Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life before death (on so many levels)

The woman in ICU 213 is very, very sick.
Her daughter is very, very sad. She cry at nights, in her childhood bed 
(with a new, really awesome mattress).

I am here in the hospital where my mother is being taken care of. I am here with my two brothers and my father, waiting in the waiting room while my mother has a small surgical procedure. She has been on a respirator with a breathing tube for ten days. Now it is time for the second stage of life on a respirator, having the tube deliver it's breaths through a tube in the trachea. The surgical procedure is called "tracheostomy".

She has been non-responsive now for two days. When I first arrived here in NY, she was moderately responsive, nodding her head occasionally when asked yes/no questions. That responsiveness quickly deteriorated, and now we don't know about her cognitive functions.

My mommy. Momele.
My brothers and I together with my father have had hours of long and heavy conversations about how to best represent our mother's (and wife's) best interests.

Is this taking a toll on me? Not yet. It is hard, but I am holding up. I have talked to my mom lots in her sleeping state. I have told her stories about the children; I am never short of stories about my kids. I miss the kids (duh, of course you do, Sarah!!). My leg is more painful here than it was when I was home, because I have been putting it to the test. But nothing bad is happening, just pain. I can handle it.

The flight was... interesting. I was in business class, as we know. Although the seat was much, much more comfortable than coach, it wasn't a full 180°. It was hard for me to be comfortable, but I will take it over coach any day. The flight was made three hours longer, though, by an emergency landing because of a sick passenger. We stopped in Shannon, Ireland, of all places. Unfortunately, because of security issues they didn't let us off the plane... I would have loved to hear some Irish accents. The real pity was that they had to dump lots of fuel in order to land (so it won't blow up?)-- over the ocean. Then, to take off again, they had to refuel. I guess that is why plane tickets are so expensive.

Turns out that my husband and my father, who were following the progress of the flight, started to worry when they learned of the emergency landing because of a sick passenger. They worried it might be *me*. It didn't even occur to me at the time that they would worry. Turns out that while Robert was trying to pursue if the passenger was me, Delta wouldn't release any information about the passenger who was ill. Robert had to call Delta in Ireland to just find out that the passenger was indeed a man. Then he called my Dad and they were put to ease. 


OK, my Mother's surgery was a success, thank Gd. She is back in her room now, resting, with her new trach tube.

More procedures are on the horizon, and we have to be very patient before we can see if she will wake up, and what level of awareness and communication she will have.

The inevitability of life hits you in the face, even if you know to expect it.

You just don't know when to expect it.

That being said, make no mistake, I *am not at all giving up hope*, Gd forbid. We hope to have more answers soon.

Please daven for Tova bat Sheindl.


  1. Hey, Sarah,

    I've been waiting to hear from you, wondering how you are and how your mom is doing. She was in my prayers on this rainy, windy, QUIET Shabbat. No sirens. Hillel's worst fears have become actualized--School tomorrow!!

    We love you and wish you an easy and meaningful time in the US.

    Love, Miriam

  2. wishing your mother a complete refua shlaima. ( and you too.) shavua tov, rochel.

  3. Thinking of you and your family (and I received your e-mail).

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for posting - I've been thinking of you and your mom lots and really wanted to hear what was going on.

    BTW, Shifra came in on Shabbat and reorganized Adiyah's room. She and Adiyah were also begging to be able to wash the steps! I tried the "not on Shabbat" argument, they they weren't buying in. Can we hire her?

    Thinking of you and your Mom, and praying for good news soon. (And please take care of yourself).