Saturday, May 23, 2009

chemical sandman

Whatever they put in Mom's IV solution must have done more than kill off infection, because Mom spent the evening in a stuporous doze, despite the arrival of my uncle John, his wife (my aunt Deok-hui), and their daughter (my cousin Jihae). The relatives had very kindly brought along a rib-sticking take-out Chinese meal, but Mom was in no condition to sit with us. We let her sleep on the couch while we ate in the dining room.

I don't know whether Mom realizes how much loving touch she experienced today, after she'd gotten home from the ER. The relatives were all great about rubbing her temples, holding her hand, stroking her cheek, helping her adjust her position on the couch, etc. Mom experienced most of this while her eyes were closed; given her torpor, she might not have been fully aware of what was going on at any given time, though she did have to wake up and step away to the bathroom at one point. Her shuffle down the hallway, accompanied by an honor guard of family members, was both humorous and touching, like a tableau in a castle drama about an ailing monarch.

Mom had initially resisted going to the hospital, and I was sorry that she ended up spending so much time there. I had assumed, at the outset, that Mom would be discharged almost as quickly as she had been brought in, but this was not to be: instead, the hospital did a CT scan and an intravenous procedure; according to Dad, she was at the hospital about six hours. When we first arrived, Mom began shivering, probably as a result of a low-grade fever combined with the ER's air conditioning. I requested a bed sheet from one of the doctors, then draped it around her like a shawl while Dad took care of the paperwork.

Pastor Kim and Pastor Jeri visited Mom while she was in the ER; my thanks to them both. At the time, I had driven my brother David home so that he could pick up his own car and drive off to work in DC, so the clergy saw Mom in the ER while I was away. I briefly saw Pastor Kim when I drove back to the hospital to pick up my parents, but didn't see Pastor Jeri, who sent me a text message. (She's becoming increasingly adept with her BlackBerry.)

Care surrounds Mom, and today was the proof of it. From Sean's insistence on getting Mom to the ER, to Dad's conscientious attention to all the sign-this minutiae of hospital bureaucracy (the French have a great expression for those piles of useless forms that clutter our lives: la paperasse), to the kind visits of our two pastors, to the loving ministrations of our relatives-- Mom's day, while arduous, was also marked by compassion. People showed her the sort of concern that she has shown to others in the past. While I don't really believe in cosmic justice, it's sometimes true that what goes around comes around, as it did today.

Thanks to everyone for their love and support, including the friends of Mom who called during the afternoon and evening.


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