Monday, December 29, 2008

Saturday was such a tough day. It was the day the 5 of us were heading home. We learned the night before that my mom was probably going to be moved from the surgery ICU (because she didn't have any and wouldn't need it) to the general ICU. When we showed up Saturday morning, we discovered that sure enough she was moved. We found the waiting room and read all of the signs for visiting hours. We were thrilled that we made it between the two no visitor times which were 6:30am-8:30am (much like the other one) and 10am-11am. We were there at 9am and we needed to be at the airport at 10am. The only problem was that nobody was answering the door. It was so frustrating. The other ICU was the best. They really got to know us and would let us stay most times through visiting hours. Jeff finally found some random lady in an office to help us. She went into the ICU and talked to the people there. They let us visit. My mom was actually the first room by the door which made it nice. She was definately different than the night before. She was responding very little. I would see her eye opened just a little on and off. We all got our turns and then decided to sneak Gunnar in. He knows that grandma is in the hospital, she is hurt and resting (imagine him stretching his arms above his head-he does it everytime). My mom didn't open her eyes but she did wave at Gunnar with her hand and Gunnar grabbed it and rubbed it. He kept saying, "gama awake!". It was kind of funny because we were also trying to keep him somewhat quiet. He gave her a kiss and we were on our way. My mom looked really good. She yanked her feeding tube out that night and did not have an oxygen tube in. She looked like grandma resting. My dad said that she remained the same the entire day. My mom understands that we all left so I don't blame her at all for being so sad and/or depressed. I would too knowing that family and friends are so far away. My dad also struggled the entire day. We love both of them so much and it was no easier leaving them ourselves.

Our flight home was pretty uneventful and actually so perfect and efficient. We were all hoping that the Portland leg of the flight would be cancelled and we would be heading straight to Boise like Dan and Ren did. Unfortunately that did not happen to us. Boarding the plane in Sacramento was insane. We thought that we had about a half before anything happened, so we all took turns getting our food. When I got back from getting ours, Jeff, Gunnar and Heidi were already boarding and Mindy was standing there at the front of the line waiting for me. Everyone was on the plane and seated in record time. We ended up getting to Portland ahead of schedule and had to wait a few minutes for some of the planes to leave before we could pull in. Those that needed to got off the plane and more boarded. The flight was packed! We arrived in cold Boise on time.It is so crazy to me how a plane can land on snow. When we landed Gunnar immediately said, "go on bus." We were amazed that he remembered the shuttle bus that we had to get on in Sacramento in order to pick up the rental cars. He loved that experience despite the crazy driver that we had. I so miss Sacramento weather and my parents of course.

Now that we are home, I can somewhat understand others feelings of helplessness. It has been so hard to be home when I know that my dad has to carry all of the responsibility of being physically with my mom by himself. Before we all shared it, forcing all of us to take a break at times. We loved sharing the responsibility. We loved being together as family. The day will come when we can all help again.

Yesterday my dad was pretty depressed arriving at the hospital. He was pretty sure that my mom would be in the same mood. To his surprise she was pretty alert. Both of her eyes were open. She was pretty responsive the entire day. My dad have her the Ipod earbuds to use and he used his new Bose headphones. He later realized that she had shoved them so far in one ear they were worried that they could not get it out. She is now only allowed to use the Bose headphones. My mom also hugged my dad the best that she knows how. Talking to my mom is like playing 20 questions. A nurse in the other ICU suggested that we make a picture board for her, which is still a great idea. Anyway, my dad ran through the common topics like family, church, finances, etc and she said no to all of them. He asked her if she was in pain and that was it. Weeks ago, my mom had complained to me about her left leg hurting. I told her that she needed to get it checked out if it hurt that bad. She never did before we left. We told the neurologist this and he had an ultrasound done on it. She has some sort of cyst on her leg bone, I am assuming it is the bone. So my dad massaged it for a while. Her blood pressure is now much lower. Such a good sign.

Today my dad said the speech therapist was in. Right now she is really focusing on swallowing with my mom. She had my mom drinking apple juice and eating applesauce. They are going to try having my mom eat purees and taking medications crushed instead putting the feeding tube back in. My mom really does not like that tube in her nose. I don't blame her but it is something that she needs. The therapist had my mom singing Happy Birthday and Row, Row, Row your boat (I think that was the song). He was told that stroke patients can sing but not speak words for some reason. Really interesting. The therapist was asking my mom if she new that her last name was Hollingsworth. My dad said that she just had this blank reaction. The therapist then asked her if she new that my dad was her husband. Same response. After the therapist left my dad asked her if she knew that he was her husband, she nodded yes. My dad then asked her why she did that with the therapist, my mom shrugged. How frustrating. Now my dad is questioning whether she really knows him or not. She may know that he is important to her but not the relationship. Who knows right now. She was also asked if she lived in Idaho. She didn't know where she lived. The only way that my mom will be coming home is by responding to the therapists.

My dad is so frustrated that she is not home. He spent a great deal of time today arguing with some hospital lady about bringing her home. Their plan is to move her into a hospital in downtown Sacramento where they have better rehab facilities. That is another 20 minutes away and my dad is losing patients the further she gets from home. He wants her home so bad where the majority of his kids and help are. Where all of my mom's/family's friends are. Home where there are SO many people that are willing to help be with her. She is SO loved. I do know that much. So many people have expressed great concern for her and our family. I am greatful for everyone. Something that I have learned from all of this is that sometimes in life you just have to accept others service. It is so easy in life to serve others but when the tables are turned, it is so hard. Someone at church asked if they could bring us dinner. I told her that would be great since we got home and had to pretty much throw out most of our fridge's contents because it was bad. I told her that we have had to really learn to accept service from others. She told me that she knows that what she was doing for us did not even compare to the amounts of service that my mom has given to others. She was right. My mom has served SO many people. I am not just talking those in her ward, I am also thinking of those through family (both sides), friends, work, anyone really. My mom is all about serving others and making sure that their needs were met before her own.

These next few weeks will be very trying and very telling as to the improvements that my mom makes. She will continue to need all the prayers that she can get. We just need her to improve enough right now to get her home.

9 clever remarks:

Adria Lewis (6th Ward) said...

Robin is definitely in all of our prayers! She seems just as feisty as ever, it's just not showing as much as before. I'm sure if she could've she would have told the therapist "Of course I know my name. Of course I know who my husband is!" That makes me smile. Sometimes when someone has a stroke they forget things like that, but not her! She does need to cooperate, but it's so like her to be feisty like that. I am extremely hopeful for her and all of your family. Things will be different, but no less enjoyable. Hang in there!

The Price Family said...

I feel for your Dad and the rest of you. In the NICU one of the parents had to be there if anyone else was to be there so that left all the responsibility to me. You feel guilty when you're not there. I couldn't even let my mom go when I wasn't because she couldn't be there with out me or Toby. Just stay strong. It's nice that you girls all live close to eachother!

AMY AND MIKEY said...

I am so sorry, and my whole family has been praying for you and your mom. I just caught up on all your posts, and you sound like you are really stable and strong, and faithful. We are all praying for your entire family. We love you.

JT42 said...

I cannot imagine how this must be for you and your family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your insight on accepting service, it can be trying, but it's how it should be...I'm sure you'll still find ways to give back inspite of all you'll be given!! thinking of you often...

Anonymous said...

I work with your Mom. She is such a joyful spirit around here. She always brings yummy food to share for our pot lucks and just because. I will really miss her smiling face. My hopes and prayers are with you all. All my love, Tracy Verbanac

Sharon/mom said...

Thank you Kristi for doing this. I know it is hard. We appreciate it so much as a family, Steve doesn't want to bug your dad too much, but at the same time wants to be there for him. so it helps to have your site to keep abreast of what is happening w/o bothering your dad all the time. We love you all so much and your sweet mother. I hope you can get her home soon so that all those sweet people that your mom has served can love her and give back to her.

Kristen said...

I was in the 6th ward with your parents and I worked with your Mom in Relief Society! I am praying for you, your family and your Mom. Your Mom is such an amazing example of faith and service! Please know how much we all care and will do anything we can!

Robert and Hannah said...

It must be so hard to be away from your mom and dad. I can not imagine what you are going through. I am glad that your mom is improving. The time I met her she seemed like an amazing person. What a blessing it is that your dad was home during this time. Heavenly Father is definately with your family. We love you guys and are here for you!

Trenton & Maren said...

I just want you to know that I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you the best possible journey through this and the best possible outcome. I cannot imagine the struggles for everyone, but it is wonderful that Heavenly Father blessed us with families- immediate, extended, ward, etc. What a wonderful support our families can be! Thank you for keeping everyone updated.