The ER isn’t usually a funny place, but funny conversations happen there

I have a knack of turning something sobering into something silly.

I don’t mean to. Really. I know it’s important to be fully present and feel the weight of the moment, but for some reason my contemplative self passes the baton to my snarky self and off she goes.

One of the most sobering things of late has been my mom’s stroke. Few things upend your family’s world like a stroke.

For years I recorded prayer requests of stroke victims and their families. And I prayed for them, but I  had no idea what they went through.

Now I do.

Now I know some of the struggles and decisions and heartaches. I know the importance of supportive family, and I appreciate the prayers of friends who have been down this road. Without them, the journey can be overwhelming.

But WITH them, the journey becomes manageable.

ps 51-8a v2

And you find joy where you least expect it.

emergency_room_entrance 2When you wake up to the news that your mom has fallen and is in the ER, you wash your face, brush your teeth, and get your bed-headed sleepy-eyed self to the hospital.

Where you spend the better part of the day.

On this day, I sat with my sister and brother-in-law and reminisced over old times. The truly funny things seem to be inside jokes that get lost in translation. Which makes them even more special.

So there we sat, waiting for Mom’s tests to be run and read, and doing our best to keep her comfortable. My sister thought aloud,

“We need to shave her.”

I inspect Mom’s chin.

“I used my little electronic razor-pen thingy on her the other day.”

“Yeah, but we should probably make a note to do it every week.”

“You’re right,” I agree. “If anything like this ever happens to me, make sure I’m presentable. I don’t want to be looking like Willie Robertson. Promise me.”

“I promise,” she says.

“SWEAR IT. I don’t want you holding an old grudge and getting even by letting me look crazy.”

“OK,” (insert eye roll) “I SWEAR.”

“And make sure I’m dressed nice.”

“You wear JEANS all the time.”

“Well then get me a tiara and a feather boa. I might as well be ‘that’ lady.”

 

My sisters surprised me when I turned 50!

My sisters surprised me when I turned 50!

I’ve never been more grateful for my sisters, and for the quirky sister-bond we have. I’m also grateful for my dad, who is the godliest man I know. Mom has a long road ahead of her, but she has so many friends and family behind her.

Behind US. And we’re grateful for your prayers.

Can you share any suggestions for lightening the load? Silly ones are MOST appreciated :)

Photo Credit: Emergency Dept courtesy Microsoft Images


36 Comments

  1. Sorry…I don’t have any funny or non-funny suggestions for lightening the load. I just have a prayer and an online hug for you my sweet friend. :-)

  2. Southern sister, I feel your pain. Normally I walk around like a piping hot mess, but I have already thought about my ‘coma life’ and have appointed people for manicures, pedicures, facials and any other specific groomings needed. If I am going to be in one position for an extended length of time, then I want to be ‘arranged’ thus and so, on my bed….preferably on my satin bed…If there is NO possible means of bringing me back into the land of the living, I would like some…’work’…done. Please be sure a specialist gives me a bit of a lift around the neck area. You know, in case my chin drops and creates the Michelin-man look. It would be nice if my lips are glossy, yet not in a spittle way. So…….if you got my back, I got yours. (ps…love you!)

    • Hahaha — yeah girl, I will most definitely see that you’re shaved, peeled, glossed and coiffed! :D

  3. You Are Darling in your glasses and tiara!

    I love your humor in hard times. You are a blessing to all who are around you! Love you, Susta!

  4. TKSharpley

    Yes, I agree with Sandi!
    On a practical note, while your Mom is immobile, try to move as many of her body parts as possible. Mobility,even if she can’t or won’t is paramount in recovery. And while you are in the hospital, take a a break and walk, walk, walk! You and your family are in my prayers!

    • Walk, walk, walk… have you forgotten that my walking is actually crutching? Crutch, crutch, crutch away :D Thanks for praying, TK!

  5. Your chin shaving episode reminded me of something from years ago. A friend’s mom was slipping closer to her homegoing and suddenly my friend said, “We need to shave Mom’s chin. We promised her!” So there she and her sister started doing what they promised so their Mom wouldn’t have any stray chin hairs when the Lord came to take her home. I didn’t laugh at the time but in retrospect — and after reading your post — I have to giggle at how we women are. I am going to ask my daughter to do the same thing, lol!

    I’m keeping you all in prayer, trusting that God has continued to wrap His comforting arms around all of you during this time.

    Love & blessings!
    ~Anna

    • Thank you, sweet Anna. It really is funny the things we want taken care of, isn’t it! Thank you so much for your prayers :)

  6. Loving laughter, and tender touches–little ways to bring some dignity into those sickbed moments really helped us through my mom’s dying.And I know she’s bathed in your prayers. Sounds like a great support group you sisters are. Blessings, Susan. Good to have you back.

    • Thanks so much, Marcia. There are so many people praying for Mom and we’re all doing our best to encourage her to work hard! Hope things are going well with your father-in-law.

  7. Susan, I’m so sorry that your Mom has experienced another challenge. I will keep you all in my prayers (including you, with the boot!) and I’m sure God will bless you with comfort at this difficult time.
    When my mom was sick and in the nursing home, I used music to lighten the mood in her room. Back then (17 years ago), I had to bring in a bulky tape player, but now, you could bring a little iPod speaker and make some joyful noise for her! The songs could be silly, to meet that requirement. ;)

    • Bringing an ipod speaker is a great idea, Julia! I love the idea of music therapy and first heard about it back in the 80s. I’ll find some of Mom’s favorites and make a playlist for her. Thank you!

  8. Laughter really is the best medicine! Thanks for sharing this help for times of sorrow–and reminding us that it’s ok to laugh in the midst of the tears!

    • So glad you stopped by today, Jean. I feel like I’ve been gone forever, so it’s an honor to see comments :) Hope your 2014 is off to a great start.

  9. Girl, you are a nut, and I mean that in the best way. I bet writing about it helps, doesn’t it? Your mom must be a wonderful lady to raise such fine daughters. I hope she is doing alright. My prayers to her.

    • Thanks so much, Kathleen. We’re encouraged by the reports we get from Mom’s therapists, and her surgery last night was successful. Thanks for praying for her.
      And if you think I’m nutty, you should see the crazy trail mix that happens when all 3 of us get together! (It’s even better when we mix in some nutty cousins and aunts!)

  10. I had a stroke when I was 16. The hardest part for me was making myself understood. Being inside a stricken body is VERY frustrating,, for all involved.
    Keeping a sense of humor is key. Music is especially helpful, some who can no longer talk, can sing! Has to do with right & left sides of the brain.
    I’ll be keeping you all in prayer my friend.

    • Oh wow, Cyn. I can’t imagine that frustration, although I’m trying to put myself in Mom’s shoes and treat her the way I’d want to be treated. Julia mentioned music too, so clearly the Lord wants my attention on that. Thank you for the suggestion. I’m going to work on that!

  11. Oh Susan, I am praying for your mom and your whole family. I am a speech pathologist and worked for years in Rehab with stroke and traumatic brain injury patients. It’s such a scary time, but I am glad to hear the therapists’ reports are encouraging. I would love to hear more about how she is doing. Is she able to eat? Strokes often affect swallowing. (SLPs work on that, too) You know, nothing is impossible with God. Praying, friend! Hugs to you!

    • Thanks, Karin! We love Mom’s therapists and they’re doing an amazing job. Actually, her swallow was affected by the stroke (right side). She is on a pureed diet for now, but before the fall and the hip fracture yesterday, they were moving her to a mechanical diet. We’re hopeful that will happen soon, but we need to get this surgery behind us and get back to rehab so they can evaluate her.

      She has a long road ahead, but you’re so right — nothing is impossible with God!
      Hugs back to you!

      • Oh wow, a fall and fracture, too! Praying even more now. She is blessed with an obviously wonderful and loving family. It makes all the difference in recovery. I am assuming with the right sided stroke that her speech is intact? That is a blessing. Nothing is impossible… xo

        • UGH, Karin – I keep saying that wrong: left side stroke, right side deficiencies. She’s had a pile of Speech Therapy and has made good progress. And yes, she has a large extended family and they’re wonderful. We’re so blessed!

          • it’s a complicated brain we have. Ok, NOW I know exactly what to pray for! Progress is good!!

  12. I think you already hit on the two best tips: humor and gratitude. Press on!

  13. Rhonda Blackburn

    Along those lines: I have a friend who has asked me to see that she is buried in tight leather pants, backside up in the casket, if she gets sick and loses a lot of weight before she dies. I think I need to pass the chin hair shaving request to my daughter and make her promise. Thanks for the tip.

    • I should probably carry a journal and write down all these ideas. Or keep a note in my smart phone. Everybody is supposed to have their In Case of Emergency (ICE) number to call. I think I’ll title the note, “ICE and I’m incapacitated”
      Keep sending suggestions.

  14. Susan,

    A merry heart does good like a medicine. Keep on being merry and letting your joy overflow to others.
    You do that so well!

    • You’re a sweetie, Glenda. And I also know you’re praying. Thanks so much. We’re grateful.

  15. Susan,
    In 1998, Bonnie Jean Moses, my mother suffered several strokes. I remember going to see her and all she could do was squeeze my hand in an effort to communicate. I told her I was having a difficult time seeing her like this. A few weeks later sent went Home to be with her Lord, Jesus. You are a strong christian, and you know Jesus is stronger. Had it not been for Him, I would not be here. We Pray for His presence during this time.

    • Thanks so much, Tim. You’re so right — it’s during times of trials that He makes Himself known to us and gives us supernatural strength. We all feel it and we’re grateful for the prayer support we receive from so many friends like you and Debbie.

  16. When my grandma was in the ICU my mom used to bring lotion to massage her legs and I brought a radio so that I could sing her favorite hymns. There were lots of laughs. Praying for all of you and sending you great big hugs!

    • Thanks, Diana. It’s amazing the little things that really bring a blessing. My mom loves to have her hair brushed. I hated doing that when I was a little girl, but find great joy in it now :) I appreciate all your prayers for us.

  17. Here are a few things we’ve found helpful when we’re all ready to kill each other and our host is being over-ambitious:
    1. Worship music. It takes us from “No way!” to “We’ve got this” before we even reach the chorus.
    2. Laughter. Sometimes you have to laugh at how you glob paint all over the floor.
    3. The thankfulness game. Each person list something you’re thankful for. It’ll probably start like, “I’m thankful for the paper towel to wipe up this paint” and turn into “I’m thankful for the sunset the Master Painter crafted for us tonight.” Keep going until you’re in a better mood.

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