• Chapter 7- Loosing the Battle

    "Yesterday we talked about drinking, I had never been able to before. All of the sudden I had no desire or urge left to drink."

    Mom was in and out of the hospital for 5 months near the end. Battling her shutting down organs especially her liver. She hated the hospital and every nurse and doctor in it. She blamed them for her discomfort and agony. They were only there to help her try and heal. At the beginning of the five months I remember a doctor telling her she had 3-6 months to live. Everyone seemed to put that aside and hang on to some hope, optimism or miracle that she would pull through this and never drink again. Everyone was very optimistic but I think we all really knew what was really happening. She had edema a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body. She had jaundice skin and eyes, couldn't walk or eat on her own. She wore a diaper and used a bedpan to go to the bathroom because the edema made it so she could not walk. She hated this way of living. She laid in bed for weeks just taking 18 pills a day to keep her organs from shutting down. She became a diabetic on top of everything else because her kidneys were working at ten times their capacity to make up for what the liver was not doing for them. After three months of doing nothing other than watching tv, sleeping and being poked and prodded at by nurses she ended up getting out of bed and walked again because of her amazing will power. She was one stubborn woman. Her brain wanted one thing and that was to survive and get healthy again but her body was giving her another.

    Eventually that led her to move to a nursing home where she ended up staying for a couple of weeks. She concentrated on becoming more self sufficient while she was there. Getting stronger at walking, dressing herself and feeding herself again. We all thought, wow a miracle happened! Just maybe there was a chance that her liver could regenerate itself and she could live through this whole terrible ordeal. Maybe this was her second chance. A chance to finally quit drinking.

    She ended up going to live back with my grandparents after the nursing home where she was starting the practice of healing herself once again. Only at that very moment in her life did she feel that she never wanted to drink again. Well, I am afraid it was too late. She only lasted three weeks living with them when my grandmother found her violently shaking in bed one afternoon. They called 911 and had her taken back to the hospital by ambulance. She went back into the hospital October 2nd 2013 with a fever of 103 degrees. Violent shakes and fluid on her lungs. Her body was shutting down. She had an infection in her blood and was put on a breathing machine mask called a CPAP that would force air into her lungs each time she took a breath. She was slowly suffocating with all the fluid on her lungs. She was slowly but quickly slipping away. After two long days of the breathing machine she was exhausted and demanded a breathing tube be put in place. The nurses gave her a breathing tube literally two minutes before I walked into the hospital to see her one last time. She was put in a tranquil state of mind in order to have the breathing tube in her throat. Which meant I'd never hear my moms voice again because she was unable to talk and looked as though she was sleeping. I saw her and sat by her side, held her hand and told her happy stories and how much I loved her. I would rub her hair and tell her how beautiful she was, only to get no response. When I first walked into her hospital room in the intensive care unit she had just been recently sedated. I'll never forget this image as long as I live. I walked up to her side to tell her I was there. Her eyes were closed and one small tear ran down both of her cheeks. Even with no real response, that was enough of a response to me. Confirmation for me that she knew I was there to be with her. It's painstaking to watch a loved one in that position. Her blood was poisoned and as thin as water. She had tubes and machines hooked up to her everywhere. There was always a machine beeping or making a noise. I stayed by her bedside with my brother for 3 days and said and did everything I needed to.

    I flew back home to my husband and daughter, only to get right back on a plane six days later. Something in my gut told me I needed to go back. I arrived back October 13th 2013. Her kidneys were shutting down her urine bag was filled with blood. Her blood was thinning even more, she was on a medicine just to keep her heart pumping and also developed pneumonia. Her blood was so thin her gums were bleeding and each and every prick in her fingers would bleed at any moment from any sort of pressure being placed on her hands. She was given blood transfusions and platelet replacements on a daily basis just to try and keep her blood slightly thicker. She looked terrible. It's a sight my memory will never erase. I never told her she looked like that though, I just told her she looked amazing and beautiful and I was just so happy to be with her through all of this. I pulled up a chair once again and just held her hand and told stories with my brother. We couldn't conversate with her so we had conversations with each other so she could listen to us and just find comfort in our voices. We laughed, we cried and played beautiful soothing music for her to listen to.

    During the week I went back home my mom came off the breathing tube for a couple of days and got put back on the CPAP machine. During that time my brother told me she said to tell me she "loves me more than anything." I knew at that very moment she knew she was dying. But not up until that very moment did she ever think she would die. She was scared to die. She didn't want to die. My brother and I slept in two vinyl hospital chairs by her side that night. Only to be woken up by a nurse to tell us her breathing patterns were changing and it might be a matter of time now. We both woke up placed one chair on each side of her bedside and held her hands. We watched the breathing and heart monitors decrease every few minutes. We told her we loved her, we told her we would be okay without her and that she needed to let go and not suffer any longer. At a silent heartbreaking 9:21am on October 14th 2013 my mom took her last breath holding our hands. Ironically enough her birthday was 9/21 and she passed away at 9:21am.

    She lost the battle to alcohol. Which in most cases it always wins. The only way to make alcohol loose is to get help and stop drinking.