The final February with my mom

“When you feel like something is off, it probably is. Go with your gut.” ~ My mom.

I don’t know why I’m doing this – writing this out chronologically – only that I need to. Part of me still can’t believe that the events leading up to my mom’s death unfolded the way they did. Another part of me doesn’t want to forget.

The “why” isn’t that complicated, I guess. I started writing this blog for me. My therapy. Mi terapia.

Everything you’re about to read is on auto replay in mind every single day. I don’t know what my mind is searching for. Maybe it’s just a constant self-critique.  Shoulda. Coulda. Woulda. A mental picking of the scab.

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

“Call me when you can talk. I’m having medical issues.”

That was her text message. On the phone, my mom would tell me that her annual bloodwork showed a potential problem with her kidneys. Her doctor ordered an MRI to be done the next day.

The topic of conversation turns into chisme and she updates me on my brother’s dating life. She gets in one final dirty joke before hanging up. A few minutes later, she sends me a meme via Facebook Messenger. That’s my mom!

Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021

My mom goes to Abrazo Hospital’s Central Campus for the MRI. She sends me several messages via FB messenger, giving me hilarious blow-by-blow details about what she’s witnessing at the hospital. A rude woman at the front desk, but my mom likes her eyelashes. A big man with huge boobs (I’m not making this up). “They’re even bigger than mine!” she tells me.

My mom is still joking ar ound. That’s good!

The MRI showed “masses in the liver,” but they send her home anyway and refer her back to her primary doctor. I’m confused by this decision.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2021

Something is wrong. My youngest daughter is next to me as we FaceTime with my mom. Her eyes keep darting away from the phone, she can’t stay focused. When she looks back to the phone, she seems surprised to see us, like she forgot she was talking to us. When she starts to talk, she can’t complete a sentence.

A few minutes later, I FaceTime with my oldest daughter in Texas. She’s in tears. She had a separate call with my mom via FaceTime. She saw what we saw. Something is wrong.

Feb. 18, 2021

“I don’t care anymore,” my mom tells me on the phone. She had missed an appointment or mixed up the date of the appointment. It’s not clear. She blames it on “foggy brain” and says her mind is mush. “I’m just so tired,” she tells me over and over again. But the “I don’t care anymore” comment? That’s not my mom.

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

I call my mom early in the morning to remind her she has an appointment with her primary care doctor. She doesn’t answer. I call my stepdad. He says my mom didn’t tell him about the appointment. He rushes to get ready and gets my mom to her appointment. Her doctor takes one look at her and says, “She’s jaundiced, get her to the hospital now!”

My mom calls from her cell phone. “I’m being admitted,” she tells me. She can barely talk. My stepdad calls me from the parking lot, he was thrown out of the hospital. Due to Covid, Abrazo isn’t allowing visitors. He was told a doctor would follow up with him later in the day. No one from the hospital called.

My mom is alone.

I book flights with my daughters for the very next day.

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021

I’m back in Phoenix at my mom’s house. No one from the hospital has called. She’s now been in the hospital, alone, for 24 hours.

I start calling the hospital. I finally reach a nurse around eight o’clock that night. She says my mom is experiencing shortness of breath, she’s also very week and can’t sit up on her own. They’ve scheduled a liver biopsy for Monday.  

I ask why no one has called to update us with any of this. She doesn’t answer. She’s silent.

I go back to the biopsy. Monday? Why can’t the biopsy be done before then?

“We don’t do biopsies on weekends” was the answer. This seems crazy to me!

I ask to speak to my mom. The nurse puts my mom on the phone, and we talk, briefly. She sounds scared.

I think my mom is in the wrong hospital. I start recording every conversation with hospital staff.

To be continued…

Soy hija de Gloria. Hija de guerrera. Esta es la historia de mi mamá. Y también mi terapia.

I’m Gloria’s daughter. Daughter of a warrior. This is my mom’s story. And my therapy.

I took this screen shot from a video chat with my mom and my granddaughter/her great-granddaughter, Emma. This is one of the last video chats before my mom got sick.

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