Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Mom, did you know the word 'down' in Spanish is 'a butt hole'?" Thanks alot Dora.

Have you ever been faced with one of those life changing moments? Every second is precious and pivotal ...  nothing else matters.....and after that, nothing will ever be the same again? Well this is precisely what occured in my life over the past few weeks (and is also the reason it's taken so long to post this)
My Husband and the Teenager were heading off to Israel for a ten day adventure with a group from church. I was staying at home with the rest of our herd (I just got back from a missions trip to India in December and the kiddos weren't ready to let me leave them again so soon.)  My Mom, who the kiddlings lovingly refer to as Grandma Windsor (cause that's where she lives), purposed to stay with me while my Husband and Teenager were away. I never wanted to be a single parent. Looking after the whole herd without my main supports wasn't going to be easy so I took her up on her offer. Grandma Windsor came to our place about three days before my Husband and Teen were scheduled to leave. She wanted to get settled in before the real work began :)
Grandma Windsor seemed to be coming down with a cold just after she arrived. On the night my Husband and the Teenager departed for Israel I realized Grandma Windsor was very sick. She has COPD and often struggles with lung/bronchial issues and uses inhalers regularly but this was different. Her breathing was so laboured that you could see it in her neck and chest. She was struggling. She couldn't walk across the room without having to sit and rest and use an inhaler (which didn't seem to be having any effect anyway). She wasn't sleeping well as she couldn't lay down without coughing and choking. She just sat propped up with pillows and a blanket, coughing and wheezing. I had to check a few times to be sure... you know.... just to be sure the blankets were still rising and falling.
She didn't make it to church with us on Sunday morning and was falling asleep just sitting on the couch. My sister Annette and I tried to convince her to go to the hospital to get checked out. But Grandma Windsor is very stubborn. She didn't want to be a bother and besides, she has inhalers..... "Ya, those really seem to be helping you." I said under my breath.  When we couldn`t persuade her to go to the hospital that evening, I determined to take her to emerg in the morning under protest if I had to. I woke up to find Grandma Windsor propped up on the couch looking exhausted and weak. ├î should have listened to you girls lastnight" she said breathlessly, "I didn't sleep at all lastnight, I just couldn't breathe." she wheezed. "Do you want to go to the hospital?" I asked feeling hopeful. She shook her head yes and started coughing again. "Okay, lets get ready...." I prompted.
We arrived at the hospital and walked part way to the emerg. department.  Grandma Windsor had to stop to catch her breath often and eventually a nurse saw us struggling to make it into the hospital and brought a wheelchair. We were taken in pretty quickly. As soon as the nurse put the oxygen monitor on her the whole emergency department came alive in a flurry of activity. My eyes widened as I saw the oxygen level on the screen....62. "I need the respiratory team to the E.R. stat!" the nurse hollered over the intercom system as she grabbed for an oxygen tank and mask. Mom began to panic as the mask neared her face (she is claustrophobic and can't stand anything covering her face) I quickly explained the dilema and the nurse helped us hold it off her face but close enough to be effective. She was taken to a bed and surrounded by professionals. Her situation was life threatening and after many back to back ventolin treatments, oxygen therapy, xrays, an EKG, and blood tests, she was transferred up to ICU. The doctor told us that she would not have lasted two more hours. She came very close to death and wasn't out of the woods yet. Grandma Windsor has COPD (advanced emphysema) and her xrays showed that she had pneumonia as well. No wonder she was so dangerously sick all of a sudden.
 She was in isolation in ICU and the following week when her situation improved some she was moved to the fourth floor. Her ordeal in hospital lasted ten days or so and during that time she went through many emotions and struggled with many things.... one thing being that she had come down to "help me out" with my little ones while my Husband and Teenager were away in Israel and now ended up needing to be cared for herself.
{I thank God for my family who is always ready to step in and help out when I need them. Thank you for looking after the kiddlings so I could spend time in the hospital with my Mom. And a special thankyou to my incredible step-mom for all that you did for me :) I appreciate you more than you know!}
During her stay in hospital some tough decisions had to be made. Grandma Windsor was no longer able to look after herself and would need some care for a while. She would be coming home on oxygen and there were appointments to be scheduled and arrangments to be made... It was all very overwhelming for her. We moved all Grandma Windsor's things into our home on the Saturday before she was released from the hospital. We set up her room and unpacked her things hoping she would find comfort in having her belongings at hand when she did come home ... to her new home. How quickly things change.... in the blink of an eye your whole world can be turned upside down. The familiar is gone and in it's place are scarey, anxious unknowns.
I experienced many life changing moments while she was in the hospital. Some of which I cannot adequately explain in words but the emotions were there. How does one explain the intensity of emotions felt as you hold your mother against your chest while smoothing her hair with your hand, staring into panicked eyes trying to talk calmly to sooth her as you fight to keep her oxygen mask close enough to her face to keep her alive, or the feeling of her bones through her flesh as you rub her back gently trying to alleviate her pain, shocked at the coolness of her skin and worried about her pale ashen colour. How do you put into words the fear at seeing her stats change, her numbers fall, her levels drop.....seeing her appearance change before your very eyes. We came so close to losing her ... and I'm just not prepared for that yet.
 Listening to the oxygen machine pumping and watching her chest rise and fall randomly, not in a fluid rhythmic motion, seeing her skin pulled tight against her neck as she hungrily struggles for air I sense a shifting. Our roles have changed. No longer is she free to come and go without planning and great forethought, forever chained to her tank of life sustaining air, she is independant but not fully, soberly aware of her new boundaries and limitations. In the blink of an eye - a moment in time - everything changed.
It's funny how trivial and petty things appear to be in light of a serious situation. Things you once thought were such a big deal no longer seem to matter. Priorities you once thought crucial don't seem so important anymore. When you can't breathe, nothing else matters. When someone you love can't breathe, nothing else matters either.
When my Husband and the Teenager returned home from their trip to Israel they weren't at all surprised to see Grandma Windsor's things moved into the house and bedrooms rearranged ... cause that's what families do :)

Here are a few funnies from our house to yours:
* Boneys = what the Baby calls bologna "Mama, I have some boneys?"
* My husband took the van in to the garage one day and left us with the Jeep. My little girlies wanted to go shopping. I explained to them that "we couldn't go shopping today because Daddy has our van and we don't have any baby seats in the Jeep - and that wouldn't be safe!" Latoya piped up and added "Ya, we can't put da Baby da Jeep wit no baby seat. We will crash and da Baby will die and go to Heaven..." Little Susan chimed in "Ya, then we'd have to buy a new Baby!"
* According to Nicholas "Octopus Testicles" (tentacles) are those sticky things on the octopus' legs that grab you.... and people put them in soup too!
* Nicholas was on the ball today when he exclaimed "Hey Mom, if there's a Toy Story 2 & 3....THAT MEANS THERE MUST BE A TOY STORY ONE!
* Little Susan was so sad that Daddy and the Teenager were going away ... on a trip to "Itchy Wool" (Israel)
* Little Susan was rolling around on the carpet when she announced "Mommy look! I'm a snacking turtle!" (snapping turtle's hungry cousin?)
* Thanks to Dora my boys now have a new found love for foreign languages. "Mom, did you know the word down in spanish is a butt hole?" informed Shane (as the others watched my face for a change of expression). It took me a few minutes to look it up and re-educate the boys. Down in spanish is abajo. Pronounced a little differently than they tried to convince me :)


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Have an amazing week!
Blessings to you - from my Fish Bowl to yours :)


  1. For all you fish bowl fans out there I just wanted everyone to know that my wife is not just a great writer but an amazing mom too! She is not only capable of taking care of all our kiddos and growing population of animals, but she always has time for me too! And now even her mommy as well. I love you Lucy! I thank God for you every day!

  2. Hmmmmm...... looks like "someone" is determined to rack up brownie points ..... LOL

  3. You truly are amazing! that's a fact!

  4. I Loved the blog..... It was great! You really are amazing! I Love you so Much! XOXOXOXOXOXOX
    Love ya,
    The Teenager