, and multiple blood draws. Hours went by without any movement but with constant unconscious moans.
My aunt and uncle saw that my husband and I needed help juggling life, his work, and being at the hospital 24/7. I am so grateful they came to sleep at the hospital with mom so I could be in my own bed for a few nights.
Mom slowly began to be awake more but wouldn’t really eat much. Her arm was swelling from the IV and when they placed the IV they hit a nerve causing a “Trigger Finger”, and losing the ability for her middle finger on her left hand to move freely. Her finger would lock either in an open or closed position and she would have to manually “unlock” it with her right hand. This continues to this day.
We spent several days at the hospital as mom received treatment for the reaction.
We began to see the doctors all say that mom was medically fine and just suffered from the vaccine reaction. She would need rehab to correct the weakness that still lingered after laying in a hospital bed for 6 days. My husband, uncle, and I went to tour an inpatient rehab facility to move my mom to so she could finish rehabbing for a week. The facility was nice and I could stay overnight with her so we spoke to the social worker to begin the paperwork and transport. Then came the craziest news I have ever heard. “We are sorry but Medicare declined your mom for inpatient rehab. She is too healthy and her stay would be too short.”
Oh my goodness, denied help to rehab????? This now became a family endeavor to do PT, OT, and nursing care at home. We learned with my dad that we are not trained nor capable of doing this care. We have no option, we will have to do this. I never thought a hospital would say that someone is too well to stay even though they wouldn’t get out of bed or walk or care for them but this was the case.
So home we went and here I sit blogging. This road ahead of us will take some time but if you know me at all I am confident in my faith that God is with us. I have found through this journey God has given me a tender heart in caring for my mom as she cared for me as a baby. I am releasing my daily obligations to be present for my family. Just as Jesus cared for all while on this earth I will do the same.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ
As I see this tornado circling around me I remember Jesus’ words in the Bible about the Holy Spirit blowing in. I know His wind will push out this tornado and produce a rainbow for me.
The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Thank you for reading my blog and may God bless you today. My love and gratitude, LoLo