I’ve had several pity parties for myself over the last few months while I’ve been out here in California visiting my sick aunt.
Although I’m glad I haven’t been home in Michigan for all the crazy weather, my heart aches for things I’m missing; mainly, my family and friends. I’ve also missed four major holidays, my son’s last day of school, and a half dozen birthdays. Not to mention numerous dinners with friends, my friends’ art shows and countless adventures with my photography/Cracker Barrel buddy.
Spending innumerable hours in the hospital, I have met many awesome people. With the exception of a few, the employees at PIH Health Hospital in Whittier, California are wonderful. Several have gone above and beyond their job description to make sure not only my aunt, but also my cousin, George, her private nurse, Mary, and myself are comfortable and know what is going on. Several nurses have come to visit and pray for her. My aunt has been treated with nothing but dignity and respect.
Aunt Marguerite, despite being thousands of miles away from my home, has always been my favorite aunt. The fact that we both love cooking, collecting recipes, and drinking Scotch is only the tip of the iceberg. My aunt, like my dad, has the cool factor going for her. Through all of this, her sense of humor and well placed sarcastic remarks have stayed intact.
She has passed on those two traits to her son as well. I love that we can both use our humor and sarcasm to help each other get through this crazy/scary time.
When you look past George’s humor and sarcasm, you will find a loving son who is very devoted to his mother. He has slept in her room at the hospital every night since she was admitted April 3rd. The days he is forced to work, he is texting or calling for updates.
While part of me misses my family and friends at home, it is trumped by the fact that me being here has helped my cousin keep his sanity. We have laughed and cried together. My knowledge, albeit limited, of medical procedures and medications has helped ease his anxiety.
Let me tell you, I have learned more than I ever thought I would need to know about PEG tubes, intubation, C-diff, septis, lactic acid levels, and a laundry list of medications.
As I am writing this, I’m sitting in my aunt’s ICU room waiting for George. She is improving and having set backs everyday. It’s a very slow process. She is truly a fighter and has exceeded everyone’s expectations.