Chiquita Update

I spent most of the day on Sunday with Mom. Got her cleaned up, dressed and fed a couple of times.

Monday morning, Mom called and asked Little Sis and me to take her to lunch. It’s a long walk to the dining room, and she wasn’t sure if she was strong enough to make it on her own. She did make it there and back, but it wiped her out for the day.

Tuesday she sounded good on the phone when I talked to her the first few times. But by 7:00 pm, she called me at home and asked me to come over and fix her dinner. She was too weak to do it for herself. I went over, fixed her a sandwiched, and helped her get ready for bed. While I was doing the dishes, Mom called out to me. She was in the bathroom, and she said she felt like she was about to faint.

I got Mom into bed. After a little while, she told me she felt better. I offered to stay the night, but she said no. “You can stay for  while, though,” she relented. So I stayed, but we kept chatting, and I could tell I was keeping her awake. So I tucked her in and left.

When I got home, I called my sister to update her. We discussed the next steps: investigating a medic-alert-type “panic button” to wear around her neck, and stepping up the help she’s getting from three times a week to seven. Then she conferenced my mom in, and we had a lovely chat before we all went to sleep.

Today I took Little Sis to her end-of-the-school-year picnic, then stopped by Mom’s. I fixed her an egg salad sandwich for lunch (the first thing she’d eaten all day, and it was 2:30 pm…and did I mention she’s diabetic?!?) and tortellini salad with chicken and grilled asparagus for later.

Later that night, after the girls’ dance class, I called to make sure she had eaten and was doing okay. She had, and she was, but didn’t like the tortellini salad (everyone’s a critic!).

I contacted the staff at her apartment building. At the moment, she’s in independent living (senior apartments), but has someone come in 3 days a week to help her with showers and laundry. She’s bouncing back pretty slowly, though, so I asked if we could have someone come in every morning for the next week or two.

I’m doing okay…just REALLY busy. The girls’ birthdays were busy, plus lots of end-of-year activities, other birthday parties, picnics…we’re hopping. Tomorrow we’re hosting 10 little girls between the ages of 4 and 9 for a sleep over (pray for me). So today I’m doing cleaning, cooking and shopping.

Oh, and today is my 36th birthday. 🙂

In the light of day, my guilt over taking so long to figure out that Mom as NOT okay is really not too bad. It’s at night, as I’m trying to fall asleep that I can’t get past it. I picture my mom on the floor, the way I found her in that first moment I walked in: cold, shivering, weak, alone, scared…and multiply that by 24 hours. I had the power to stop that. Or at least, shorten it.

Bygones. When you know better, you do better. Let’s get up and do it all again.

It’s 10:00 am. Time for Mom’s (second) wake-up call! 🙂


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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2 Responses to Chiquita Update

  1. Betsy says:

    Love your blog and I can relate oh so well even though my chickies have left the nest. Juggling time with them (well, mostly time with the grandbabies to be honest…) and trying to make a living in addition to Mama-care is not easy to pull off. Stop by my blog if you have a chance –

    I’ve got a link on my web site for a personal emergency response system if you’d care to take a look. Having one for Mama gives me the freedom to get out of the house without worrying, it’s truly a blessing.

  2. Ann says:

    My parents live in an independent living facility. They have folks who will escort them down to meals if they can’t make it on their own.

    If your mom has a wheelchair or companion chair (BEST $200 we ever spent), they could push her down to meals. We did that when my dad came back from the hospital and couldn’t walk the whole way. It costs, but it’s worth it in terms of peace of mind and getting your diabetic mom fed (my dad’s diabetic too). – Ann

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