I got an email at work on Thursday morning from my dad, explaining that Mom had a seizure (or similar "fainting spell," unresponsive for 20 to 30 minutes) early that morning and was in the ER for observation. The nursing home had called him, and he had gone to the hospital at 5am. She was fine, his email said, just bored.
There's nothing predictable about Alzheimer's except for decline, so hearing that Mom had a seizure was the equivalent to hearing she'd had a stroke, or a heart attack. Panic, loss, fear, bewilderment, anger all came to the surface like the day we heard her diagnosis five years ago. Or the day she got lost while taking a walk. Or the nights she woke up crying. Or the day only a month ago that we moved her to the nursing home.
Those happy, peaceful, funny, beautiful moments are the ones my counselor calls miracles. I wish for more dramatic miracles, like Jesus calling my mom's name in a loud voice like he did for Lazarus.
"Vicki! Come out!"
I wish the tendrils of Alzheimer's would unwrap themselves like burial cloth, falling to the ground in ribbons. I wish she could step out of this tomb.
The miracles I witnessed this week might not make headlines, but they still soothe me.
- A kind doctor's soft voice, giving us vocabulary for our questions
- Nurses who were attentive and compassionate
- Dad's stories about music and art and cooking and childhood
- Mom's laughter, throwing her head back in that familiar way, even in a hospital bed
- A funny moment of self-consciousness as the nurse wheeled Mom out of the ER, suddenly aware she wasn't in her normal clothes ("Am I dressed?!")
- Speedy return to the nursing home and a big welcome from the staff there ("Vicki! Hi! How are you feeling? I'm so glad to see you!")
- Family photos on Friday morning that had us all laughing
- Seeing my 28 year old brother embrace Mom and rest his head on her shoulder
- Time this weekend to rest, craft, read, and process.