My mom is in the hospital again, with pneumonia, again. Mom has ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It causes the nerves that serve the voluntary muscles in the body to atrophy and stop working. Mom was diagnosed seven years ago.
My mother is and always has been the strongest person I know. Nothing has ever been able to slow her down- sick kid, working, serving as a volunteer on our local first aid squad, divorcing an alcoholic husband, and raising three kids virtually singlehandedly after that.
I always say that my mother is the reason I have not let my health problems stop me. When I was growing up, I did not know I was sick. Everything that happened to me was treated very matter-of-factly, like it was no big deal. I coughed a lot? I was sick? Whatever. Do your homework. Wash the dishes. Fold the laundry. I resented it at the time, as any red-blooded American teenager would, but her toughness made me who and what I am today.
I have plenty of experience as a patient, but very little visiting other people in hospitals, and therefore am somewhat awkward at making small talk or helping out with things while the person is in. (Of all people, you'd think I'd be at ease with hospitals, wouldn't you?) I either try to do too much, or back off and do almost nothing. With my mother, I have a tendency to hover and try to do too much. (I suspect there's a part of me that wants to pay her back for everything she did for me when I was a kid. Even though as a mother myself, I now understand that, yeah, all that is work, but you don't expect to ever get paid back- you do it because of the love you have for the child.)
I met Mom at the ER Tuesday evening; she went via ambulance from her assisted living facility. I stayed by her side until just after 11pm, after she was settled into her room. I went and visited her the next day for a few hours, and the next as well, thankful for once that I work in education and have summers off. She'll be discharged tomorrow, and my sister is bringing her home. I may go see her later in the afternoon. I can't go Tuesday, because I have IVIG and my son has OT.
For those of you who also have a lot of experience as a patient- do you feel this awkward when visitng friends or family that are sick, whether in hospital or at home?