Monday, May 18, 2015

Thinking about my Mom -post-Mother's Day

This probably will be the longest paragraph I have ever written and hopefully, for the sake of anyone reading this, will be the longest one that I will ever write too!

I read an article tonight about registered nurses and the things that they talk about at home, how they deal with their family when one of the members is sick or injured and other traits that are -to people who know nothing about living with an RN probably would ever think happens.

But it brought back memories to me of my Mom, who was a registered nurse -or "RN" as we like to call them. Maybe because Mother's Day was just last week and I'm still on a bit of a high from the cards I got from my kids and grandkids and the flowers my son and his girlfriend brought down to my house today -2 beautiful hanging planters filled with light lavender petunias -plus two other gifts as well -a set of pyrex bakeware (5 pieces, all with LIDS) and a new KitchenAid portable mixer too! I guess this was a hint that I've kind of stopped cooking very much lately and maybe the want me to bake something or at least, cook a full meal now and then.

But anyway, this is a compilation of my thoughts -and the main memories I remember of my Mom, the RN. I apologize for the big, big paragraph but I just couldn't bring myself to break it into smaller segments for fear I would forget something!

So, with that in mind, I now give you my fondest memories of Nurse Hazel, my Mom.

My Mom was an RN but she never talked about things pertaining to her patients -probably because she generally worked private duty, often in the patient's home, usually worked the midnight shift too, and because almost all her patients were elderly and dying, her one brother used to tease her about her nursing skills since it seemed all her patients always died. When I was small, I used to get tonsillitis on a regular basis and my Mom was good friends with the family doctor so when I got hit with another go-round of the throat stuff, she would stop at his office (in his home) and tell him "The kid has another sore throat, can you give me a script for penicillin and I swear that man never heard of meds in pill form. He always gave her a little bottle of the stuff, to be injected in my behind. This to a kid who was terrified of needles and therefore, it would take my Mom and both my grandparents to hold me down on the sofa while she tried to inject this medicine into me -all the while telling me the reason it hurts is because you are tense. Just relax! Relax my foot! I once managed to run a pick into the bottom of my right leg. When I did it, I didn't even realize I had broken the skin but my aunt saw my leg was bleeding and made me go inside to have my Mom check it out. She did that, poured some hydrogen peroxide into the wound -which of course stung like crazy -and then, took some bandaids and tried to pull the wound together as much as possible and slap the bandaids in place. About 3 or 4 days after I did this, she was cleaning it one day and said it seemed to be healing quite nicely but it probably should have had a few stitches in it! When I fell in the back yard the morning of our family reunion, and broke the ulna on my left arm, I swear to this day that had my Mom's siblings and most of my cousins not been there that day, she probably would have tried to set the arm herself and not taken me to the emergency room!  I was about the only kid on our street who owned a pair of rubbers as well as knee-high rubber boots, a heavy, very warm winter coat, scarves up the yazoo, mittens, snowpants from the 30s (I grew up in the 50s so you can imagine the style of those snowpants that had belonged originally to my youngest aunt.) In the winter months, I didn't leave the house unless I had either the rubbers or boots over my shoes on, the heavy jacket, a scarf around my neck, knit hat and mittens to make the walk to our school with my neighbor's daughter and my best friend. My friend had dealt with rheumatic fever the spring of our 5th grade year and hadn't even been allowed to walk for about 3 months while recuperating. When we went back to school that fall, she was supposed to be very cautious about not catching a cold or the flu, or virtually anything. We walked about almost a mile up to our school and she wore a winter coat but it wasn't very heavy, no scarf around her neck, no boots or rubbers, no hat but she did wear mittens. I had my normal heavy-weight protective garb and which one of us do you suppose got sick? It sure wasn't my girlfriend! As my Mom grew older, she refused to go to a doctor for any type of checkups because in her mind, they were all money-grubbers and besides that, she didn't need them. She passed away 35 years ago this coming October of cancer -of the colon, liver and spleen and which we only knew about for a week prior to her death! Because of her stubbornness about doctors and such, had she only gone for a checkup now and then, the possibility the colon cancer could have been detected while still in a curative stage and thus, she could have gone on for perhaps several more years and seen what beautiful children my three were and they all could have had lots of memories of her then instead of only the oldest really knowing her as she was 12. My son at age 6 vaguely remembers her and my youngest who wasn't quite 4, has no memories of her grandmother whatsoever! I see my three grandchildren now and think how lucky I am that I have had the opportunity to know them and they, me and thank them too because I credit having them in my life for pulling me through colon cancer, 4 surgeries in the past 12 years now and two rounds with cancer, chemo and radiation because they gave me the desire then to take the treatments available and fight to recover. Wish my Mom had done that too!

And that's the truth!

1 comment:

terri said...

I'm sorry you lost your mom so early in life. Thinking how much we lean on our moms, no matter how old we are, it's always too early to let them go. But it must be hard to feel that sense of regret that your mom's passing might have been delayed.