We drove to Barstow to visit my mom at her nursing home yesterday. That's a 3 hour drive from where we lived in Ojai. The last time we saw her was on our way to move to Montana in 2006. I pretty much thought that would be the last time I saw her, so I'm grateful to have been given one last chance. We left the boys with their other grandparents here at the house. They've met my mom and know she's really sick, but I didn't want them to see her like that again. They're just too young to understand and it would have been hard for them to sit with nothing to do for a few hours.
For those of you who don't know -- my mom suffered several bad strokes about 5 years ago. They left her paralyzed, unable to speak and unable to eat. She's been really alert all this time, but has been unable to communicate. That's starting to fade now and she's not as responsive as she used to be. However, she did manage to stay awake while we were there and she smiled a few times as well. She was more alert than I thought she'd be, from what my brother said, so that was nice. I gave her a copy of my Dilly book and she smiled when she saw my Elvis purse. It was still awkward for me and hard to see her like that. My brother, Mike lives nearby and sees her everyday. He's amazing that he has the strength to do that. It's just a sad situation all the way around because her quality of life is next to nothing. It was one of those situations where she could go at anytime or linger miserably for years. Sadly, the latter has been the case for her. It's also ironic she's in a nursing home because my mom was a nurse and spent her entire career working in geriatrics. Now she's the patient, which has to be hard.
The picture above is her cat, Toby. He's adorable and he hangs out at the nursing home most days. In fact, my brother said if he doesn't bring him, Toby acts up and gets into trouble. Mike will say, "Let's get your clothes on," and Toby is all happy. His clothes means his collar, which he associates as getting to go bye-bye. He hangs out on top of the closet in my mom's hospital room. From my mom's bed, she has a great view of him sitting up there, so it's a perfect spot. All the patients and staff adore him. A few years ago Toby got a cancerous tumor on one of his back legs and had to have it amputated. My brother knew how much Toby meant to my mom, so he worked hard to pay for the surgery. So now Toby is a 3-legged cat, but that doesn't slow him down at all. He's such a sweet cat and cute as can be. Edited to change the cat's name -- his name is Toby. I knew I had it wrong. Sorry, Toby!
It's weird -- knowing that it will more than likely be the last time I see her. I don't know how to take that and my emotions are a little jacked up right now. No one ever wants to see a parent suffer, especially for so many years, which has been her situation. But I am thankful I was given the opportunity to go out there and see her again. Mike was surprised how alert and awake she was, so maybe she gave it her all so she could see Rick & I. On our way home we stopped in California City to visit another friend of ours. Bruce is working out in the desert at Edwards AFB and I've known him just as long as I've known Rick. It was nice to catch up with what he's been up to, have dinner, and reminisce over old times. Hopefully, he can make it up our way sometime soon. Today we're just bumming around the house for awhile. Rick's helping his parents by changing some faucets outside. Later tonight we're going to another friend's house to visit some of Rick's old co-workers. It's pretty much non-stop go-go-go here. I'm looking forward to relaxing when I get home -- this vacation stuff is hard work!