96 years old. A broken leg. Internal bleeding. An endoscopy. A mass in her stomach. Four transfusions. 3 1/2 hours of surgery to repair the leg by putting in a plate, under general anesthesia. Possible stomach cancer. Morphine causing itching which made her scratch her face for more than ten days. (No one figured this out until the last days.) Horrible pain whenever anyone moved her. Some cursing. This to a lovely, Orthodox Jewish nurse who came to clean her up:
Mother: “Go to hell and get out of here.”
Nurse: “Helen, I don’t want to go to hell. It’s very hot.”
Mother: “Well, then go somewhere else and leave me alone.”
And now she’s back in room 509 at her nursing home, exactly two weeks from when she went into the E.R. at Maimonides Hospital. I can tell you that it was an extremely difficult two weeks, I was pretty sure this was going to be it, and we’re still waiting for the stomach biopsy results. But I have a friend whose father is, I believe, 103 – and he just found out he’s got pancreatic cancer and it hasn’t killed him yet. I think that there’s no way we’re going to live this long. We’ve ingested and breathed in too many toxins.
Anyway – it was a roller coaster ride, each day not knowing what we were going to hear next and yet somehow my mother is not ready to go.
So this weekend, once my mother got settled in, I have to say that I had a fantastic time, making up for the stress of the past two weeks. I went to two parties on Friday night and danced till one in the morning and then today, my group of women from Mama Gena got together to perform our tribute to Mama Gena (re-written lyrics to the song “Mamma Mia.”) We had a ball. We all love seeing each other and rehearsing, then performing our song to an audience that enjoys it and then going out to catch up on each other’s lives over sangria’s and margaritas. (And quesadillas. What can be wrong when you have Mexican food?)
It was an excellent weekend. My mother’s back home, the weather is extraordinary, I got to dance and sing and we had so much fun! Saturday night was a low point, but I called my friend O, who is dealing with lymphoma and we had a long, lovely talk.
I am grateful for all the good that is in my life. Next Sunday Steve is leaving for a month in California and then Zoe is going out on June 14th to explore living in San Francisco. Big changes. Sometimes I feel very sad and I also have had some wonderful times as well. Even with all the stress and all the emotions, I feel more alive than I have in years. And – I can fit into my skinny jeans.
Next comes bringing in money. That’s the next big challenge.