Friday, January 1, 2021

Life Lost in the time of RONA

Gosh, has it really been over two years since I last posted on any of my blogs. 

This is a hard post as another leaf on my tree has fallen. My sweet momma passed on Christmas Day 2020.

Even during the year of Rona, things had been going along fine. Even though her dementia was becoming more pronounced with each passing year, physically, momma was a strong as ever. I was certain that we had many more years together.

She had gone in the hospital at the beginning of the near but when she got back to her assisted living, she seemed like a new person.

Then, October 29, 2020 came, the day of her birth and and as far as I'm concerned the beginning of the end. Beginning on this date, she would enter the hospital 3 times during the months of October and November.

She would test negative for COVID on that first trip to the hospital. However, she was diagnosed with pneumonia, which the doctors said was caused by aspiration. She had thrown up 3 times in a very short period of time. While she tested negative, in hindsight, I firmly believe she was already exhibiting symptoms of COVID. Per one of my paternal cousins who is an MD, the throwing up multiple times in a short period of time is one of the symptoms of COVID. I would later learn that pneumonia is also a symptom of COVID especially in the elderly.

She would stay in the hospital for a about a week, was treated with antibiotics and eventually was transferred back to her assisted living. I saw her the weekend after she was discharged. She looked well but seem to be a bit unsteady on her feet.

A few days later, she begin exhibiting symptoms of a stroke / seizure. She was in the hospital for another week. Tested like crazy. No evidence of a stroke or seizure. Per that cousin, who is an MD, these stroke like symptoms are also symptoms of COVID. However, during this second trip to the hospital she was never tested for COVID. At the end of the week, she was transferred back to her assisted living.

Almost as soon as she got back to her assisted living, it was evident that things were not right. Mom was no longer able to walk. I saw her over the course of three day and witnessed her not be able to walk but able to sit up on Day 1 but by Day 3 not even being able to sit up. Honestly, by day 3 (a week before Thanksgiving) I just knew that mom wasn't going to make it through the night. But she did, and her assisted living called me that Friday before Thanksgiving to inform me that they were sending her back to the hospital because they didn't know what was wrong and she had suddenly spiked a fever (101 F). 

She wasn't tested for COVID upon reentry to the hospital. The diagnosis was momma still had the pneumonia and also now had a raging UTI. It was at this point that momma was also refusing to eat anything. Even I couldn't get her to eat. She was given stronger antibiotics and after 5 days the hospital deemed her ready to go back to her assisted living. At this point (Tuesday before Thanksgiving), somebody requested a COVID test on momma. The hospital said it was momma's assisted living. COVID test came back positive. What? I really thought they were joking but they weren't.

After talking to the owner of her assisted living, it was at this point that I learned that pneumonia is one of the symptoms of COVID especially in the elderly. Unfortunately, the hospital would swear until the end that the pneumonia was due to aspiration. Were they doing a CYA?

On December 2, 2020, momma was transferred from the hospital to a nursing home for rehab. Due to the positive COVID test, she could only go to a place that accepts people that tested positive for COVID. The hospital deemed her stable enough to be discharged and declared that both the pneumonia and the UTI were gone.

Once at the nursing home, for a minute, things seemed to get a bit better with the eating. Momma, never regained her strength and in those final few days, she really began to slide.

After she was at the nursing home, I did get to have 2 window visits with her but until the day she passed I would never be able to physically touch and hold my mother again or she me. It was the thing that hurt the most. During that first window visit, she looked better but during visit #2, I could tell she was really struggling. She reached her hand out to me and motioned for me to come inside but I couldn't. Perhaps she knew at that point that her days were quickly drawing to a close.

This virus, dubbed RONA, is cruel and vicious. It strikes without warning. I will never know where my mother picked up COVID. The number of possibilities are limited. Only 4 in fact - her assisted living, where everyone tested negative, me (I tested negative also), the folks ferrying her back and forth between the hospital and her assisted living, and finally the hospital (initially, they did have her in the rooms designated for COVID patients 2 of  the 3 times she went to the hospital).

I keep thinking if only she and dad had met earlier, they would have had me earlier in life. I would have possibly already been retired and been able to bring her back to my house. Even so, before she tested positive for COVID, I had already decided that if things got really bad, I would retire early and take care of her. Unfortunately, I never got that chance.

I take comfort in knowing that I don't think she suffered. She looked like she passed peacefully. And as much as it hurts to have lost her, I keep telling myself that I had her longer than she had either grandmomma or granddaddy. Momma was 37 when grandmomma died and 49 when granddaddy died. 

Until we meet again, Rest in Heaven, amongst the ancestors, my sweet momma and continue to be my sidekick, even if you aren't here with me physically, as I try to keep going on this journey that you started me on in finding our ancestors. 

We got a lot done during my off and own researching. We reconnected with our Hosch relatives here in NC, which was very important to the both us. We detested how they had essentially been kicked to the curb. We found and connected with an entire branch of our Rome line (granddad's mom side of the family), which led to that wonderful trip we had to Arkansas. And just last year, we reconnected with our Hosch cousins in GA that we had lost contact with over 50 years ago after granddaddy died. Thankfully, it wasn't too late as cousin Vivian, who remembered you from that long time ago was there and asking about you.

Love ya momma

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