Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

This is the Missouri History Museum (where we were when I received the call mentioned below).

When I was little my Mom would make dinner for us all and before eating we would all have to say what we were thankful for. I always hated it. I'd usually be thankful for stuff like this:

1) I'm thankful I don't have to sit next to my brother this year

2) I'm thankful that we have food to eat

3) I'm thankful that this will be over soon

4) I'm thankful that Aunt So-and-so isn't too drunk to stand up

Now, at my age, I realize how important it is to recognize what we're thankful for and not take things for granted. I also have a hard time not thinking about what happened 4 years ago around this time of the year. My Mom was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), oh I don't know maybe 8 years or so ago. She also has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, Type II Diabetes, as well as some other stuff. In short, she's in and out of the hospital quite often. However, I can count on my hand how many times I've gotten a call from the doctor saying "Family should get to the hospital as soon as possible to say their final goodbyes". It's actually happened 2 times, just so you know.

Four years ago I received that kind of call. Binderclips and I were in St. Louis on a surprise birthday trip I planned for him. We were at a museum when I received the call. As I walked around the museum and struggled to hear what the doctor was saying I remember hearing the words "septic shock" and "not stable" several times. He proceeded to tell me that "We are keeping her breathing by hand right now, she's so unstable that we can't even intubate her." I was in shock. I also remember feeling absolutely helpless. We live 12-13 hours (drive-wise) away from my parents, but that day I felt like I was a million miles away from them.

Binderclips and I got there as soon as we could, which, wasn't until the next day. Thank goodness she was strong enough to make it through the night. However, when I got there the person I saw laying there did not resemble my Mom in any way, shape, or form. It was terrifying. My Mom was swollen to what seemed like 2 times her normal size. So swollen, in fact, that her eyes were swollen shut. The heartbreak I felt the moment I walked into the room is indescribable. I felt like this was it, we were going to lose her for sure this time.

As I stayed by her bedside day and night holding her swollen, lifeless hand, so many thoughts drifted in and out of my head: What if she passes away? What if she passes away and I don't get to tell her that I love her again? How will I ever survive without her? I cried almost constantly. It was devastating. I needed her, she couldn't leave me now, I just wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.

It wasn't until about 4 days later that she was stable again and it was 11 days until they started to take her off the paralytic to see if she would even come out of it at all. At about 13 days later, she began to open her eyes. It was amazing. We hadn't lost her, she was going to make it. Well, she did make it and she's continued to impress all of us with her determination and stubbornness. She is a strong woman and she's my Mom and I am soo proud of her.

You might be asking yourself why I'm sharing a story like this with you at such a thankful time in the year. Well, I share it with you because that situation helped me realize that I need to not have any regrets. I almost call my parents daily to tell them I love them and it's on very rare occasion that I get angry about anything. That situation taught me to be thankful for the people in my life, thankful that they are a part of it and continue to be. This extends to you guys as well. I can't thank you enough for being a part of my life. Even though you're out there in blog world I appreciate you and all the lessons I learn and/or laughs I get from reading your blogs.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be back to blogging on Monday.

Later gators!!


  1. Is thanks giving always on a Thursday.

    Anyhow, have a good one. Eat well and remember the sweat pants. No day that one consumes half ones weight, is a day one should be thinking sexy.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. You've helped me make a decision about where I'm spending the day tomorrow. Blessings to you and yours! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. What a great lesson for everyone... so easy to forget the really important things in life: family, friends, people.

  4. I'm thankful that your story had a happy ending (I was really worried there at first). It's so good to hear that your mom fought through that situation and made it. Very inspiring! :o)

  5. Nice story, I'm glad your mother pulled through and you were able to be there--I haven't lived near my parents since high school (they moved out of the country when I was in college and when they came back, I was moving to far parts of this country). Now they are older, I worry about those calls. Especially since my mother suffers from alzehemiers. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving

  6. I love your story and thank you for sharing! You're very lucky to have your mom! You're also very lucky to recognize what you have to be thankful for! There are people out there who don't know!

    xo Susie

  7. Vince: Apparently up until 2 years into President FD Roosevelt's term Thanksgiving was observed on the last Thursday of November (since 1863 when that day was declared a National Holiday by President Lincoln). However, after some concerns about the impact to the economy if Thanksgiving was on the last Thursday of November (most people waited to do Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving, therefore the earlier the better for business leaders apparently), FDR moved it to the 2nd to last Thursday in November. So, yes it's always on a Thursday. :)

    I made sure to bring my sweatpants with me thanks to your reminder! Thanks again! :)

    Kernut the Blond: You're welcome, it was my pleasure to share it. Binderclips didn't like this post because he thought it was negative, but the lesson in it is positive (I think). Glad I could help! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    Carolyn: Thank you! That's why I reminded myself of it, trying to make sure I don't forget it. :)

    Sassy Sassy: Thanks! I think she's very inspiring also. :)

    Sage: Thanks so much! That must be really hard. I will keep you and your parents in my thoughts. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. :)

    Susie: Thank you for reading it and for the compliments! My heart goes out to those that have lost a parent, it must be devastating - but at least we can take with us the lessons they have shared with us. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Wow. God bless your mom! I love hearing these stories about people defying all the doctor's predictions.

    And yes...I also live by the "no regrets" rule. It's a golden one.