Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mom Comes to Town or Who Needs Reality?

Groovin' on Vancouver Island
After being away last summer, Jack and I had been looking forward to taking advantage of all the summertime fun that southern Vancouver Island has to offer. So far we have: gone to the Vancouver Island Music festival, helped with and attended the Flamenco Juerga party, cycled around Bainbridge Island, had picnic dinners on the beach, sipped wine on patios with friends, kept up with hot yoga & running & dancing etc. It got to the point that I realized that I didn't have a free weekend until September. So I was REALLY looking forward to having my 82 year old mom come for a visit.

There is something wonderful about visiting with an elderly person, because you have to slow down and really be present. And because it was my mom, we had a chance to reminisce and learn more about each other, both knowing that these opportunities are no longer limitless. I enjoy those wonderful "Mom-isms" like: "Oh you've got some grey hair. It's so PRETTY!" (huh?) or "Yes, I'll have some wine" and then stopping my pouring once 1/4 inch is in the glass. "Jack particularly likes being called "kid."

Mom reconfirmed she still doesn't like raw oysters

When she first arrived, we spent the first day doing absolutely nothing other than fixing meals. On day two, we went to a play, "The Importance of Being Earnest", and after 2 1/2 hours of watching other people eat teacakes and cucumber sandwiches, I was famished. So off to a restaurant with a view of the water (Yes, for you non-Victorians, life is so hard here.) Unfortunately that's when Mom's blood pressure dropped, mine rose, Mom's lips turned blue, she started babbling, and I commanded Jack to dial 911.

Sorry no photos of this, I had other things on my mind.

While Mom stayed conscious and aware throughout the ordeal, my picture of reality became distorted. She remembered the names of the ambulance drivers. I did not. I moved into the black-hole of panic. They dispatched the slowest ambulance in history to us (their records showed 7 minutes). Our waitress was unconcerned. I told her, "MY MOM IS NOT WELL, MY HUSBAND HAS CALLED 911!!!" To which she replied, "Okay, I'll get your bill."

Distorted reality

In any case, to make a long story short, she had had what is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. Her colour started coming back as soon as she was given oxygen, and she was back to normal within minutes, although we still got to hang around for 4 1/2 hours or so in the emergency room.

And no, she wasn't going goth

This is also when I discovered that they take both Visa and MasterCard at Victoria General Hospital. Who knew? Since she's from the United States, we had to plop down $750 before anyone would see her (post-ambulance) and this did not include the urine-analysis, blood-work or ECG. I could see this alone creating some blood-pressure related complications in myself. Fortunately, having 4 - 5 hours to hang around, we had lots of time to calm down, watch other people pad around in slippers and green, backless dresses, talk to the guy with the really cool spider bite that made his whole leg swell up, and generally avoid making eye contact with a lot of people who look like they regularly spend weekend evenings in the emergency room.

Reality is not an option

I have no great revelations other than the obvious. I remember thinking, is this it? Are the last words my Mom hears going to be "Jack, dial 911"? Are her last words going to be, "everything is turning white"?

Let's just say the remainder of her stay, while probably involving too much sugar, was delightfully uneventful. And we both really, REALLY appreciated our time together.

Go to a happy place in your mind

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