Dispatch from the ICU

Though not scheduled to arrive until later this week, I can tell this cycle didn’t do the trick. For the moment, I am calm about it. I’m sure I’ll be a complete wreck later, but now… I’m good. Mostly because I’m visiting my family, so I’m thoroughly distracted.

Unfortunately, my mom is back in the ICU. It’s like we’re playing musical chairs with hospital floors. This week, ICU. Next week, the Step Down Unit. Oh, wait! We’re at the ICU again!

While we were at the hospital yesterday, I was talking about attending a friend’s 50th anniversary celebration. (Of his marriage to God. Yes, I’m talking about a priest. And yes, I had a ton of deeply conflicted feelings about it. But I’ll talk more about that in another post.)

I mentioned to my mom that he joined his order in 1964. My dad says “That’s two years before we got married, in 1966.” My mom smiled, and reached for his hand. I silently leaked from my eyeballs.

It hurts so much to see her like this. I’m watching her waste away because they can’t fix what’s wrong with her. And it’s gone on for so long. What’s worse is that her fighting spirit seems to have run out. I could almost stand it all before because even in her worst states, she had this ferocious drive to get better.

I get that really isn’t anything called fairness in this life. I don’t mean to drop a Cynical Bomb on you, but I just don’t see it working that way. There isn’t a good/bad balance in any one life. Some of us get breaks. Some of us just get shafted. Some of us are lucky enough to have a decent share of both.

But what is happening to my mom does seem unusually cruel. It’s been 8 months since she went into the hospital. Her muscles are hanging from her bones. She can’t talk. Her hair is thinning and falling out. My beautiful mom’s body is being carved up in an effort to save her.

All I can do is stand by her side and tell her I love her.

(Aside: when my doctors have told me to reduce stress to help with fertility, you now know why I tell them to fuck off.)

And you know what’s weird? Even seeing her like this, she is still so beautiful to me. Her hands, her smile, her brown eyes (so like mine.) I don’t see the tubes, the hospital gown, or the machines helping to keep her alive. Though I recognize the decline, I still see her as she was before even when I’m standing right next to her.



  1. julieann081 · July 16, 2014

    This is so beautiful and so excruciatingly sad. ❤ I am glad you are with your parents during this time. Sending lots of light and love to all of you. ❤

    • thecommonostrich · July 21, 2014

      Thank you. This whole experience has been so deeply sad, but there are times when I’m also profoundly grateful that I have had this time with her.

  2. bionicbrooklynite · July 17, 2014

    Shit. That’s all I’ve got. Please tell everyone I love them. Your mom is one of the most surviving people I’ve ever met. I’m hoping she’s got another miraculous recovery in her.

    • thecommonostrich · July 21, 2014

      “Shit” does sum it up nicely. I’m really hoping that this is just a “bad patch” on an already crappy journey.”

  3. conceptionallychallenged · July 20, 2014

    I’m so sorry. I know a little bit of what it’s like to see my mom in the hospital, but this long… it just sounds awfully tough. Hoping things get better, somehow.

    • thecommonostrich · July 21, 2014

      Thanks. On a certain level, I knew I would have to do this eventually, but nothing really prepared me for this.

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