I went out to breakfast with my dad today. He had a vintage vanity that my sister was giving to me; I love everything about the vanity, so I wasn't going to let her just get rid of it. So my dad packed it into the back of his big ridiculous truck, and waited for a day that Kurt and I would be able to lug the damn thing up the stairs. We celebrated with various eggs and breakfast meats.
I called to get an update on my mom, as I do every day around mid day, and sometimes in the evening. I got a nurse today I had never spoken to; he had a very deep, matter-of-fact voice. I asked how she was doing, and he said she was stable, and about the same as before. Then, out of nowhere, he said, "you know, she's just going to be like this until she gets her liver. We're keeping her stable so that she can do that. But she's not going to improve until the transplant happens."
And for a goddamned second, that stung. But almost immediately, I appreciated his honesty.
My mom has been in the hospital in Cleveland since November 7th, two weeks of which has been in ICU, because she's on continuous dialysis, which is only administered in ICU. I call for updates every single day. And if you ever want to feel really guilty for not going up to see your dying mom in Cleveland every day? Call up and talk to these nurses.
I've been struggling for weeks with the fact that my mom can't talk on the phone anymore. She can barely form sentences. I used to talk to her on the phone every day, just to check in, just to see how she was doing. It was a safe distance; it made me feel better. But I can't do that now. Her voice isn't the same. She slurs and is in and out of consciousness. She recognizes me and calls me by my childhood nickname, Bugsy. She says "oh no" and laughs when she sees my husband.
All I want is for my mom to be able to have a conversation. Even if it's about an episode of some bullshit ass reality tv show, I want to talk to her. I want to hear her laugh. So I guess I'm holding out for that miracle. I hold out for a lot of miracles with my mother.
But when I call her nurses, they say "oh, she's talking. She's laughing at our jokes!" And I go up there, hopeful. But I walk in the room, and it's tubes and needles and my mom laying in a hospital bed, passed out, mouth usually open. I usually leave the room to cry a couple times before I can sit down and talk to her.
Today, I didn't feel guilty. I called and checked in, I felt that familiar twinge of guilt...and I made space for feeling terrible today. But I also finally got off of the couch and started putting my office together. I start a new part time job tomorrow with a local arts organization, and I am pretty excited about it. I'm still sad and broke and figuring things out, but today, I didn't feel guilty for not doing the things that I can't do right now. I took care of what I could today, and enjoyed my dad's company for the first time in a long time. That relationship is always evolving.
My brother is moving across the country next week. My sister is now a mother. I'm slowly slouching my way into my new skin; my new life.
And we're all still praying for a liver. Sooner than later.