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9:46 a.m. - May 08, 2006
A Tough One To Write
It was a great weekend, up until a little before five on Sunday.

And it was going to be a great essay. (In fact, the weekend up until about five oíclock was great on many levels, and I will write about it tomorrow).

But I got a call at home from my youngest sister in law at around five that changed the tenor of the weekend.

Lizís mom lives out in Arizona with Lizís sister (the middle one of the family Ė Liz is the Ďbabyí), and close to Lizís oldest sister and her family.

Her mom is older (82) and recently has been laid up with a urinary tract infection. For older people, that can be serious. For a while, before the diagnosis, Lizís family was concerned she was having mini-strokes or something else like that. She was confused and disoriented.

Sheís been in and out of the hospital a couple of times, and right now is fairly immobile and is being take care of at home. Sheís had bouts of pneumonia and dehydration as well.

Before all of this, we had planned, as a group, to come out to Arizona for a visit in the near future. Katie has not seen her grandma in Arizona since she was a baby, and Kristin obviously has never met her.

One of our regrets is that Katie never got to meet Lizís father. We had planned to get to Kansas in the summer or fall of 2002, but he died suddenly and peacefully before we had a chance to get out there.

So we werenít going to make that mistake with Kristin and Lizís mom.

But when Lizís mom started to have these UTIs, we changed plans. It was decided that in late June, Liz and Kristin would fly out to Arizona, while Katie and I would stay here. Liz was shopping around for airline tickets.

So yesterday, Liz was over in Indianapolis visiting a friend, and then spending inordinate amounts of money at Costco. I had supervised the girls in the sandbox and was on the computer waiting for the oven to pre-heat (we were having meatloaf) and just tra-la-laing about life, when my SIL called.

Lizís mom had taken a turn for the worse. She has another UTI and itís not responding on antibiotics. The doctors will see if they want to pursue a more aggressive drug treatment in the next few days.

She is also becoming disoriented and did not recognize my SIL at all.

The doctors were up front, and said that this could be the Ďbeginning of the endí. They are considering possibly placing her in hospice if the drugs donít work or the doctors donít think itís wise to continue that treatment.

After that call, I got on the phone to Liz right away, and she talked to both of her sisters.

When she got home, she went right on the computer, and bought airline tickets for Arizona for herself and Kristin to leave on Wednesday. (They were the SAME price leaving Wednesday as leaving six weeks from now. Go figure.)

Itís important that Liz go out there right away and see her mother. Letís hope that things are turning for the better when she arrives.

They said, ďthis could beĒ the beginning of the end. This means that she could be sliding down a path Ė or she could hang on for another 10 years, stubborn as ever.

This got me to thinking about the situation with my parents. My folks are older as well. Dad will be 82 this year and Mom will be 80.

Momís had some battles with health and she doesnít walk very well at all. She canít really hear, and is stubborn about hearing aids.

Dad had a minor stroke a few years ago, but other than that is in pretty good health. He gets out of the house a lot, and drives Mom to and from the doctor quite a bit.

But at 82 and 80, thereís not much time left. Well, I shouldnít totally say that Ė aunts on each side of my family pushed to way over 90, and my beloved Mamaw (Dadís mom) reached 94.

Ok, there may or may not be much time left.

In the back of my mind, I know that their time is coming soon. Iíve known that at any moment the four of us may have to fly out to Arizona for my MILís funeral. I donít dwell on it, but I know the possibility is there at some point. The experience with my father-in-law in Kansas taught me, again, to be prepared for anything when dealing with older parents.

Thatís why itís so important that Liz be there Ė expense and inconvenience be damned.

Katie and I will have a fun time. I will accompany her on her trip to the Childrenís Museum with her Montessori class and then take her to get her pictures taken for her dance recital. (Thatís scheduled one hour after she gets back from Indianapolis.)

Iíve already had lessons on pony tails and Katieís hair today, with more instruction coming tomorrow and Wednesday.

Saturday, instead of covering some baseball games, I get to take Katie to a birthday party.

On Sunday, Motherís Day, Liz and Kristin will be flying back. Katie and I will visit my mother to give her Motherís Day stuff, and then greet Liz and Kristin with open arms.

I know when I go visit Mom on Motherís Day that Iím going to linger a little bit longer. Just because I know that I may not be able to very much longer.


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