Around the first of the year I asked my 88-year-old mother Sue a daunting question: “Are you ready to go?” This once powerful, dynamic, high-energy woman had fallen several times over the past few years, breaking both her ankles in one of them. As she’d slowed down and become less self-reliant, she also became more and more withdrawn and reclusive, spending most of her time in her recliner, the phone and TV set her primary connection with the outside world.
Mom briefly pondered the question, then answered, “No, not yet.”
Nonetheless, a few months later, I believe Mom decided it was time to go. And she did.
Mom fell and broke her leg and hip at her home on May 3, yet somehow managed to get to the phone to call Nancy and Mike, who immediately took her to the Harton Regional Medical Center emergency room. The next day Mom had successful surgery, and two days later she was moved to the Life Care Center next to the hospital to rest and rehabilitate. Mom seemed to be making excellent progress when Nancy got a call on the night of Sunday, May 19 reporting that she’d had a stroke and was being readmitted to the hospital.
As a result of the stroke, Mom was completely paralyzed on her left side and couldn’t swallow. She could still talk though her words were slurred. Nancy was with Mom most of this time, and Shonnie, Gracelyn and I got to Tullahoma on Tuesday. The next day, Mom seemed content and happy just to have us all around her, while the hospital staff worked diligently with her to get her to swallow to no avail.
Thursday morning Mom was unresponsive to any stimuli. Unconscious with no movement on either side, Dr. Bills confirmed that she had had another stroke and had also developed pneumonia in one lung. She seemed very peaceful and ready to take the next step in this journey we call life. (more…)