All posts tagged Hospital

Difficult Anniversaries

Published April 18, 2014 by Malia

I realized a few days ago that the last time I attended Good Friday service was in 2011.  My aunt’s church was doing this living Last Supper thing.  It was actually pretty cool.  It was a drama, where the actors did a tableau of DaVinci’s last supper, and each character got to explain which disciple he was, and talk about his role in the story.

As usual, my grandparent’s were in town for Easter, and they went with us to the presentation.  I knew Grampa wasn’t feeling fantastic, but he was determined to go to church that night.  The next day, Saturday, he got progressively worse; and that evening,  my aunt took him to the ER.

I spent the better part of that Easter Sunday with my family in the ICU.  Grampa was in really rough shape, and we really thought that was the end of the road.  It wasn’t, but it was the definite beginning of the end.  He passed away in July of 2012.

The month and a half following that Easter Sunday, I spent a good portion of almost every single day at the hospital and then at the rehab center (after he was released from the hospital).  Looking back, it was a surreal, but incredibly educational experience.

Anyway, like I said, that was the last Good Friday service I went to.  Now, I love Easter.  Being a Christian, the holiday has a lot more meaning for me than just bunnies and chickens and chocolate (however, I never turn down chocolate).  This year I realized that I’ve made zero effort to try to get to Good Friday service since 2011, and I think I’ve finally narrowed down why.  That service in 2011, was pretty much the last time I saw my Grampa even be close to his old self.  Watching him get sicker and constantly waiting for the inevitable phone call was overwhelming.

It’s a weird to think of it as an anniversary, but it is.  And, this year, it’s not one I’m handling terribly well.  I’m really sad.  I miss people in my family being healthy.  I miss my Grampa.  I even miss being a pastor’s kid (although, I’m not sure I’ll ever stop thinking of myself as a pastor’s kid.  I spent 19 years as one, it’s a part of me that I can’t separate from).

Eventually, I’ll go to Good Friday service again, but not this year.

Everything’s Fine, Mom!

Published January 11, 2014 by Malia

Once upon a time, I was a child.  A weird, quirky, and-according to adults who knew me-precocious little child.  My parents gave me chores, and responsibilities, but never anything beyond my capabilities.  Of course, when they gave me the responsibilities, I knew they were giving me their trust as well.  I wanted to please them, and so I tried my hardest to do things properly.

The summer I was twelve, my mom got really sick.  We were living up in the middle of the hills, miles away from any signs of real civilization (malls, movie theaters with more than two screens, fast food establishments…you get the idea).  Most importantly, we were a good half hour’s drive away from the nearest hospital, and that was just a small county hospital.  There came a night in mom’s illness where a frantic drive delivered us to said hospital.  The doctor informed us that mom needed lots of bed rest.

Now, over the years, mom had taught me the basics of things like how to cook, how to do laundry, and other household things.   Since my dad was working three jobs (pastor of two churches that were 40 miles from each other, and town garbage man), many of the things mom had always been responsible for doing fell to me to do.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I knew mom wouldn’t have let me do it, if she hadn’t believed I was up to the task.  Plus, I still had time to play with my friends.  Besides, cooking meals, and doing laundry seemed a fair trade-off to me, if it meant I got to keep my mom.

Things had been going pretty swimmingly.  My Gramma and her mom had come for a visit and I had cooked my first big dinner.  I made a roast, green beans, and dad helped me put together a cherry angel food cake.  I didn’t ruin anything, and no one got sick.

It was a couple weeks after the midnight trip to the hospital, and it was laundry day.  I remember that the dishwasher was full, so after lunch I made sure there was soap in the dishwasher, and then headed to the basement to work on the laundry.  (The stairway to the basement was located in kitchen.  Handy.  Also, it’s a semi-important detail in what comes next.)

All was well.

I was practicing useful life skills.

And then, I emerged from the basement.

As I neared the top of the stairs, I was surprised to see that there was some sort of weird, white covering on the kitchen floor.  Getting to the top of the stairs, I found that the ENTIRE kitchen floor was covered in about a foot and a half of bubbles.  My first reaction was to get my dad to help me, but he was off visiting with a parishioner.  Which left me to figure out what to do.

I started scooping up the bubbles and putting them in the sink.  I thought I was doing well, until I heard my mom calling from upstairs.  There is nothing like your mother’s voice to send you into a complete tailspin of panic when you’re twelve and don’t know what you did to screw up, but know that you screwed something up.  I ran to the foot of the stairs and called up, “Everything’s fine, Mom!  Just stay up there!”

Hearing the obvious panic in my voice roused my mom from her bed.  As I heard her heading towards the stairs I found myself repeating over and over, “Everything’s fine!  Don’t come down here!  Really, don’t come down here!”

Now, I wasn’t worried about mom being mad at me.  I was worried, because I knew the doctor had said that she needed to stay in bed and not move around much.  Coming down the stairs, in my mind, qualified as disobeying doctor’s orders.  I didn’t want to make mom worse, just because I had somehow filled the kitchen with bubbles (which were waist high at that point).

Down the stairs, my mother came.  She took one look at the scene, and gently asked me what had happened.  I stood there going, “I don’t know.  I put the soap in the dishwasher, turned it on, and then went to change a load of laundry.  I don’t know what happened!”

It was at that point that mom put two and two together, and then I learned the very big importance between dish soap and dishwasher detergent.

It wasn’t my first time running the dishwasher, but it had been my first time on my own.  I knew that the detergent was in a squeezy bottle, and so I had just grabbed the bottle that I thought looked right.

My mom then helped me empty the kitchen of its temporary carpeting.  Ended up using a shovel (there’s a handy hint, in case any of you have a kid that does the same thing I did).

Also, in case you’re wondering, mom didn’t die.  Which made me a happy girl.

The Tail of a Cat

Published February 12, 2013 by Malia

Shortly before I turned 5, my family moved from Denver to a little town in southern Illinois.  We took a long two cats, Gracie and Marshmallow, some gerbils, and some fish.  Not long  after we settled in, the neighbor’s cat came around to visit with her kittens.  She did this everyday for a couple of days.  It was late fall, and the weather was turning cool.  Mom couldn’t stand it, and she started leaving out food.  Pretty soon, the mamma cat stopped coming, and only one little kitten remained.  Somehow mom and I convinced my dad that we needed to take the kitten in.  So, into our lives came a third cat, which in my 5 year old wisdom I named, Andrew George Mittens the Third.  Andrew came about because at the time I was convinced that “Andrew” was simply the greatest boy name in the world.  George was attached because our cat Gracie was named after Gracie Allen, so I thought it was appropriate to name the boy cat after George Burns.  Mittens was because he had little white paws that emerged from his tabby coat.   I didn’t quite comprehend the fact that “the Third” referred to line of descendants.  I just thought it fit since he was the third cat we had at the time.    Anyway, Andrew, George, and the Third rarely got mentioned, and he came to be known as Mittens.

Mittens quickly grew from being a tiny pathetic kitten, into a bit of a behemoth.  He remained this for as long as he was in my life.

The first year I was in 4-H, I decided to spend the year preparing my cat to be judged at the county fair.  Owning him was as close to owning livestock as I was gonna get.  When I took him to the fair, I had to take him up to a panel of judges which included a veterinarian.  Things didn’t exactly go smoothly.  Mittens decided it was a good time to hiss and be generally unsociable.  My mom ended up coming and holding him in place.  The vet was terrified of him.  I think the fact that I wasn’t scared of something she was, is what got me a blue ribbon.

We discovered, one day by chance, that Mittens could be called by the sound of hysterical crying.  We were watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, and Mittens was nowhere around.  In the episode, Nellie Olson started fake hysterical crying.  Out of nowhere, Mittens lumbered in desperate to check on mom and I.  He was certain something was wrong.  He never failed to come when I was crying.

When I turned 9, I had a really bad case of pneumonia.  It actually hit a few weeks before my 9th birthday, and lasted until the middle of February.  I missed the better part of 3.5 months of 3rd grade.   The night I was at my worst, was the day we had gone to the doctor.  The doctor prescribed me meds, and told my mom that if I got worse, I had to be admitted to the hospital.  That night, mom sat on my bed and pleaded with God.  To say we were poor would be an understatement, and there was no way we could’ve afforded a hospital trip.  All that night mom prayed, and like he had from when I started getting sick, Mittens sat attentively on the foot of my bed.  I did start to slowly get better after that night, and didn’t have to go to the hospital.  Two weeks later when we went to the doctor for a check-up, he was in shock.  He told my mom that he had thoroughly anticipated that I would be in the hospital the night of my last visit.  He also told her that he had expected that I would die in the hospital.

Mittens lived with us, and saw me almost all the way through my teenage years.  He was fat, and precious, and crabby, and wonderful.

When I was a freshman in college, I was living several hundred miles away from home, and things at home took a bad turn.  My parents moved, and they couldn’t take Mittens with them.  So, he went to live with a neighbor.  He was really old at that point, and not in the greatest health.  I never got to say good-bye, but I think (or at least I hope) that he somehow knew that we loved him and didn’t leave him willingly.

I’m sure he’s gone on to kitty heaven by now, but I hope he knows how marvelous and how precious and how important he was in my life.