We Get Knocked Down, But We Get Up Again

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I should have come up with a better title for this post. Getting knocked down is meant to be metaphorical, not literal. Perhaps I should have used, “Cracks and Falling Through Them.” But of course, that would only tell half the story. Or maybe “When Things and People Fall Apart.” At least temporarily.

Anyway. My mum is in the hospital. She has been since last week. She’s in hospital down there… in New Brunswick. And my sisters and I are up here… in Ontario. Which does not make for an ideal situation. To say the least. It wouldn’t be bad if we could go down there, but we can’t. At least not without self-isolating for two weeks. Unless the situation is very grave. Trust me, I have researched all the possibilities, all the work-arounds if things go badly, how to get there, who has to be contacted, what authorization we need to be able to go, how much time we’d have to isolate, then take a COVID test, then wait for results etc. etc. We’re hoping it won’t come to that.

Anyway, last week my niece called me to say that Mum’s care worker had called her and they made the decision to call the ambulance. The paramedics found Mum upset, unable to get up from her chair, and very, very shaky. So they took her to hospital. Of course my niece was unable to go in the ambulance, due to COVID. So after she called me and I called everyone else, we all just waited to be able to call the hospital.

Then when Mum arrived at the hospital, due to a paperwork glitch, no one would tell any of us anything. None of us was listed as Mum’s next of kin. And we didn’t know who was. Took me a bit to get that info from the receptionist. Finally, after I gave her chapter and verse about our situation, how we all lived up here, and what were we to do, against hospital rules, she told me. “It’s someone called Mary,” she whispered.

Mary, a family friend and Mum’s regular driver and grocery shopper, was as surprised to find out that she was “next of kin” as we were. Turns out that one time when Mum was in hospital for the day for a test, she gave them Mary’s name to call to pick her up, and somehow that morphed into next of kin. And it seems we can’t get it changed without a lot of rigmarole.

Anyway, I finally connected to a lovely nurse who gave me the lowdown on Mum. After I gave her chapter and verse on who I was, how COVID and living in Ontario meant I couldn’t come to the hospital, and why I was not listed as next of kin. She just wrote my name next to Mary’s, and that put paid to all that palaver. You have to love nurses, don’t you? Saved me from retelling that tale every time I called.

So meanwhile, in the emergency department, Mum was given an IV to get her fluids up; she was dehydrated and her potassium was low. They admitted her. And the next day the doctor gave her new meds to alleviate her arthritis pain, and adjusted all her other meds. Which should help a lot. And is something my sister, the pharmacist, has wanted to happen for ages. But there was never an opportunity to talk to a doctor. And Mum…. well… Mum doesn’t like change. Especially changes in her medication. And since she is 93 and living alone, you can’t blame her for being nervous over a possible reaction to a new medication.

The whole situation last week was precipitated not by illness as such, but by extreme fatigue and weakness on Mum’s part and, on the day the ambulance was called, an inability to get up out of her chair. This has been coming for a while. I knew she was frail. When I talked to the Extramural Occupational Therapist last summer, she said Mum was at risk of falling because of her arthritis. And that Mum knew the risks. We all did. Lately I knew she hadn’t been eating enough again. And I knew she was in pain and feeling discouraged, and as a result, was not moving around enough, hence the muscle weakness. And so slowly she slipped and slipped.

Until she just fell through the cracks.

Her care workers encourage her to eat, and drink, and make her meals. They are very good to her. I nag her to drink water, and eat, and always, always ask her what she had for supper the night before. I ask her to ask her worker to take her outside on sunny days. Even if just for a stroll around the deck with her walker to get some fresh air and a little exercise. In fact, when I was there last, she was doing laps around the island in her kitchen with the walker.

But none of us is there all the time. Not me, nor my sisters, nor her care workers. So she will eat or not eat. Go outside or not. And exercise or not. And lately with all her pain, it’s been not. She is an adult and in full command of her faculties, and she’s always been going to do what she wants to do anyway. A nurse from the hospital’s “Extramural Program” visits her at home regularly to take her blood pressure etc. In fact, the nurse had been to visit the day before Mum went into hospital. And I was a bit surprised that Mum’s shakiness did not set off alarm bells for her. But Mum says she was having a good day when the nurse visited. And they had a lovely chat. She fell through the cracks, as I said.

So. She’s safely tucked up in hospital for the forseeable future. She’s sleeping well. They are feeding her up. Physiotherapists are getting her up, giving her exercises, making her walk. She is allowed to have one masked visitor at a time, and I do believe that there has been a steady stream. My two nieces, several family friends, and even two nurses who work at the hospital who are the daughters of friends. She’s quite content, really. Cared for, and getting lots of love. Her nurse told my sister today that Mum is a “hoot.” Yep. She’s a hoot alright.

But I do wish I could be there to share some of those laughs. Mum and I always have a good laugh. And I’ve needed a good laugh this week. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but while she is doing well, it’s me that’s been falling apart. Not exactly falling apart, just feeling the pressure of trying to manage things from far away. Talking to nurses. And the social worker. And the care agency. Trying to set things in motion so when she is able to go home again, her increased care will be seamless.

And of course we can’t really set up anything definite when we don’t know how long she’ll be in hospital. Or even if they will allow her to go home without 24 hour care. And we don’t know if the care agency will have the workers to fill the extra hours the social worker and I have planned on paper. And if they don’t, I don’t know what we’ll do. Normally one of us would have gone home and been there to stay with her for a few days, or a week or two, for her transition. And given the life circumstances of my two sisters that would have been me. But, as I said, that’s not going to happen.

So that’s my tale. What I have been busy doing for these last few days. Talking on the phone to whomever (family, social workers, hospital staff), texting, talking, texting, feeling utterly useless, going for a walk, sitting down to read, getting up again, calling my sister… again. The pandemic has made us all less resilient. Less able to handle that one more thing.

Still, things are moving forward. I talked to the social worker and the nurses again today. And the discharge coordinator called me just to reassure me about the release process which won’t be until the physiotherapist says Mum is strong enough. Mum’s nurse had told the discharge coordinator I was worried, and she called me, like, twenty minutes later. Isn’t that nice? I swear, nurses are my new favourite people.

And I was so relieved after all my conversations today. Particularly the one with Mum.

She’s feeling way better than she has in a long time. She loves the nurses and the physiotherapist, and they love her. She can’t figure out why everyone is so nice to her. Today I heard all about the exercises she’s doing. And what she had for supper, without even asking. It’s all been delicious, she says. Except for the soup. She doesn’t like the soup. My sister teases her that she’s at the spa. Ha. I’m happy that her fall through the cracks resulted in such a soft landing.

So yeah, Mum’s been knocked down, kind of. But she will get back up again, if guts and willpower have a say. She has a ways to go to get her strength back, but she is determined to go home. And I am, in fact we all are, determined that she will get her way. If at all possible.

Sunset on the Saint John River in New Brunswick. November 2019 my last trip home.

We all get knocked down in one way or another. At one time or another. But we get back up, with lots of love and support. And some guts and determination. If we’re lucky. Sometimes we fall apart, and then we go for a walk, or read a good book, or call a loved one. And then we put ourselves back together. If we’re lucky.

So I guess, all in all, I’m feeling pretty lucky tonight.

Now, I’m sick of talking about me. So, please don’t give me kindly words of advice, my friends. I’d much rather hear about you. About whatever is keeping you busy these days.

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103 thoughts on “We Get Knocked Down, But We Get Up Again”

  1. No advice, but sending love. I have been there with my parents.

    Doctors visits have kept me busy but at least there was good news this time with the cancerous lesions responding to treatment. More tests and visits in 6 months.

  2. Hi Susan
    I just recently discovered your wonderful blog. It is both fun and useful. I loved reading about spring fashion math and laughing throughout.
    The problems you are having are ones I understand all too well. Your mother is lucky to have such a concerned daughter.

  3. thinking of you and your mum at this time. its so difficult when you cant just drop everything and go to her

  4. I think most of us here will have a good idea what you are going through . It’s a horrible time as there is only so much you can do & your mind will be a whirl trying to solve problems in advance . Its extra hard for you though being so far away & having all these restrictions in place . I remember my sisters & I sitting doing jigsaw puzzles together just to keep the worries at bay . So jigsaws are good & sisters are even better . So enjoy your sisters – I know they can get on your nerves at times but they’re very good in emergencies . It does sound like your mum is being very well looked after by caring people . Yes nurses are special . We have a few in the family & I know they really do care .
    I’d like to distract you by telling you about my latest parachute jump or mountain peak climbed or English Channel swim or breaking the land speed record but I can’t lie . It’s just the usual dog walking & gardening etc . There’s nothing like a crisis in your life to make you appreciate the boring bits . Stay strong & remember to take care of yourself too . Give my love to your mum – I feel like I know her now .

  5. So sorry about your mum. These things are hard enough to negotiate face-to-face leave alone dealing with them remotely. It sounds like you and your mum are doing great.
    I’ve been going through my own medical episodes lately and I’m hoping to get off the tests / treadmill soon.
    Resilience is hard. It’s helpful for me if I try to go with the flow, follow the advice of experts and plan treats along the way, like new books, new skin care (which I apply to my face rather than admire in the jar) and keep my mind engaged. I’m half-way through a wonderful online course run by the National Gallery of Victoria on Women in Art and Design. I’ve learnt so much and it has made my recent travails much more manageable. Did you know that women designers and artists developed visual images that defined the suffrage movement and created the first modern “branded” politicial campaign of the visual age? I didn’t, but I do now! This is the third online course I’ve done since the pandemic started and I’ve enjoyed them all and found them very beneficial.
    Best of luck to your mum and to you xx

    1. Thanks, Maria. That art history course sounds really interesting. Treats work for me too. Glad your applying the skin care and not just admiring it. 🙂 Good luck with the tests.

  6. A perfect early spring day here – blue skies, pink blossom, blooming forsythia. Birds singing. Sunlight on limestone.
    Believe me when I tell you that I understand all you feel at the moment. But you are quite correct in reflecting that even in the hardest times, we can still look out of the window and hope for better things.
    Stay safe.

  7. No advice from me, as it definitely looks like you have thought of and done everything possible. Both of my parents are gone now, but my mom took the most elder care, with my sister taking on the brunt of it, but I helped when I could with moving to nursing homes, transferring to a geriatric psych. hospital (that was life altering!), phone calls, visits, shopping… I am so grateful that your mom’s difficulties are physical, and not mental, so she is still able to communicate freely with you, and you with her. I hope Spring is well and truly on its way for you! -Jenn

  8. Oh my I have been there as well with two sets of parents. My husband and I have often been thankful that our parents passed before covid. It would have been so hard for them to understand. Nurses are the best. The covid situation is much improved here in California. I am hoping it will be the same for you all soon.

  9. I also live on St.John’s River, but much further south Remember that old Sinatra song about the rubbertree plant!Might be good to do lots of humming.I am relatively new to all this blogging. But in reading the comments,you do seem to have a great support group out there. TRying to be a good support to an aging parent if so hard,because you can’t fix it. It does sound like she has great care and that is something to be grateful for. We cannot know what is in store fore us any more!And just have to sit back and wait to see what happens.!You are blessed in having syblings(I don’t) to help share this burden. Keep the faith,it will work out.

    1. Now I’m going to be singing that song all day. I loved that old movie. You are right, it’s the not being able to fix the situation that is so hard. My philosophy is that Mum should get to do what she wants as long as possible. It’s her life.

  10. I think we can all empathise and sympathise with your situation.
    Am I going to sound cold and heartless if I say that I am rather relieved that both mine have already gone…? Don’t get me wrong, I still miss them… (Mum in 2009 and Dad in 2016). But my Dad was really stubborn and very vocal, so he would not have been happy with “staying put”. A telling comment was “They’re condemning me to sit in this chair forever, aren’t they?” when he was trying to book another cruise.
    He was aggrieved for the last couple of years before he died, both for the huge insurance cover costs which stopped him going on cruises, and finally not being allowed back home… He did get to go on that last one before the fateful fall which prompted his final trip to the hospital, never to return. He was 95. The stubbornness which we all got annoyed about (he could be a right pita!) was also what helped him reach that age – he was aiming for 100! 😉
    So, I’m glad you’ve been able to resolve those issues and she gets home soon. x

  11. All people around her love your Mum,she’s a hero
    Thank God for your health and care system! And for sisters and nieces and relatives!
    I could partly identify with your situation,but Covid rules and situation are incomparable….nevertheless,your Mum sounds better and you seem calmer- that is both good
    The weather here is sunny but cold,there are flovers and new leaves…..
    Love,
    Dottoressa

    1. Yes, thank god for a humane health care system. From the nurses in the hospital, to the OT’s and community nurses, to her homecare workers. Mum pays only a portion of the cost… under $200.00… for all her home care help. The rest is paid out of our taxes. Taxes that I happy to pay. I’m hoping that by the time she gets home spring will be here and the daffodils a friend planted for her will be blooming. xox

  12. Hugs, strength, good books, a warm cardi and a ton of vaccines would be what I would send if I could. God bless your Mom, it’s wonderful to read that she’s a Hoot. It’s only words Sue, but stay strong, better days are coming. Your blog has helped me many times through this pandemic, made me not so alone, thank you. I told my cousin of my prayers for Canada to get more vaccine soon, and you are in the same province, prayers for that vaccine to reach you so you can go visit. Until then be safe.

    1. Ah, thanks, Heather. She is a hoot. That made me laugh when my sister told me the nurse had said that. I am happy to accept all those gifts, even if virtual. 🙂

  13. Good morning Susan,
    Things looked grim as the first words but quickly turned to fthankfulness and hope as my eyes rolled into the full title of your post.
    So sorry to hear that your mom “fell” but ever so thankful that she is “rising” with the help all around and away (you and the rest of the family) from her.
    Oh the glorious wonder of technology that helps us stay connected. I’ll be praying for a speedy recovery and a happy return to her comfort zone and your peace of mind.

    What’s happening with me?
    Gosh, it’s been a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions these past few weeks. You know – the highs of contentment followed by days when my mind is a blur and my heart slips into a bit of darkness.

    After a night of disconnected dreams – some distinctive painful old memories, some “what the what!” strange things, interactions with people I know and people I don’t, people I like and some that raised toxicity (yes, even my sleep I felt the turmoil) ….. Go figure. Needless to say, I awoke, mentally and emotionally exhausted and with not desire or energy to get out of bed. I just lay there, only turn from left to right but unable to swing my legs over the side to sit up.
    Thank God for His grace and strength, I finally got up and slipped into my morning tidying-up routine, which is very simple as both my husband and I are retired and our two children are grown, married and living their own lives.
    After a shower and breakfast, I settled into my favourite morning activity – sketching.
    I knew/know that journaling about the anguished night’s sleep and dreams may help and/or heal from the residual effects but that’s for another day. I just want to nourish and nurture myself on all levels first before revisiting that. And I already feel my joy and contentment levels rising.
    Thank you for sharing your story about your mom and consequently inspiring me to stay hopeful when I fall (even when mentally and emotionally) and to identify the path that leads to a path healing.

    1. Oh yes… pandemic dreams. Hubby and I have both had them. For a while last spring we fell into a habit of making a latte, sitting on the deck, and sharing our nightly adventures. In our dreams, he was constantly travelling and getting lost and losing me in large crowds. I was constantly trying to get home. Nurturing yourself is good.

    2. Oh Sue, so very sorry about your mother. Most of us have gone through this. Thankfully, I still lived in the area when my mother really needed our help.
      My thoughts are with you!
      Ali

  14. I feel for you in this situation with your mum. My parents are both gone now, but they lived 500 miles away from me. My sister lived nearby, but they did their best to not let her know how they were at times, leading to hospitalization. It’s so hard when you’re far away and parents don’t want to accept help even though they need it. So glad to hear she is doing better and getting stronger with attention.

  15. I don’t usually give advice, especially to someone I don’t know. But you’ve told us how close you are to your mum and how sad you are at the distance between you. This hospital stay gives you a valid reason to request a waiver to visit, and really two weeks isolation isn’t that onerous for us retirees. If only I had a way to visit my sister in Ontario I’d leap at it after a year of distance. Who knew siblings weren’t “immediate family” ?

    1. I’ve looked into waivers to allow for people outside of the Maritimes to visit, and they are for “end of life care.” Hopefully it will not come to that for a while.

  16. Thinking of your Mom, you and your sisters. Sending love and prayers. I am so glad your Mom is doing well in the hospital, getting stronger each day, and appreciating the care they are giving her. Oh, and the food…except the soup! ❤️

  17. Sending you huge hugs, but I bet you can’t stay still long enough for that. The nervous energy of uncertainty is the worst when you can’t do anything about it. It is such a good thing that the nurses are keeping you in the loop and are on your side. I can just see you trying to sit to read and then jumping up to do something else and not settling into it like you usually do. Your stories of your chats and visits with your mom makes us all feel like we know her, so sending our love to her as well as you.
    Not much exciting in our little pandemic paradise, but we did have a visit from a gorgeous male partridge right up on the deck yesterday, and that made me smile for a while. Just as we are finally drying up it looks like we are to get quite a lot of rain in the next few days so my treks to check on the progress of the daffodils will be put on hold but still checking daily on the higher ground to see what is happening. Take care of yourself and thank you for keeping us involved in your journey through this.

    1. Thanks so much, Diane. A partridge on the deck… now that is special. We’ve had the fox to visit… and too many geese on the river. And yesterday Hubby uncovered the carrots he’d been over-wintering, and we has fresh carrots from the garden for supper. Oh my, They were delicious.

  18. I am so sorry to hear about your lovely Mum.
    I experienced quite the similar situation with my 93 yr old Dad. He had fallen, and taken by ambulance to the ER. I was told the same thing-I couldn’t get info. The nurses were awful and rude about me wanting information-demanded that I have power of attorney-even though my Dad stated I had it and stated I can have any information. I went through all his papers and found the family trust, made copies and took it to the hospital. When I told the staff that I had power of attorney-they just took my word for it and didn’t ask for copies…after all of that craziness. I get your frustration. Your Mum can simply print out a power of attorney page off of Legal Zoom-have a witness sign it-make copies and share them with the family. I wish her a speedy recovery and that you all can be together soon.

  19. Oh, Sue! It’s so difficult being far from elderly parents! Mine were in Vancouver while my siblings and I are here in Alberta. I hate to say that we were “lucky” that Dad passed away on March 1st last year, ten days before the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, but I can’t imagine how much more difficult things would have been if we hadn’t been able to make the frequent trips to be by his side during his last months.

    As for what I’ve been doing lately. Not much. The number of cases here in Alberta is on the rise again, so restrictions that we hoped might be lifted have not been. At least spring seems to have arrived. The snow is gone and we’re able to get outdoors more easily which lifts my spirits. And then there’s books. I borrowed Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, recommended by one of your readers recently, from the library and devoured it! I enjoyed it so much that I’m waiting for her non-fiction book, Before and After, about the same adoption scandal, to come into the library.

  20. Sending you a big hug. My mom is 89 and just lost her (third) husband. After the funeral, we all left and she is dealing with the estate with some assistance from his kids. Like your mom, she is still really on the ball, but she is now worried about her next living situation, whether she wants to move closer to one or more of her own kids, etc.etc. It’s all a big worry, and like you, I’m not that close by. We’re vaccinated now, so I will drive to her in a few weeks and go over her finances, possibly look at other locations, and give myself the comfort of eyes on.

    Hospitalizations are a real struggle in Covid, and I’m glad you got the next of kin straightened around. If not for nurses, I’m not sure where we’d be in the health care world. They truly make it happen. (And, as you said above, until someone is on hospice care, there are no provisions for breaking the rules. Glad you’re not at that point!)

    1. That’s so hard for your mum. My mum was 80 when my stepfather died, and making choices were very difficult for quite some time. It was lucky that I was on leave that spring and could go down and stay for a few weeks. So comforting to have someone there 24 hours a day.

  21. Mary Lou Hartman

    Sending love and positive energy your way. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this and you are in my thoughts.

  22. Christine Trory

    So sorry to hear your news but your mother seems very feisty and will turn this nasty corner. As others have said many of us have been there but this Covid pandemic definitely puts on an additional strain when this type of thing happens.

    For me, I am battling with vertigo and a twisted ankle that has added to the additional curtailment placed by Covid on my activities, however, whenever possible I play with my art and this saves me from sinking further into the slough of despond.

    1. Oh, vertigo is no fun. I’ve had it so bad that even my husband rolling over in bed would make my head spin. The “slough of despond” love that phrase. Although not the experience. 🙂

  23. Sending a prayer for strength, love, healing, and peace for your mom, you, and your supportive family. I ask for the same as my husband is not 100%. He tripped and fell on the concrete patio the other night and I am so thankful that he did not hit his head. His ribs are pretty sore. His will is very strong (stubborn, too) but his body has not been cooperating this past year.
    Good news is that our son, daughter in law, and youngest granddaughter will be spending their Spring Break with us starting tomorrow. They really give Papa incentive to stay well…and, of course, not over do!
    Thanks for sharing your family news, Sue. It sounds like your mother is surrounded by caring family, friends, and professional staff. Blessings to you all…

      1. Yes. Papa and I have finished our Moderna shots and our son and DIL have their first of two shots as teachers.
        My 94 yr old mother is eager to get back to the gym! They have a “Twinges and Hinges” class in a warm pool. It has helped her arthritis.
        Thank you for your good wishes for my husband. ❤️

  24. Will it cheer you to know that you’ve given me a Chumbawamba earworm? I’m going to be humming that song all day now as I pack and toss (movers coming next week!). 😉 Hugs to you and your sisters, being so far away.

  25. Hi Sue,
    Thank you for sharing your story. The only thing I would like to say you are a wonderful daughter and your mother sounds like she has a strong back bone. LOVE is my operative word this year. Our country (U.S.) and the world needs more LOVE as well. Please keep us posted.

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  26. So happy your mum is getting the care she needs, thanks to your wonderful health care system. It’s dreadful being far away with no way to be with her. I went through that when my dad took ill; he and my mom lived 500 miles away, and I was working, a one- person department during the busiest time of my work year. So many conflicts, so much guilt. After he passed my mom moved nearby, thank goodness, but she struggled with increasing cognitive issues. Then she fell and broke her hip. While hospitalized, the staff gave her a medication that we had discontinued because it caused hallucinations. I got a call at 1:00 a.m. that she seemed “really confused”. To the hospital I went, where she told me the people next door were having a marijuana party, and someone had come into her room to rearrange the furniture and take her money. (It being a California hospital, the part about taking her money was likely true.) 😉 Keep laughing with your mum! I sure miss laughing with mine.

  27. Kenzie McConnel

    So sorry to hear about your Mum. It is very tough when you are far away. My Dad died after a short illness about a month before we were due to go to the UK (from NZ) for a grand OE before two of our children left home to live in England for a while. We were going to cancel but he was insistant we went so they could meet his family and see where we grew up. I am an “only” so was hesitant to leave my mother on her own and she was getting rather vague but an old family friend and a very kind neighbour offered to look out for her. All seemed to be going fine until we moved to our USA part of the trip and couldn’t get hold of her. Seems she had totally lost the plot and the friend had to have her committed to care. My first task on return was to fly the 250km to see her and try to sort things out. SHe kept telling me about the parties the nirses and doctors were having and that soldiers came down behind the curtains but she fought them off with spray deoderant!! Then followed about three months of trying to get her moved closer to us and into a rest home. eventually we had to get her into a dementia unit but by then she was too frail to try to escape. It was heart breaking to see someone who had been so intelligent and articulate descend into such confusion. Bee glad your Mum can laugh and talk to you, that she is still a hoot and that she is in the best place possible and sounds as if she she is well loved by many. Stay strong.

  28. Leslie in Oregon

    My heart with with you, Sue, as you help take care of your mother from afar. The pandemic imposes impossible barriers upon families whose members do not live close to each other. I well remember what it was like when my children, who live in New York and California, were trying to connect with their gravely-ill father (my husband) in Oregon last summer. When they ultimately took the risks involved in flying here, they joined me in facing hospital regulations that were a constant and ever-changing challenge (even though he was in a cancer hospital where there were no COVID-19 patients). It was the nurses who teamed with us to make it work., and for them I will ever be grateful. It is clear that you have done a magnificent job figuring out how to best help your mother since she went to the hospital, and I commend you mightily for that. She is in good hands, both where she is and with you as her advocate. I will be thinking of both of you as you navigate her future. And I am very glad you have the resources available in Canada to do that. 😘Leslie

  29. Dear Sue,
    Thank you for sharing your vulnerability concerning long distance care of your mum. Relying on others to extend care is fraught with danger and your love is certainly winning the day. Your kindness undoubtedly brings assurance to your mom, you and your sisters.
    When I shared a similar story concerning my mum to a dear friend, she replied, “Oh, she has the dwindles”. This simple diagnosis was a solace as my sister and I threaded our way through her last years. May it be so for you.
    Hugs from Diney on Camano Island

  30. So hard being far away – I’m about 2,500 miles from my mom. She’s near my brother and doing well at 98!!! She doesn’t really understand all that’s going on with COVID, thankfully, but is calm and seems to be doing well health wise. Amazing.

    Thinking of you and praying for your mom and family members.

  31. So sorry to hear about your mom, Sue. Sending prayers and hugs your way. It must be so frustrating not to be able to be with her. Happy for you that you and your sisters have each other. Sounds like your mom is getting wonderful care.

  32. My Father lived in Nova Scotia and the first time he was hospitalized was due to an accident, the second time was illness and with me here in Ontario pre Covid, I could easily hop on a plane to be near him. I understand that ‘pull’ to be close and my heart goes out to you, your Sisters and families Sue. Our Health care professionals are true heroes and I’m glad to hear your Mum is getting such good care and is responding. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you all.

  33. I have no idea why I get your posts/emails a day later but that seems to consistently be the case so I am late to the party with my comment. Last year I was in the same sort of mess…..even though it was a local hospital NO ONE was allowed in to visit. The one thing that made it bearable is the magic of FaceTime. We were able to get an older iPhone into the hospital and the Nurses/Social Workers/ Occupational Therapists all helped with making those FaceTime calls. Wishing for you that your Mom continues to improve…..sending lots of Hugs and Love

    1. Thanks, Lauren. Just to explain about the emails. They go out at 8:00 AM eastern time the morning after I publish a new post. So this one went out the same day you wrote the comment. Depending on where you live, and your time zone, I guess you don’t see them until the evening.

  34. Thinking of you and your family. I’ve been there, as likely most of us “women of a certain age” have. No new reasons, but I am having some down days. I force myself to read, walk, eat. I even started working on our taxes. I put away the 1500 piece, unfinished puzzle that has been residing on my dining room table since the impeachment trial. Now the table is full of tax forms and documents. Not a big improvement!
    Take care.

    1. Oh gad, impeachment and taxes… hard to choose between those. At least you can move the taxes forward, unlike the other. Here’s hoping that we all have more up days than down as the weather changes.

  35. Hugs to you, Sue. And I’ll pass along a bit of Latin wisdom I was reminded of this morning, somewhere in social media: Solvitur ambulando or “It is solved by walking” — sometimes loosely rendered as Walking Solves Everything. Not quite true, obviously, and it’s not going to help your mom (although I do hope she gets back to her circuits round that kitchen island ;-). . . but it’s a big part of what’s holding me together these days. . .

  36. ChristineCascadia

    When I started to read your post, I was reminded of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”. Your mom is now getting an abundance of caring attention and social interaction. That, in itself, powerful medicine.
    I hope you are blessed with some sunny, bright Spring days for long, stress reducing walks.

  37. Oh dear, this is so hard. I’m struck by the contrasting health care systems – although the nurses were 99% great during both of my parents’ hospital stays, the administrative stuff was horrific. And we could be right there, doing it all long distance would be beyond terrible!

    Good luck to your whole family and may spring come for all of us.

    ceci

    1. I think part of the difference is that we don’t really have to deal with admin staff or insurance companies. That is so relieving in itself.

  38. YOUR DEAR MOTHER SOUNDS LIKE THE LADY I HAVE ON THE BLOG THIS WEEK………..she is fighting CANCER AGAIN for the 4th TIME!
    Bless your MUM I have a step mother who will be 87 in APRIL and still lives alone and walks every day…………..the house is a bit dusty but who cares!
    What have I been up too?Not keeping up with you HERE thats for sure!Your posts take some time to read and I always RED FLAG them for LATER!Well, Later never comes so I must STOP THAT NONSENSE!Spring has sprung but its still chilly!Well, not as chilly as your HOME but chilly for us CALIFORNIANS!
    I am still waiting to get the Covid shot seems I have fallen through the CRACKS!As people younger than me are done with SHOT TWO!Maybe the longer it takes the better the VACCINE WILL BE?HA!
    I ADORE SPRING AND ITS BLOOMING AROUND ME!!!
    AND YES NURSES ARE THE BEST!!!!!

    1. Ha. I do go on a bit in my posts. Can’t resist side tracks into one story or another. Just like in the classroom. Hoping you get your COVID shot soon, Contessa.

  39. Thinking of you, Sue, and hoping your mom makes a good recovery. It sounds as if she is receiving excellent care. All of the worries of having elderly parents in frail health can be overwhelming when overlaid with the pandemic situation. I have had this experience in the past year as well, and feel a great deal of empathy for you.

    Hoping that you will soon be able to make that trip to New Brunswick!

  40. So sorry your mom is in this situation before you have been vaccinated. Nurses are awesome when they’re good and not overwhelmed and it sounds like your mom is in great hands. I hope that a way for you to visit her materializes, soon, and if not, that she remains in such good spirits. xoxox

  41. So sorry to read about your mom. It’s always difficult at best to try and attend to the necessary things long distance-not to mention the helpless feeling of not being able to be there with our loved ones. I lost my mom and mom in law in 2020 and it was heart wrenching! With COVID rules, I really thought it couldn’t get any tougher as we planned my moms funeral. Only to find out that 2 months later mom in laws health crisis and passing was just as heart wrenching and we could not travel the nearly 3000 miles to say our goodbyes to her. I’m grateful they both lived long healthy lives, and lived life til their final days the way they chose to…they were both incredibly strong, independent women. It sounds like your mom is getting excellent care and hopefully you and your sisters can all visit her soon!

  42. Oh no Sue!
    I’ve just read today…I’ve been away … I’ve been babysitting my 3 yo granddaughter as my daughter gave birth to her son. Too long a story to go into and with flippin Covid concerns.
    Your story sounds too familiar with my MIL..who lived in BC. We were fortunate my SIL lived near her.
    Take care my friend and wishing your mom well!

  43. Hello and a big hug and smile for you from the Land of Elvis! Your mom is blossoming in the hospital thanks to the wonderful care and attention; what a blessing in disguise, isn’t it?! Hope you feel uplifted by your followers and glad you have all this support! 😉

    1. Mum’s hospitalization truly is a blessing in disguise, Nan. Especially since she obviously needed intervention. And I do feel uplifted by all the reader support. Thanks to everyone.

      1. You are welcome! Some days… upping our style, being able to focus on a good read, appreciating a glimpse of the beauty in nature on a walk, venting to friends… go a long way to getting us through these challenges.

  44. Seeing your parent deteriorate is truly like walking through wilderness in high heels. It’s a slippery slope to navigate. I’m so glad to hear that the nursing staff were helpful and understanding (yes, I’m a nurse). My mother had Alzheimers and the journey through her illness and death destroyed our family relations. I essentially buried some of my siblings with her. I hope you all navigate this intact. Lately I’m focusing on redefining myself as I adjust to retirement. A bigger challenge than I thought. Will keep you I’m my thoughts. Best to you and your mom

    1. That is a great analogy, Kat. I am so sorry that you lost other family as well as losing your mum. Such a difficult thing to go through. We feel so lucky that Mum is still Mum despite her physical frailty.

    2. Kat, how well I understand the death of familial ties due to rifts created during parental illness/death. Losses are quite complex, aren’t they? We never expect retirement to entail reinvention of self, on top of it. Oh, the fun of ageing!

  45. Suzanne Richards

    Hi Sue
    I always feel that when you treat others with respect and kindness you will receive the same from them. I’m sure that in your dealings with your mums carers and hospital staff you have been respectful, and especially patient (medical staff being so overworked at the moment), and this is why they have been so kind in helping you deal with the situation from such a distance. It really sounds like your mum is in the best possible place at the moment and although you can’t be there, it must be a relief for you and your sisters to know that. Sending happy thoughts to you all 😊

  46. Hi Sue, so sorry that I’ve only just seen this. It’s obviously such a worrying and stressful time for you … sending hugs! Hearing that your mum is being a hoot is a huge positive. ( important to know she’s being cheery and feels well looked after) As is her being cared for by nurses and other staff , who care enough to communicate clearly with you. Once the initial next of kin issue was clarified.
    Good communication is especially important at the moment when family are unable to visit. Great that your nieces are near though.
    I have been through similar, often frustrating long distance calls a few years ago, when my mum was in hospital. Including a call to say that she was being discharged one evening by taxi … to an empty house, in the winter, no heating on and no food in the fridge etc. As no one had been given any advance notice. She was in her eighties and no discharge plan was in place! No family near enough to be there to prepare the house and be with her. I was an almost four hour drive away. When I complained, her Consultant told me that he would tell my mum that it was my fault she wasn’t going home as I didn’t want her to!! 😫
    So glad that your experience is a more positive one!
    Take care, thinking about you and your mum.
    Rosie xxxx

  47. I’m so sorry to hear about this, Sue. It brings back memories of my mother trying to provide long-distance care and help for her own mother, who was living in her own home at 99 years of age. I hope your mom “gets back up” and is able to return home.

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