In the early evening hours of June 23, 2008 I wrapped my arms around my mom and dad in the courtyard and sadly said goodbye, as I was leaving early the following morning for Colorado, our summer sojourn for many years, and with a new stop in Denver, as our daughter Katie, and her husband Ryan had just moved there from San Diego. With regret I was leaving Mom to continue "rehab" at Jones Harrison. She had taken yet another fall and injured her sweet, precious face, causing a realm of issues for her tiny little body. Mom was scheduled to return home the following Sunday. Earlier that afternoon I laid next to Mom on her bed, as we often did, and we both took a long nap. I loved watching her sleep, and had for many years, holding her hand, touching her face. It was the most special piece of time I could carve out alone for just the two of us. I know Mom peeked at me too, or often woke before I did, and watched me slumber, as if I were her little baby girl again, for just a little while.
Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at the age of 50 in 1980. Her symptoms had appeared two years prior to that but were slight, and thyroid issues were assumed to be the cause. To say that my Mom didn't "suffer" from Parkinson's would be untrue. She suffered mightily, as the disease slowly crept in and took just a little bit here and a little bit there. To say that mom suffered out loud would be untrue. This amazing woman, who just happens to be my mom, never complained about one thing, except occasionally the loss of independence when it came to driving..for driving was freedom, and she missed that freedom. So back to watching Mom sleep...you see she didn't have tremors when she slept, so for just a little while, she didn't have Parkinson's.
Scottie (my husband) & I left for Denver at 5:00am the following morning, June 24, 2008. My heart strings were being tugged at with might, yet I knew Mom was healing, in good care, and would get lots of rest with one less visitor every day. And, she was headed home. Those had become the "highlight" days..mom heading home! Mom had begun to have many "highlight" days after doing "rehab" recovering from her falls. I felt she was in such good loving hands.
Mom did go home that Sunday. She began answering the phone in the days prior to going home, likely because she knew it was me, her voice sounded stronger, she was eating well, loved treats, she was getting her strength back, everything was progressing well. Home care would be waiting for her, and her Private Care Attendant, Pam. Mom loved Pam, and it made me feel better knowing Pam would be there right away. Things appeared to be going well. Mom was so "glad to be going home, but so afraid to fall again." I asked God to "please watch her, keep her safe, and and knock her on the head if she tried to get up alone", for that was her greatest risk of all, not asking for help, and falling because of it. In all fairness to Mom she had "Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery" in early 2004. My Dad, Papa, lovingly began to call her "Miracle Mary" for the surgery transformed her life, and the courage and grace it took for her to go through such an intense process, beginning to end, was truly none other than a miracle. The surgery was still in it's early stages, and it has now been discovered that the stimulation of the brain leads to impulsive behaviors of different sorts, however for Mom that was moving before thinking, thus he many falls. DBS does not have any impact on the lose of balance in Parkinson's patients, so as her Parkinson's progressed, she continued to have further loss of balance. As well, Mom was a strong, independent woman, and took pride in doing things for herself, thinking she could, and yet not having the help of her thought processes to think before acting sometimes. God bless her for the strength of courage..as not only did she get up and move, she often moved other things:), like very large, heavy pieces of furniture that she just knew would look better in another room. Always, this was done the minute Dad left the apartment. Ha, what a girl! What spirit, what determination, what grit. Oh I do love her.