by DeLora Frederickson
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The next week was basically us at the hospital all day and one of her caregivers there overnight.
The private hospitals here are all very small. I think there were less than 10 rooms in this hospital and only 2 of them were full when my mom was there. She got really great care in Hospital Mac.
We saw the doctors everyday, called and talked to them anytime we needed to. It was amazing.
She started out eating papilla (blended) foods. Either I or a nurse would feed her each meal.
She improved day by day…until day three.
When I came in I knew something was off. She was confundido (confused) and talking gibberish.
I called the doctors, I told the nurses. I KNEW something was off.
The doctors came by…this is normal after a big surgery like this.
NO this is NOT normal.
We have been at the hospital 11 hours. We go home.
Another new doctor, a cardiologist, visits my mom. And her traumatologist calls and says she has a pulmonary embolism. You should come back to the hospital now. She needs a central line to get the medication she needs. The traumatologist thought she would die that night.
Again, I am faced with drawing the line in the sand for her. I have a major meltdown (at home). I cry and rant and rave about being the one to make the decisions about living and dying. At the same time I am trying to get ready to rush out the door to get to the hospital.
The new cardiologist calls. She doesn’t need a central line. Well, thank the ever loving goddess I don’t have to make THAT decision again. I ask him if he thinks she will make it through the night. Of course he says. She is not going to die tonight.
At this point Cat stops me and suggests we not go. She has the doctors, Sophia is there, Juan (one of her favorite caregivers) is there. Cat mentions she might be hanging on when I am close.
We decide to stay home and send Reiki. We did a healing ritual for her.
Sending Reiki to someone is not praying for them ‘to get better.’ Reiki is sent for whatever the person wants to use it for. I felt so grounded and satisfied after we finished.
We text a little with Sophia who eventually also goes home. Juan stays with her overnight.
In the morning we make the short 15 minute drive back to the hospital. She is still sleeping most of the day, but when she is awake she is getting more and more alert and aware of where she is and what is going on. We continue sitting with her day by day.
She was in the hospital a week. The total cost for all the doctors, hospital stay, surgery, supplies, and medications…$7000.00. We don’t have Mexican insurance for her yet and her US insurance doesn’t cover anything down here.
We take her back to Sophia’s. I have rented a hospital bed. She is back in familiar surroundings.
The first day I go over there she is completely unresponsive for the first 90 minutes I am there. I resign myself to ‘this is how it is now.’ I sit with her. Then at some point she just blurts out a totally unrelated word. Then she opens her eyes briefly. She goes in and out of ‘sleep’.
This goes on for the next three weeks. When I visit she is basically sleeping. She cannot keep her eyes open for any length of time. It is depressing and I am sad visiting her and coming home I usually cry.
Her anesthesiologist comes by for a check up. He takes her off of her antidepressant and adds a pain pill.
The next day she is up and talking in her chair when I get there. WHAT? She is ‘back’. We have a relatively on-point conversation.
Day by day she is recovering. She is still confused sometimes. Especially when her oxygen has not been on. She almost gets dementia-like when her blood oxygen level is under 92. This is what makes it so great that I live close. She will call me and I can tell by the conversation how her oxygen level is. Then I can walk over in six minutes and make sure it is back on, she is ‘rescued’ as she likes to call it, and I help her feel safe and comfortable.
This journey continues everyday for me and my Mom. It is a lot of details to keep up with but it is also a lot emotions to process. I have come to accept this is her passing through the end of this life. I am not responsible for her experience. I provide a safe comfortable place for her to be with kind and caring people. I visit her almost everyday.
I have met many of the neighborhood folks since I walk so often – bonus!
As hard as it is, I am grateful to be here for her. There are other ladies that Sophia takes care of that have no family members in Mexico or involved in their care. They get cared for but the love and attention of a family member can be like no other.