Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Brief chronology for Wednesday:

1. Pastor Kim visited Mom in the morning. She was asleep.
2. Sean visited Mom later in the morning; he reported she was "groggy."
3. Dad picked up my aunt at the airport around 3PM, then went straight to the hospital. Mom was apparently awake and talking, though not too chatty.
4. I got to the hospital around 4:30PM. Mom was still awake and talking with my aunt. I joked with Mom, too, and she was able to laugh. Dad waited outside the ICU while I was in there. Sean texted me to say he would be there around 7PM; he ended up arriving earlier.
5. By the time Sean saw Mom again, she had gone quiescent again. Dad, Sean, my aunt, and I all went out to dinner in the nearby Koreatown.
6. We came back to the hospital and Mom was seemingly asleep, or maybe just groggy. In pairs, we said our goodbyes to her, to let her rest.

I had delayed my visit to see Mom until about 4:30PM or so. It seems I came at the right time: Mom was awake and listening to my aunt, her big sis, chatting her up in Korean. I slipped in some jokes, and Mom laughed. When Sean had seen her earlier in the morning, she had been extremely groggy, as well as nauseous and in pain from a headache (naturally!). When Sean saw her again, sometime after I had seen her, she was once again groggy and barely responsive. I assume this means she's simply fading in and out on a cycle partly determined by the meds floating around in her system.

Dad and I were the last to see her this evening. Mom was prompted to partial wakefulness by a male nurse so that she could take some medication; after drinking and swallowing with some difficulty, she settled back into bed with her eyes closed. Nevertheless, I knew she could hear us. I said, "I'm going now" in Korean, and she nodded weakly, eyes still closed. Dad and I had flanked her bed, each of us with one hand on one of hers. I saw that she had gently gripped Dad's hand. In my case, Mom gripped my gloved forefinger the way a baby instinctively grasps a parent's digits. It was a moment I'll remember for a long time, not so much for how it looked as for how it felt.

My aunt is with us at home now. She's on Texas time, which means she's slightly less tired than we are. Uncle John arrives tomorrow afternoon; it'll be good to see him, too, and given how happy Mom was to see her older sister, I'm sure she'll be just as happy to see her younger brother.


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