Hi, Miss Susan. This is the nurse at Lakeland Nursing Home. I’m calling about your mother.
These calls come fairly often, so I don’t usually panic, but sometimes I hold my breath for just a minute.
Miss Effie is okay, but I wanted to let you know that she has a small skin tear on her right leg, and the doctor ordered some medicine for it, so we’re treating it now.
Letting my breath out, I thank the nurse for staying in touch, apologizing again that I haven’t been to visit my mother since the end of June because of my accident, etc., She reassures me that Mom is fine and she hopes my recovery is going well.
A few weeks earlier, the caller explained that Mom had an infection at the site of her stomach feeding tube, but again, the doctor prescribed meds and she was being treated. Another non-emergency. Another time to breathe in and out. And to THANK GOD that Mom is okay.
Another phone call this week from a social worker at the nursing home, this time asking me to please sign and return the DNR form that must be renewed annually. This is only the second year I have agreed to this form. Mom’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to the point that she doesn’t know who I am, who she is, or where she is. At 85 she has few other health issues, like heart disease or diabetes. But a sudden “event” could take her life, sparing her more years during which the Alzheimer’s will shut down her other bodily functions. She told me, back when she still had her mind, that she did not want to be kept alive on machines. She did not want treatment for cancer or any other fatal illness. Although she doesn’t remember telling me that, I remember. And I respect her wishes.
Every day I pray that she will not die while I’m housebound. There’s really no “emergency” that she might have where my presence would be needed. She is in a skilled nursing facility with access to a hospital, if needed. But how could I make the funeral arrangements and travel to Jackson when I can’t even walk? Hopefully I will be mobile in a few more weeks, but this has been my greatest fear since the accident. Sometimes I just worry. But sometimes I remember to pray, and my faith grows when I do that. Faith—the assurance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).
Now that I’m getting close to the point where I can walk, and eventually drive, I’m eager to visit her again. Maybe in October. But until then, I continue to have a great opportunity to exercise faith—to trust that God is in control. Because if there’s one thing I’m learning through all of this, it’s that I certainly am not.