After going through mom's broken hip over a year ago, we were anticipating the worse and dreading the possibilities of what we might be facing. Trauma with an alzheimer patient is a totally different experience because they can't hold onto any information or instructions or remember what happened to bring on the trauma. It turns out she doesn't have another broken hip, but has a pelvic injury which in causing her intense pain. She can't walk or move without crying out in pain.
I won't go through all the details, but summarize it to say that within the next 24 hours we had made two ambulance trips to two different hospitals and have now seen I think 6 different hospital doctors and countless nurses. I realized at the end of the first 24 hours that I was in the same clothes I had worn to the concert in New Orleans and pretty exhausted with only about 3 hours of sleep. This evening when I left my 86 year old mom, 4 days later, she asked me again where she was! Because she has been given a nice new hospital room, she keeps thinking we've moved her to a new house and says she likes what we've done with the place! It helps to laugh!
She introduces and reintroduces me to every nurse and aid who comes in the room and offers them coke and candy (which of course we don't have because we are in a hospital room!!!)
Again it helps to laugh!
Mom is ever the gracious southern hostess - even in the hospital in extreme pain. There's a lesson there for me. They say that with alzheimer patients one's true character comes through. How fortunate that mom's gift of hospitality, generosity and kindness are the traits that linger even when her mind is so terribly confused.
When I reflect on the last few days I can think of one thing that stands out in the ordeal, besides all of us trying to keep a sense of humor. It is the blessing of kindness.
Kindness and compassion
can cover the frustration,
the pain, the worry,
and help to carry you as you face the unknown.
I'm amazed at what a tender word from a nurse can do to calm mom's fears and ours. I'm awed at the patience and kindness of strangers who walk in to minister to her needs. Throughout the emergency room visits and the waiting…. and the waiting….. the words of kindness and concern that were offered by one health care provider after another sustained us.
And then there was the unexpected visit of my friend Sherry who persevered through strict emergency room security just to come and give me a hug.,,,,,,kindness.
There have been countless text messages of concern, prayers and calls offered from friends and loved ones…..kindness.
We've divided up the days into shifts between us to ease the load of mom's care. She can't be left alone, because she doesn't remember where she is, what's happened or that she can't walk, so she could try to get up and then fall again.
Family, willing to share the load for one another……kindness
My sweet husband sat for hours in the waiting room because they would only let in the two daughters. He delivered us meals and prayed and now takes shifts to be with mom. Yesterday when he arrived for his afternoon "shift"
he came smiling with a bouquet of roses, mom's favorite ……kindness.
One conversation with mom's nurse named Roger on Friday revealed that we wouldn't see him again because he was at the end of three straight shifts and had to go home to care for his three teenage children. His wife died a few years ago, and he is now a single parent. As we expressed our concern for him, he said, "It's difficult, but I'm very fortunate to have the kindness and help of family." We never know the burdens others carry around, do we? And yet, he so graciously offered a beautiful smile and tender words as he administered healing……kindness.
Of course we all canceled events we had planned for the weekend, but my sister insisted that I attend a prayer breakfast with friends this morning. "No, you go." she said, "I'll take another shift with mom. You need that."…….kindness.
I did go and returned to the hospital refreshed to care for mom, prepared to offer the love and patience that she needed because of my sister's kindness and the time spent in sweet fellowship and prayer with friends.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring for mom. They may send her to another place to recover which will confuse her even more. Her recovery will be painful and slow with her injury - that is all the doctors seem to be really sure of.
Tonight, I am sure of this - the kindness and love of strangers, friends and family will sustain us - whatever tomorrow brings.
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. - Charles H. Spurgeon
Consider how the Lord might be showing you an opportunity to offer kindness today or in the weeks ahead.
I think we often underestimate the power of a smile, a listening ear, a tender word, a gentle touch, a display of kindness, a caring spirit, a patient response, or a compassionate heart. But the Father has poured all of this and more into our own lives and His Spirit within us enables us to offer it to others.
Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are the coverings He clothes us with as His beloved.
They make a difference!
Grateful for the kindness of others in the trials of life,
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