Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catching up

It's been nearly five months since I had the chance to blog.  It seems like an eternity ago.  So much has happened, and although I know that I won't be able to cover it all in this post I will do my best to update.

When Grandma B was released from the hospital in mid-January she immediately moved in with me in Trinity.  She didn't even go back to her house.  In December and January I got her house packed and emptied and it is currently on the market.  Her health has continually declined, and since arriving here she has been in the hospital or rehab all except for about three weeks.

On March 31 I received a message that Chris, Grandma B's son and an almost-brother to me, was in critical condition in ICU at Royal Adelaide Hospital where he lived in Australia.  After a few conversations with the doctors there it was apparent that I needed to be there to make the final decisions regarding Chris' life/death.  My mom, Grandma B, asked me to go and take care of it all.  She was in rehab and didn't have a passport anyway, so I needed to go.  I left the following day on my 30 hour trip.  When I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and met with the staff they advised me that Chris was already brain dead; showing absolutely no brain activity.  With the guidance of my mom we made the decision to discontinue life support, and the following morning I held Chris' hand as he died.  Over the course of two weeks following his death I emptied his flat, worked with the police, coroner and funeral home, arranged a ceremony of life for all of his friends in Australia (over 100 attended) and did as much for his personal affairs as I could in the time.  I'm still working on it here at home.

While I was in Australia I received a phone call from the doctor at the hospital saying that my mom had been transported there from rehab, was in septic shock, her kidneys were failing and they didn't expect her to live 48 hours.  Being in Australia left me feeling helpless, but she managed to hang on until I arrived home.  The lead to her pacemaker had failed, poking a hole in her heart and through her skin.  Bacteria entered there and caused the infection in her heart.  Her choices from the cardiologist were to leave the pacemaker alone and let "nature run its course" or do a surgery to move the pacemaker to the other side of her chest.  Her cardiologist gave her a 1% chance of surviving the surgery.  She chose to stop all of the medications and come home with Hospice.  That is where we stand now.  Her health continues to decline, but I will be here with her and for her until the very end, just like I promised her many years ago.

I'm working 12 hour shifts at the hospital, ranging from 2-4 nights or days a week.  I took this semester off of school to take care of my mom, but I am registered for the summer term to finish up pre-med. The kids are doing great, and I am so lucky to have them.  In addition, I reconnected with one of my boyfriends from high school, and we have since established an amazing relationship.  He is the most kind, generous and loving man I have ever met in my life, and I feel so lucky to have him.  He and his two boys are moving here from St. Louis in late July, and I cannot wait.

I hope to be able to update a bit more than I've done so far this year.  But that's it for now.