Well, my best friend in the whole world said a final goodbye to us, her family on August 4, 2014. My Mom is greatly missed. I have days where it all of the sudden hits me…she is not coming back and I feel my heart stutter and I cannot catch my breath. How will I go on without her? The house is too quiet and lonely with her gone.
I want to take a moment to let y’all in on a secret….at least it was unknown to me until right before July 7, 2014.
To begin, just before July4th weekend my 91 year old Mom took a fall in the kitchen. No cuts, sores or obvious bone deformities…nothing out of the ordinary. By the weekend her legs were so swollen and red and the heat coming off of them was hot enough to fry an egg on….no foolin. Monday, July 7th, we (my 2nd best friend and ex-husband and that is another story for another time)called an ambulance to transport Leta (aka Mom) to the ER, as by this point she could not walk. I just knew her leg(s) were broken or fractured. She was admitted to the hospital that evening with the diagnosis of Cellulitis Infection (what the heck is that? I wondered). Little did I know this infection could and would kill.
They began treating her with IV antibiotic of clindamycin (sp) the strongest bacterial antibiotic there is. WOW! also, they gave her (every 4 hours) Morphine for the pain. I have never witnessed anyone in that much pain. Not even the 10 years running calls with the fire department did I ever see anyone in that much pain. All this from cellulitis? Oh, how little I didn’t know. She began to feel slightly better and ate a couple of meals, this is where the strong antibiotic kicked her arse. It gave her diarrhea so bad that when they were cleaning her up from one “accident” the next one started. It was awful. Needless to say this went on for 24 hours. After this, finally, let up she quit eating. She would not eat again. She would drink water but that was it. Also, they were still getting her up and on her feet to use a bedside pottychair…this stopped after she collapsed and went unresponsive on them. The doctor confined her to the bed until a CT scan could be done to check to see if she had had a stroke during this episode. She did not. From that point on she would not eat or get out of the bed…this was July 12th. July 25th they released her for me to bring her home and with the help of Hospice (thank God for these oustanding people), my sisters and brother we took care of her at home until she passed on August 4th.
People say I am a strong person, never complain when life pulls me down. I now know just where I get that strength from. Do you know that up until the day she stopped talking (the day before she left the hospital) she always, always thanked the Nursing staff for all they did. All the pain they caused turning her, bathing her, helping her to the potty, lifting her legs, etc…she never complained, never said one hateful word to any of the caretakers. Never! Wow, I am humbled by my Mother.
I don’t, really, know why I am telling y’all all of this except it feels good to let people know that she was a wonderful person. Also, please be aware if you have family members with poor circulation or who are overweight that Cellulitis Infection is out there and is extremely serious. You may have know obvious wounds or breaks, after a fall or accident, but don’t be afraid to get checked out anyway. Your vigilance may save someone extreme pain and/or heartbreak.
I don’t know that if I had known about this infection and all it’s possibilities that it would have saved my Mother’s life. I cannot say that with any certainty. I can only wish that I had made her go to the hospital sooner and who knows…maybe…But, that is all hindsight and second guessing and will get me nowhere in the grieving process.
Just know that Leta A Brown, 91 years young, was a wonderful, loving, caring person and the best friend I will ever know. I miss you Mom…..alot!
hugs to all, jo