Sunday, July 24, 2005

The halt and the lame

Well my mother, who is lucky to be alive and without head injury, made it fine through the surgery on her upper back, but she was left with such a swollen throat that she couldn't get anything down without risk of aspiration, which, in addition to being a bad thing itself, can lead to pneumonia. As a last resort for getting food into her, she had another surgical procedure on Friday, the insertion of a PEG tube.

She's in the East Texas Medical Center's rehab unit now. It's new, light and airy with helpful positive people all around. We don't know how long she will be there--a good long time we hope, for she seems far from travel-worthy. She has lots of company there, people lacking limbs or the use of them, people of many colors, all sorts and conditions of men, as the prayer book says, united by trauma and the hope of recovery. And she has a steady stream of visitors--one, even, from his room on the floor above her.

I'm staying at her house, which was never my house, a wonderful house perfectly suited to her. Until now. It is on four levels. One problem at a time. We'll worry about that one later.

I still don't know how long I'll be here. At least through next weekend I think. Weekends are tough at hospitals because of the shift differences. I'm getting the hang of being the patient's advocate.

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