CHAPTER 16 Care To The Skill Of Nurses

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

"I don't know what to do with all these feelings."


Today was the day to move Mom from the Hospital to the skilled care facility so she could recover from her surgery. It amazed me that you could get your gut cut open and in a day or two be leaving the Hospital. The Hospital Doctors didn't believe we should take her home at all. They didn't think we were equipped or capable of providing the type of care Mom needed. But there was a part of both Dad and I that wanted to bring her home. We didn't know what to do. We weren't the experts.

The Hospital also recommended chemotherapy as the only solution for fighting Mom's cancer. Chemo was an outpatient procedure. I rolled my eyes. So basically you put your body through agony, killing off everything in there, and you get to do it in the comfort of your own home.

Why be at the Hospital when you can throw-up and fall apart at home. How exciting.

I never liked the idea of chemo. It felt wrong. My gut said it was bad. I understood that it had helped save some people's lives. But everything we heard from people who had either gone through it, or had loved ones go through it, had been bad. Really bad.

No one we talked to, besides the Hospital's Doctors had said, "Yeah, chemo is the answer. It's the only way to go!" with huge smiles on their face.

We were already cautious with the Hospital Doctors. So when they all gathered together like a team and pointed at chemo on the white board it didn't exactly warm our hearts with confidence. We were skeptical and rightly so.

Mom's Cousin, Tim, whom she considered a brother, came down to visit Mom at the Hospital. He brought his wife, Beth, who was a nurse at a skilled care facility up north. They'd be the first visitors outside our immediate family to see her. We had lunch with them first before we all went to visit Mom at the Hospital.

Beth was amazing to watch with Mom. You knew she was incredible at her job because of the way she handled Mom. She was so patient and her whole being radiated genuine kindness. I wish I had a smidgen of Beth's abilities. It would have saved me so much time and heartache. Though I'm not sure Mom would have been any more cooperative with me. She might with Beth. But not me. I was the one who didn't measure up. I was the failed daughter.

We started packing up all Mom's stuff in the Hospital room. Beth was a trooper and started helping Mom put her socks on. I watched Beth in awe. She was so calm, explaining to Mom what she was doing and getting Mom's cooperation too. Beth showed me tricks of how to get the socks and shoes on easily. Anyone with a child, or elderly, and has had to attempt to put socks and shoes on knows this is not a simple task.

I kept thinking, "She makes it look so easy."

But I knew it wasn't easy, because I'd spent months failing with Mom up on the hill and had never come close to a Beth's talents.

The Hospital came up with a wheelchair and Mom got in. It was time to leave one sterile world for another. They wheeled her to the front of the Hospital, while my Brother and I walked to his car. We'd leave Dad's car here and take my Brother's car over to the care facility. My Brother was all jacked up on emotions.

"Hey.." I said.

"What?" my Brother asked.

"Relax. Everything is going to be okay. Take a breath. We're only taking Mom over to the facility," I said.

"Okay," he said.

But I could see it in his eyes. They were wild. Yep. He was jacked up pretty high on nerves.

I rode with Tim and Beth and we followed in the car behind the one that carried the other half of my life. We were going to a place we'd never been before. It felt alien to me and wrong.

Why would we be dropping Mom off with strangers?


Because they're a medical facility, it makes it okay?

But again, this is what the Doctor's suggested and they knew more than we did. They would know what the best thing to do for us was. They were the smart people, the experts.

Once we arrived at the skilled care facility, Dad went in to get her signed in. We said goodbye to Tim and Beth. It was time for them to head back home. My Brother and my Mom waited in his car. I stood by the car, and talked to my Brother. Mom was still doped up on morphine from the surgery the day before.

Maybe fifteen minutes later Dad came out with a wheelchair. We loaded Mom up again and wheeled her down another long hallway, into her new room. She had two other roommates on either side of her, both older women.

The last time I'd been in a skilled care facility, I was a teenager. We'd visited the elderly to help spread cheer and compassion. I remember the place smelled like disinfectant and urine. It was sad to see all the people there, their faces somewhat lifeless. I hadn't wanted to visit another place like that again. Of course I had when my Grandma had been in a facility. But as far as I was concerned, all the places had the same feeling. There was nothing uplifting or inspiring about any care facility I'd ever walked into.  Every single one of them felt like walking into hopeless.

Dad helped Mom into her new bed. When I look at her again, she was there with people on either side of her. The emotions swelled up in my throat. I couldn't stand it. She didn't belong here. This wasn't where she was supposed to end up and it broke me.

I stood against the wall opposite her room, in the hallway, with tears running down my face. I couldn't take it. I turned away and cried into a cold wall. Everything was too much and it was killing me. I was dying right here in this stupid hallway in the hopeless place of silent screams. I didn't know what else to do.

My Brother stood to my left. He was silent. I might be the only one crying but I knew he didn't like it either. I could bet money, my Dad didn't like it. He was back in "Military Mode" going through the motions of getting her checked in, and making sure she was okay. He would deal the emotional fallout later. Maybe.

Mom looked fine. But I wasn't sure she was fine. Her new roommates all seemed very nice and I was glad about that. But this was my Mom and we'd be leaving her here. I'd be leaving my Earth in this godforsaken Hell. She would be alone, without the people that knew and loved her.

Why would this be the right thing to do?

I took a photo of Mom in her bed, clutching the get well cards that Tim and Beth had given her. She lay there silent with eyes closed. I didn't want to leave her. I don't think any of us did.



Mom had visitors. Her Cousin Tim & wife Beth (registered R.N.) came to visit. They took my Dad, brother & I out to lunch.

And then we got to see Beth in action with Mom. Amazing! She was phenomenal with Mom! Made Dad & the rest of us look like dummies! Lol

They are keeping Mom pretty sedated because of the surgery..they don't want her torquing the sutures. So she is very out of it.

She was discharged from the hospital and moved to a care facility recommended by the hospital.

Tough to see here in such a place.

Tough...this whole thing.

Dad stayed and made sure Mom was okay in new place. She even ate some dinner.

She has 2 roommates. Very nice women. And when Dad left they were all deep in conversation. Lol

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