It won’t be easy to forget…
But I guess I don’t want to forget… I’ve found my mom unconscious more than a few times since my family and I have moved back home from Austin. This time was different though. The routine usually goes as follows:
Set an alarm for 6:30 AM
Text mom - “Good morning mom how are you feeling today?”
Mom will respond - “Good Morning Mijo, sugar reading is 125. I am OK. Have a super day!! Love you too much!!😘😘😘”
Reply back to mom - “You too mom... I’ll talk to you later on... I love you 💕❤️😘”
If for any reason mom doesn't answer by 6:35 AM then I’ll call her
If she doesn’t answer the phone then I’ll drive over there… and be in her house by 6:45 AM
Monday 6:30 AM - 5/20/2019:
5 minutes passed… Mom hadn’t responded. I called… Mom didn’t answer… I have about 15 minutes to think the worst whenever mom doesn’t answer… Is this going to be it? Where will I find her? What will Dad be doing? How long has she been gone?
Mom has Type 2 Diabetes, and as a result when her blood sugar gets extremely low she suffers from bouts of hypoglycemia. As hypoglycemia worsens, signs and symptoms may include:
Confusion, abnormal behavior or both, such as the inability to complete routine tasks
Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision
Loss of consciousness
People with severe hypoglycemia may appear as if they're intoxicated. They may slur their words and move clumsily. In mom’s case this Monday morning it was loss of consciousness and the inability to speak or walk. Once I was able to wake her up, she still wasn’t able to tell me what was wrong… I didn’t know what to do…
I called 911…
“Your mom is showing all of the clinical symptoms of a stroke” they told me… What!? This can’t be happening… I’ve already lost my Dad (mentally) to Alzheimer’s. Now my mom has had a stroke!?
Negative… All of the test results came back negative for a stroke, but two days in the hospital and mom was still having trouble remembering her birthday, or even what year it was. For some reason she thought it was 1997. She kept insisting that I had brought her to an abandoned building rather than to a hospital. She was just… Off. By day 3, mom thought that she was ready to go home, her memory still had gaps, but she was tired of being in the hospital bed. She hadn’t really asked about dad, and he didn’t ask about her, but when they saw each other in the hospital that night you could see how worried they were about one another:
Dad: “What are you doing?”
Mom: “I’m sick”
Dad: “How do you feel sweetie?”
Mom: “I don’t feel good”
Dad: “How do you feel right now?”
Mom: “I feel bad”
Dad: “Sorta hard, isn’t it?”
She was finally released on the evening of the fourth day. The official diagnosis was… frustrating… “Acute encephalopathy”. I had to look this up:
Encephalopathy is a general term that means brain disease, damage, or malfunction. The major symptom of encephalopathy is an altered mental state. The causes of encephalopathy are numerous and varied; they include infections, anoxia, metabolic problems, toxins, drugs, physiologic changes, trauma, and other causes.
Mom is a strong lady. She’s been getting steadily stronger by the day. With a combination of home health visits, and my checking on her numerous times throughout the day she is doing her best to control her blood sugar, so that she does not “crash” and suffer any further memory loss, or damage to her brain. We had to move dad back to the Veterans Home… As much as she loves him… Trying to be his full time caregiver is just way too much for her. Honestly it is just way too much for any one person.
When I think back on the 2 years that have passed since my family and I moved back home to be close to my parents… I think… So much has changed, and it’s taken a toll on all of us… Mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally… . When I really think about it…
It’s sorta hard… Isn’t it?