Christmas 2008

Christmas Day was bittersweet for us...J had to work the breakfast shift and while he was there I got word that J's Mama was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. Pop had awoken to find her listless and "out of it". He couldn't get a coherent word from her so he called 911.

J came home and we drove to the clinic in Poteau where she was (it's not really a full hospital, but more of an urgent care clinic). She has been there twice already this month. The Monday after Thanksgiving she wasn't feeling well and went it. She stayed a week. He CO2 levels were high and her sodium levels were low. With COPD any little cough or cold can spell disaster! So they kept her there a week and determined she was well enough to go home. Two days later she went back. She still wasn't feel well. She stayed another 10 days and now, has been home about a week. Until yesterday.

By the time we got to Poteau (about a 2 hour drive) she was still in admitting. We visited for a bit, one at a time as allowed by the clinic's rules, and stayed a few hours. Mama finally asked us to continue onto Auntie's, since she had planned on all of us being there and made up all of the tacos and food for us. She also wanted us to bring her back some of Uncle's famous tacos! So, with much trepidation we headed to Greenwood, AR to see Auntie and Uncle (about 40 minutes from Poteau).

We arrived, greeted by J's cousins (one of whom he hasn't seen in 15 years!), aunt and uncle. We had agreed at Thanksgiving not to exchange gifts. Well, apparently J and I are the only ones that stuck to that! Aside from the Poinsettia plant we brought for them, we were empty handed! UGH! In my family when we say "no gifts" we mean it. Lesson learned. Next year we'll know that "no gifts" at Thanksgiving means "we're gonna have some presents for you at Christmas!"

We opened our gifts...all lovely and quite unexpected. We are fully stocked now with all sorts of great smelling bath and body products! And J got a pocket knife with Marilyn Monroe silk-screened on the handle. It's very unique. He's not much of a weapon-carrying kind of guy (the only one in the family, really!) but it will certainly make a great conversation piece!

The tacos were ready and hot. We chowed down. They were amazing! J and I are thrilled with this new tradition. Uncle's mother is from Mexico, so growing up in CA, Christmas was always tacos, tamales and Mexican hot chocolate! The food was tasty and the company was even better. I even had a slice of pumpkin pie, which I never do because I normally don't like it. But this pumpkin pie's texture was more like a custard than baby food and it was perfectly delicious!

We stayed and visited for a few hours, then packed up the gifts and a bunch of tacos, cookies, banana bread and other goodies for Mama. We followed Pop back into Poteau to see her. Upon our arrival we checked the nurses' station to see where she was rooming and they told us they moved her to ICU. We have no idea why. We finally found here, looking much better. Her bluish fingertips and ring around her lips had pinked back up. She was coherent, albeit a little ornery, and able to talk with us. She was annoyed that she had only been given liquids and asked Pop to take the tacos home as she wouldn't be able to eat them right now. They determined that she was dehydrated and had elevated CO2 levels. She didn't know why she was in ICU either. At this point, we're assuming it's so she can have closer observation. She did mention that she will have a sleep-study done for sleep apnea, which was actually mentioned this time last year, when she spent 6 weeks in the hospital and nearly died four times. She has managed a whole year to avoid the hospital, until this month.

So, we suspect that the colder temps as well as every cold bug really does Mama in this time of year. She also probably has sleep apnea, which is making her CO2 levels rise at night, even though she wears O2 all day and night. Her doctor has recommended transferring to a physical rehab facility for a couple of months, where they can work with her on her breathing, improve her nutrition and strengthen her body (she's lost a lot of muscle with so much time laid up in the hospital). She doesn't want to do it. She just wants to be at home. So, that's where we are. She's going to stay in the hospital for a few more days at least. We need to find out more of the details as to what is going on and what the next step is for us. It's frustrating because all we can do is support Mama's decisions...we have no recourse to make them for her. It's a challenge, for all of us.

Thankfully, we are a realtively short drive from her now. Whereas before, we had to drop everything, book flights and get here. So we are happy that we made the move to be closer to her and to the rest of J's family. It's the right time.