Mom

mom

My Mom passed away Mar 15, 2009, she was 56 years old. It was not expected although she was “sick”. So, I’ve been avoiding writing when I just got back into writing. But I think I can write about it now.
My Mom had been “sick” for some time. I’ll start from the beginning…as she and I had both looked at it. When I was 18 Mom went to a new Dr. who immediately noticed something wrong with her heart. She’d had a heart murmur since birth but no Dr ever mentioned it would cause any Serious issues. She was scheduled for open heart surgery within two weeks of that Dr appt. They removed her mitral valve and replaced it with her pulmonary valve and then they placed a “donor” valve where her pulmonary valve was. It was a newer procedure by a Dr here in STL at BJ Hospital.
Ever heard about people receiving donor organs and then coming out of surgery a different person? That was my Mom…and she knew she was different.
We grew up with my Mom paying the bills the day they came in the mail (if we had the money) and paying off her credit card bill every month. She saved for a trip to Maui without my Dad even knowing before. She was so careful with her money…
As soon as my Mom was able to get out of the house after the first surgery, we went shopping at the Mall. I remember pushing her around in her wheelchair. I don’t remember how much we spent…but we also bought a new car that day…yes, a new car….that day! Her other car was a stick shift and she figured she’d be able to drive again faster if she had an automatic…so we bought one.
She continued to spend a lot…
It seemed pretty immediate that she started having knee pains of some sort…although they seemed like nerve pains that also hurt her knee. The Dr gave her a partial knee replacement. Her knee was never the same.
6-12 months later she was experiencing severe endometriosis and had to have surgery. During surgery, the Dr performed a hysterectomy.
Okay, so not only had that first heart surgery changed her personality, not just her spending habits, she was a different person, I called the other person Maude. Maude wasn’t as wonderful as my Mom…
I think it was just all of the constant pain she experienced that made her an angry person. But sometimes my Mom came back. And I can say without hesitation that there was no nicer person than my Mom. She was an amazing mother and friend. She would help anyone, give them the shirt off of her back…I’m serious….you just don’t understand what a wonderful person she was. I didn’t have those irritating teenage years with her…thats how wonderful.
But all of these surgeries…and my brothers issues too….just changed her…and she was so miserable and in pain.
She had to have open heart surgery again about 6 or so years ago. And this time, they replaced that funky Leaking! valve with a mechanical valve. So my Mom ticked….if you listened very, very closely…I had to lay by her. And this completely freaked her out…as you can imagine. And she didn’t want to have that second heart surgery…she knew the first one had started the decline in her health. Before all of this she worked out 3-4 days a week and like I said, was so happy and wonderful.
Things seemed to continue downward…She had pains no one could diagnose and she went to more than a few new doctors. They finally diagnosed her with fibromyalgia and congestive heart failure. She and my Dad moved to Atlanta for a few years for his job and things only got worse there.
They moved back around here a year ago to be closer to her parents (My grandma is in a nursing home and my grandpa is 88 years old and thinks he’s 25).
And, in the last month or so…things got worse…she was having almost constant chest pains and other pains too. She could not walk without a walker. She couldn’t sleep….or sometimes she slept for days.
She was miserable…and told me so. She was not afraid of dying. She was so tired of not knowing what was wrong and not getting the care she deserved. And I guess….a few days before she died things got worse but she refused to see anyone…I think she knew….she was at that point having some stomach issues too…and was scheduled for an MRI…but died before it could happen. She didn’t want another heart surgery. I know that for sure. Apparently, during heart surgery, they wrangle you around quite a bit, you know, with having to break open the rig cage and all…and I’ve heard that it can cause nerve damage also by being in a weird position for so long. So she knew she just couldn’t go through that….no matter how much I begged her.
My Dad went in to check on her Sunday morning b/c she had been completely out of it the day before (talking to dead relatives, and other things). And he found her, on the floor next to the bed, covered up with a pillow under her head. Her eyes were open. That gets me, you know, I pray that something during her death caused them to open and that she didn’t die while she was laying there awake…I really, really hope she was asleep. 😦 The cause of death, congestive heart failure, they didn’t do an autopsy.
And that’s all I can say right now. This was harder than I thought it would be.

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3 Responses to “Mom”

  1. No Minimom Says:

    Aww, I’m thinking about you, girl.

  2. Rebecca Says:

    I’m just wandering around the expanse of Internet and stumbled across your website here. I’m always at a loss for words when I read about someone passing away, but of course, offer my sympathies.
    Thats sad she dealt with so many medical issues without a clear solution. In this day and age, one would think our medical advancements could do something………..
    Hang in there, hopefully writing about her helped.
    Rebecca

  3. Katherine Says:

    Found your site through dooce and wanted to extend my condolences. I’m very sorry for your loss.

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