THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE


Why do you keep coming here?…… Mom ask.  Without giving a seconds thought I replied “This is where you are.”    She just smiled, as much as she could, like it was the most meaningful thing she had heard in a long time.   I was glad I said it.

I saw her in the cafeteria of the Lutheran Senior Services Center at the dinner table.   I walked up behind her, took a chair on the end next to her, just her and me.   She looked up, recognized me just as she always had; she didn’t look the same to me.  A “that isn’t my Mom” thought came to mind.  Her eyes were sunken a reddish pink color.  A hollow look ……..my real Mom isn’t there anymore.  It’s the first time I ever felt that.  She looks lost, defeated.

Just a few days earlier she was ready to go home; but she has more days of rehab., to gain strength back from a short hospital stay.  Maybe she was just having a bad day.  She was tired from rehab.  She couldn’t hold a fork in her hand…..there was silverware on the floor underneath the wheelchair.  What a difference a day makes.

We spent some time talking, only bits and pieces made sense.  I really didn’t want to leave her.   After awhile I got up, rubbed her back and told her I loved her.   As I walked out, all I could see was her face, lost, lonely, but this was a different loneliness than what she has felt since we lost my dad.  I feel helpless.   Maybe tomorrow she’ll be back, I can tell her I love her.

There is no love like a mother’s love.  If you are fortunate enough to still have yours, give her a hug and tell her you love her.   What a difference a day makes.

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22 thoughts on “THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE”

      1. That’s such wonderful news, Arlin! And she is so blessed to have 2 children so close to her to help her. God bless you and your sister as you take care of her in her ‘golden years’ as you will need all the love and strength that she had to raise you! And when it may seem tedious or monotonous, just remember those wonderful memories that you have with her, even if she doesn’t remember them. Its a privilege to be able to do what you and your sister are doing and even if she cannot communicate it to you, she appreciates it more than you will ever know.

        God bless you, your sister, and your precious mother, in Jesus’ Name.
        Amen!

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      2. She can communicate pretty well, just in the last month it’s gotten a little crazier. She has some Alzheimer’s that doesn’t help.
        My sister took her to the doctor yesterday, they always ask about her smoking, she didn’t remember she smokes. They didn’t remind her she does. She has been in the hospital and the assisted living/rehab for 3 weeks without smoking. When we take her home, we’re going to hide them to see, how long she’ll go without asking about them. Smokes but yet has CHF, She’s a walking miracle.
        Once again thank you for the prayers. They help!

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      3. What a blessing that she doesn’t remember she smoked! Great! Take them and the ashtrays and the lighters, et al out of sight. She sounds like she is doing well. Thank God! And yes, He hears our prayers… always. May He give you and your sister the strength to continue to care for her like you do! You will need it!

        Much love to you all,
        Rhonda

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  1. Basharr,
    I have a small pedal machine that I can used for my legs and for my arms. I am having shoulder surgery in October so after the surgery, I’m sure that will be a part of my therapy. I tried it. I have to start a little at a time as I really have no strength or stamina and every day I lose more. Anemia, low potassium (they think they have it back up now on 80 meq a day!) on 3 different diuretics, indwelling foley (thank God with all the diuretics!) due to a neurogenic bladder, something I cannot find info at all on the internet long fiber polyneuropathy… if any of you can find anything on it, let me know. Short fiber polyneuropathy is what diabetics have. But I have this long fiber polyneuropathy and would like to learn more about it but haven’t found anything yet. My neurologist hasn’t really addressed it much as there are so many other things she is treating me for.

    The recumbent bike that you are talking about was awesome after my second back surgery. I’ve had 3 thoracic back surgeries. I lost 71 pounds after that 2nd surgery and not one doctor noticed. It did not change my cholesterol as it is family/genetic and not food related. I had my third thoracic back surgery while I was on long term disability leave (no pay) from my job, but there was no way I was going back. My balance is bad, I have to use a walker by order of the PT when she evaluated me after the 3rd surgery for therapy. There was no way I could even do therapy and I trust this therapist as she didn’t try to just run up a bill, she said that I would not benefit at the time from PT in the condition I was in. I needed Respiratory Therapy and maybe inpatient therapy. Neither of which I’ve gotten.

    Well see after I get the reports back from Best Doctors whether I need to go to Mayo Clinic or not. I really don’t want to go through everything all over again. Lord help me, I really don’t want to do it all over again at Mayo Clinic. I’ve been there before. It’s like the Disney World of medicine. You literally stand in line for the next test. Then when all the tests are done, they give you a packet of all the results to take back to your physicians. I really don’t want to go through all of this all over again. I sleep in a recliner in the upright position with my feet up at all times so my ankles “look” good but all the fluid is in my thighs and my belly now. And even though my lower legs “look” good, if you grab them, they will still pit. So there is a lot going on and maybe I’m expecting too much from my physicians but when they get paid $250+ for a 10 visit, I think that I should get a bit more information. Maybe I’m wrong. And when Obamacare fully rolls out, we who are sick are screwed, so I’m trying to get things done before it happens. My family doesn’t understand my sense of urgency but I just want to get what I can done before Obamacare takes all of my care away from me.

    So did you buy the machine or did you go to PT? They are quite expensive but a great investment if you are going to use it all the time.

    So proud of you and your accomplishments, Basharr! Glad that you are still with us and hope to have you around for many, many years, in Jesus’ Name!

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  2. Almost lost mine last year, in fact had a doctor actually read her file he would not have put her on life support. She has a DNR in her file. I am glad she is still around, not ready to say goodbye just yet.

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    1. Sometimes a DNR is more merciful than what medical practitioners will do to someone to keep them ‘alive’ physically but what quality of life is there?

      Thank God she’s still with you!

      My dad was on a vent for almost a month and the doctor’s were at the point where they were trying to tell my step-mother to consider taking him off life support. She just couldn’t do it. They did another CT scan and finally found a pulmonary embolism and treated him and he has outlived her and is still around!

      I have a living will. I leave it up to my husband and my adult children. I don’t prefer to be kept on life support but if that’s what he wants, so be it, as I know I am not there anyway.

      Tough choices, not referencing Hillary’s book, but life is full of them and we have to make them.

      God bless you, your wife, and your mother!
      Rhonda aka nanarhonda

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  3. Arlin,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. From the sounds of what you describe, she may not come home. A day can make a total difference.

    I have been asking about going into inpatient rehab and my husband is absolutely terrified that I will never come out. He doesn’t even want me to talk about it. The hospital will always check and I just barely missed going one time. I need something though because I am deteriorating in front of him as well.

    If you live near her, it is so good to visit her often. That makes all the difference, even if she can’t communicate verbally, you saw it in her eyes that she recognized you. I can’t pretend to know what’s wrong but often times a simple UTI infection can cause dementia and if not treated right away, it will become permanent in elderly people. I hope the place she is in is a good place. They are few and far between so you need to stay on top of her care. Ask them why her eyes are so red and sunken in. She sounds dehydrated. Combine that with a UTI and she needs to be in the hospital to be treated for those two with antibiotics and IV fluids. This is just conjecture from just the little bit you shared and my little bit of medical knowledge and experience with nursing homes. They need to fill beds so often they keep patients who are supposed to be there for rehab. My father has had to fight his way out twice after going for rehab! But he had enough fight in him.

    I will keep your mom in my prayers, Arlin.

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    1. Thank you. To begin with she has CHF. I do live 10 min. away and check on her a lot anyway. Bring her groceries and check that she is taking her meds; which she is terrible about, even with a pill reminder. Thanks again Rhonda.

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      1. It is so good that you live so close to her. You have to be her advocate with the establishment she is in. Ask why she looks so different from one day to the next! That is very distressing, just from my medical experience. You are such a good and loving son, Arlin. I am blessed to have one as well, though I know mine would visit, but would leave the detail to my daughter. My father has CHF and COPD. Not sure how old she is or what else is going on and its not my business. But I am so proud of you for being such a wonderful son. Too often men turn away from this kind thing. It is more than admirable. It sounds like she is in an assisted living home and not a nursing home. This can be a good thing and in her case, not so good, since she changed so drastically from one day to the next and the nurse was not made aware right away? As I said, I will continue to keep you and her in my prayers. You will need strength to go through this, Arlin. It is hard what you are doing, but you have to have the wonderful memories of her to keep you going. Hold on to them.

        Much love,
        Rhonda

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      2. Saw her today, and she was 180 degrees for the better. Her eyes much better. She is 81, has poor circulation as well. She has been a heart patient most of her life. When she was 44 yr. old she mitral valve replacement. Yes she is in assisted living for now. Thank you for your concern and prayers.

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      3. Oh Arlin! Praise the Lord! That is great news! If she is in assisted living still, that’s good news. I used to work in assisted living facilities. One was a really nice facility and I worked third shift with people that did not have the same love for the elderly that I did. But after a while, I rubbed off on them. Everyone was my favorite! The second place was a group home and the owner was very controlling and I wouldn’t recommend anyone send their loved ones to her place. She didn’t keep proper records. In Wisconsin, if a person is a DNR, they must wear the state DNR bracelet. If the rescue squad comes and it is not on the person, it is considered revoked as that is all that it takes to revoke it! There are a lot of nursing homes here as well as assisted living facilities that have DNR residents and their bracelets are in their file which means that the patient will be resuscitated regardless of what the file says because the bracelet is not on the person. I don’t know about your state, but you might want to check into it. I know this for two reasons. One because of my EMT training, and then two, because of the hospital ER work. It drove the ER doctors crazy because there is a liability if they don’t and should have and if they do and shouldn’t have, hence the reason the bracelet MUST be ON the person at all times unless the person or the power of attorney revokes it and removes it. I hope that makes sense.

        Anyway, I am SO happy to hear the wonderful news that she is so much better. Perhaps she was dehydrated and they got her to drink up and that was all it took! Sounds like they have some people that care that work there! That is always wonderful!

        God bless you and your Mom!

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      4. In 2001 I got a clot in my lung I kept going to work thinking the coughing was pneumonia when I could no longer walk without seeing stars I went to the emergency room and was told I was in heart failure. The doctors toldd me 5 years was a generous estimate of my time left. I am still here and in pretty damn good health now. But it took work I dropped 140 pounds.

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      5. Basharr,
        I neglected to congratulate you on the loss of 140 pounds! I need to lose about that much but I can barely walk around the circle of my house… the kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway, half bathroom, eat in kitchen, back to kitchen. I’m exhausted afterwards and sometimes it causes chest pain and always shortness of breath. Between the fluid retention that they are trying to keep off of me (no CHF) and other issues, and 35 medications, I have put on so much weight, more than I have ever weighed in my whole life. I can’t workout to lose the weight and minimizing my meals is the only way, but with the amount of potassium I have to take, I need to put something in my stomach or those pills just eat away. Its crazy. And no one really knows. Sometimes I have chronic kidney disease according to my blood work, and then I don’t. It makes no sense to me if its chronic. But my kidneys aren’t producing the hormones to tell my bone marrow to produce enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen which explains why I am short of breath at rest. At any rate, I really just wanted to say that losing 140 pounds is a huge accomplishment! It’s like losing a whole person! Congratulations and congratulations for not complying with the doctor’s prediction of 5 years!

        Praise the Lord!

        Much love and appreciation for all you do and contribute,
        Rhonda aka nanarhonda

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      6. Hi Rhonda, My savior was the purchase of a stationary bike the kind you sit in and peddle out in front of you. I too had a lot of fluid retention due to the heart failure. I peddled for an hour a day every day and the only fluid intake was water. The leg pumping helps move the fluids in your limbs.Not sure if your doctor would allow it?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Wow, 140, good for you. Probably why you are still around. I was a Cardiology technologist for several years……the hours about killed me. Sometimes I wish I was still doing though, very rewarding.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Wow, Arlin, we learn something new about you every once in a while! It is a rewarding job being a cardiology tech. I have been on the receiving end many times. And being an ED Tech, I had to do EKG’s many, many times, in addition to juggling the other tasks we had to do! LOL I so miss working in the ER. It was a very rewarding job… we’ll to me it was more of a ministry. I got a paycheck, but I felt it was important to look patients in the face since RN’s now have computers in front of them and barely make eye contact, I could hold the hand of someone who was scared. hold the baby while mom was being examined, hold the hand of a centenarian while the other tech was bandaging a skin slip/tear and listen to her tell me her stories. I loved to hear their stories. I was always amazed at the ones who were afraid to get an IV put in… they were the ones full of tattoo and piercings. I never quite got it but I told them that I would go wherever they say that the lab gets the best blood draws and if I miss, then I’ll get someone else. But I looked them in the eye, gave them my confidence, my trust, and they accepted it. I never had to go get someone else and they always said, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!” Taking the time to be personal with them and earning their trust is important and is disappearing from medicine at a rapid pace. It used to be called medical care; which implies a personal investment. Now its medical treatment; no personal investment at all. Sure there are still some “old school” RN’s out there but they are few and far between. I truly miss my “ministry.” I felt like I made a difference, one person at a time. At least I like to think I did. And only by the grace of God could I have done it at all.

        So what else shall we learn about you, Arlin? Leaking a little at a time… kinda cool! 🙂

        His richest blessings!

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  4. Not just my mom but my dad was my best friend. I could always talk about problems with him. I also had a wonderful grandma & aunt who were always there for me. Thanks for the memories.

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