Letter To My Family (11-14-04)
Mary -BrytEyz- Ball
Age Rating: 10 +
Picture Credits: Karen S. from the old site http://KaraokeAnonymous.com
Gosh, I'm in the best mood! Great things are happening day by day. Where oh where do I start?
First off, Bill has assured me that if I ever have a concern, all I have to do it voice it to the nurse in charge and they will tend to Mom's needs. The lady in her room has been spoken too and it was explained that Mom is not "waving" at her. That's good. I really can't wait until she has her own room, however... or at least less patients in it. I'm a pretty positive person and believe that things my mom hears or sees should be positive as much as possible. Being scolded for moving when everyone else in the world is encouraging her to move...well, that's hardly positive. I really hope you guys don't think I was over reacting when I wrote my update on 11-10-04. Bill hit it on the nose when he told everyone I want the best for Mom... I do! And so does everyone, as he also stated.
I was really emotional when writing that update, and usually I've had time to calm down and think things over before writing you guys. If I upset or worried anyone uneccessarily, I apologize. Things are wonderful right now and getting better so let me begin with the good stuff.
First off, I visited Mom on Friday with my boys and saw Bob there. Gary started crying, then Mom started crying while looking at him, then DJ started crying. It was all I could do to NOT cry as well. She has so much I'm sure she wants to say and she just can't at this point. I encouraged Gary by reminding him that in Paradise, nobody will be sick and nobody will be sad. He said, "Mom, I just wish this never happened to Grandma." I told him I felt the same and said, "Let's make grandma happy! Tell her why you love her and what's so great about her. Why do you like her being your grandma?" He turned to her, held her hand, kissed it, and then told her, "Grandma, I like you being my grandma because you let me play video games!" Geesh! Perhaps I could have directed his thoughts in a much more "meaningful" direction?
Mom's eyes did pop open wide and the corners of her mouth turned upward. I swear she was trying to smile. I laughed, Bob laughed, then DJ smiled and stopped crying. I tossled Gary's hair and explained that although that was nice of Grandma to do, I'm sure he loved her for more reasons than that. He said, "Yeah, cuz' she's the best!" Out of the mouth of Babes, eh? I looked and Mom was smiling again.
DJ reminded Mom that God can hear her prayers if she thinks them because he can read our hearts and minds. Then he prayed with her for a moment. Uncle Dennis had encouraged us to remind Mom of this when I spoke to him on the phone last. I think it was a great idea and I remind her of it almost every time I visit.
I left and was glad that someone was still with her after I was gone (Bob was still visiting). I hate to be the last to leave. I feel like I'm abandoning her when I do. I did go back with my friend Paulette as Mom had sang karaoke with us before, and when Mom and I ran the daycare... we cared for Paulette's two little boys. Paulett'es children, Austin and Brendon, drew Mom a picture and I put it in her notebook of pictures and emails that I'm receiving for and about her.
Mom waved bye to me on Friday evening when I was leaving. I said I loved her and I missed her and waved bye. She lifted her left hand and her fingers twitched. You could say it was coincidence. However, I'm the ultimate and eternal optimist and I'd like to think she waved. Also, when the nurse was visiting her before her shower, she asked Mom something while Bob was there and apparently she tried to speak. The nurse asked the question again and the same number of "grunts" or hoarse sounding syllables were heard again. Bob said he couldn't hear what she said, but he is sure that she was trying to say "something" as it sounded EXACTLY the same both times. What great news!
Saturday I received a call from an extremely excited Bob. He explained that he had brought in a small television and VCR for Mom so she could watch TV and movies. He had asked her if she wanted him to bring in Shrek for her to watch and she nodded her head up and down three times conveying that YES, she wanted him to bring it in. This is the first time I am aware of that she's responded to a command or request from anyone in such a positive and undeniable way. Other times, like when I wave and I swear she's trying to wave back...a pessimist could always say she just happened to "twitch" when I asked her to wave. When someone like Gary cries and Mom starts crying, again, a pessimist could say it's coincidence. But she's never nodded "yes" unconsciously or accidentally to my knowledge so I honestly feel this was a genuine response to Bob's question. I do also happen to know for a fact that Mom REALLY, REALLY, REALLY likes the movie Shrek. One of the last gifts she and Bob gave Gary was the movie Shrek. (Besides, they sing karaoke in Shrek... both I and II).
Well, I just had to drop in with DJ and his friend John. Mom was awake and Bill, Billy, and Bob were all visiting. There were chairs all around her bed and she watched everyone and everything that was going on. Billy and DJ started wrestling and playing around and she watched them very intently! She even smiled when we were cracking jokes about the way Bill and I used to do the same things our kids were doing to each other now. When two kangaroos were "boxing" on the small TV that Bob brought in for her, I pointed out that they looked like Bill and I when we used to fight. I think she liked that comment as well.
As usual, I put lotion on her hands and feet. They weren't so bad this time so I think it's doing good for her. The nurses have said that if we wish to bring in a detangler or conditioner, that may help with Mom's snarls some. They "routinely" bathe Mom only on Fridays. I have put in a request to the doctors that she be bathed more often than that and I'll do it myself if I have to. I should find out Monday or Tuesday if that's acceptable to them and then perhaps on Mondays or Wednesdays I can give her a shower so she can have one more than just once a week.
I also received some great news yesterday over the phone. The first call was from Aunt BJ who told me she was attempting to schedule a visit up here over the Thanksgiving break. She said she had time off from work and had even discussed it with Sean. Once everything was confirmed and set in stone, she was going to ask Grandma. It was not long after we hung up (couple hours?) when I received another call. This one was from Grandma who was tickled pink that she had just been invited to come to Michigan by BJ. Yay!!! I'm so very excited to see them again, and even better, they'll get to see Mom and all the improvements since they were here last.
At that time we all thought it was a very real possibility that Mom could be a vegetable for the rest of her life. Looking at her with all those tubes and wires and machines hooked up to her, watching her labor to breathe, holding her swollen hand, watching her weight increase day by day due to swellling...well, it's all very discouraging. I had a nighmare that I went in to visit her and there lay Jabba the Hut. *sigh* It's hard to be positive and optimistic when faced with such a tragedy. There was even a few days I felt like I was greiving in a different sense, almost like she had died and I had lost her forever. Then I felt guilty for having those feelings because she did NOT die and we have NOT lost her forever. I felt like I was almost "unthankful" in a way for missing her when she was still with us... just in the way we had her with us before.
I've got to tell you that all the recent changes and improvements have sure made a difference and I am sure that my Mom (as I knew her) is still alive and kicking in that body that's slowly coming around. Her eyes get big when she wants to show us that she's hearing us, that she's paying attention, or that she agrees or is shocked by what we're saying. She cries when she is sad, when a visitor is sad, or when she wants so badly to say something... but can't. She will try to move her mouth and her jaw moves up and down a little, then she'll try to move her lips and the almost "purse" a bit, and once or twice it almost sounds like she's coughing. I have got to think she's trying to talk, and when she does re-learn how to do it... man, watch out world! I bet she'll never stop! LOL.
While I was visiting yesterday, Saturday, and holding her hand... it was the first time I could say with all conviction that she held my hand back. Her fingers were wrapped around mine and tightened every so often. I can't wait to see her today. My brother Lonnie is coming over for breakfast and then when we're done eating and visiting, I'm going to get ready for Sunday services and leave early so I can stop by and visit her to tell her the good news that Grandma and BJ will coming to visit. Yay!!!
I've also got to tell her that my cousin David was talking to his sister Barbara on the phone and Barb is praying for Mom and wants us to tell her as much and that she says hello too. David gave her my number, so hopefully she'll call and LEAVE A MESSAGE as I often can't answer my phone, especially if I'm in the hospital with Mom. If she leaves me her number, I'll be able to call her back. I'm looking forward to talking with her because it's been a very long time and I've only heard news of her and her children through the grapevine. If anyone has pics they can send me to my email of her, her children, or any of the family for that matter... I'd absolutely LOVE it!!!
Oh, which reminds me!!! Mom and I have a good friend named Karen (Mom called Karen her adopted Sis), and she's sent me some great pics of Mom. I've attached them to the letters I've been writing ya'll and then posting them online for the benefit of those without email, etc. In case you don't have the links any more, I'll attach them to the end of this letter to so you can go back and see these pics I'm talking about.
Well, I'm going to get ready for my breakfast "date" with my brother. I'll be looking forward to any pics you all feel like sending my way and I'll get some ready to send back to you as well. One final request... if you have any stories or anything funny you remember involving my Mom.... please forward them to me. Aunt Ruth had a great story about how Mom followed her around the store calling her Mom rather loudly and emberassing her to death. (There was another sister there doing it to Aunt Ruth too.... Kathy maybe?). Well, when I read these stories to Mom, she smiles really big and I'd love to have more to read to her. Her eyes also opened really big when I read a letter from a childhood friend named Guy. So, keep the letters coming, share a funny, happy, or encouraging story for my Mom, and keep the prayers going. God is surely hearing AND ANSWERING them as proven by her improvement day by day!
Love to you all,
(Mary Ball Feutz)
PS: Here are the links I promised you with pictures of Mom on them. A couple of them are artwork of family, such as a drawing of a mother and a daughter, but I can't remember right off hand which are which. Most of them are photographs with my Mom in them though. So click around, remember the good times, and share YOUR pics with me if you have any.
Last but not least... did you know that if you go to GOOGLE.COM and search for VIGILANT COMA... one of those letters pops up as the first option? Is that cool or what?!?!?