Wednesday, June 04, 2008

cautiously optimistic

my mom is home again, at long last. she has a huge battle ahead of her as she continues to fight a number of persistent infections, but hopefully she can wage most of this battle in Shapleigh. It has been such an emotional rollercoaster ride for her and my family, and i think because of those gargantuan ups and downs, our new motto is "The Huntress Family: Cautiously Optimistic." My dad has joked that the legislature has reconvened for an emergency bill to change "Murphy's Law" to "Huntress Law." If you don't have a sense of humor about such things, you will lose your mind, and my family has a very healthy dose of humor. It has kept us going on more than one occasion.

The nursing staff that took such amazing care of my mom has awarded me "honorary nurse" status which will at least give me a decent discount at the Maine Med cafeteria. My mom's room was a revolving door of visits as every one of those nurses made an appearance when they learned she was going home, and they each gave her tearful, happy embraces. They have become our heroines, our salvation, our family, in so many ways. As much as I love these women at the hospital, I am hoping to never see them again, unless it's in the outside world. In that case, I will wrap my arms around every one of them like a long lost friend.

So life goes mom will travel twice a day for the next 7 weeks to Southern Maine Med for critical IV antibiotics that will keep her alive and make her stronger. She will have her blood tested every other day because these same medications that will destroy this infection can also destroy other liver she must be constantly monitored. She will use a walker for months until her back heals completely. And we won't truly know if all of this has been worth it until that healing is complete. She has decidedly less pain than before the surgery, so yeah, we optimistic.

Tucked inside the long and excruciating days and nights of the past month are some wonderful vignettes filled with humor, love, friendship, compassion. It has certainly been a life-changing experience and I can honestly say, I will never be the same, nor will my mother, my father, or my sister. And while I would do erase the last 30 days for my mom, this time has strengthened the core of our family in incredible, lasting ways. As my friend Michael would say, 'you guys are like love on steroids.' indeed.

I have never ever felt so much love and support from the world of people around me. Emails and phone calls and visits from friends have been like my own IV, pumping hope and comfort through my veins. When I attended the Maine Democratic Convention on Saturday, every single person who came up to me began the conversation with "how is your mom." Some of these people I barely knew (hell, some of them i was meeting for the first time)...yet *they* knew about this crisis and were kind and generous and gentle with their questions. It was incredible. It has been like this everywhere I go, people reaching out with encouragement and well-wishes, and to say I am grateful is just a ridiculous understatement. My family has been on the receiving end of thoughts and prayers from so. many. people. and i am certain this has contributed to my mother's healing. there just isn't any doubt about it.

It is hard to be cynical about humanity in moments like this. It seems to me that most people, when tested, rise to the occasion in a beautiful way, and I have lately seen the human spirit soar.


michael said...

thanks for the quote Enny.

you ARE like love on steroids, and i am thankful you've shared so much of this experience with us all. your family is inspiring.

keeping you all in my thoughts, and wishing for a complete recovery for your mom.

love you,

Dawn on MDI said...

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Sometimes that strength may not be in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense. You and your mom and your whole family are all much stronger now, as individuals and as a unit, than you were before.

Crisis is the heat that tempers the steel and makes it strong. But unchecked, it can melt the steel away. It seems that your family has stood the test of life very well. I do not envy your trials, but I admire your strength and love.

My thoughts are with you and your mom and your whole family as this works itself out. Be well.