An Angel for a Roommate

The fact that Mom lived on her own and that my Aunt A lives 2 hours away; I live 45 minutes away, have children and a full time job; and my sister lives just out of town but also works and has 2 children made it difficult to have someone with Mom whenever she needed it.  So God sent us angels.  There were many more than we even knew about I’m sure.  But today I’ll describe 1 very important angel.

The time that Mom spent at St B hospital during August and September of 2009 was difficult to say the least.  How do you deal with being told that your abdomen is full of tumors?  And we all tried to be there as much as possible but our lives did have to go on outside of the hospital.  One bright spot was her roommate, let’s call her Daisy.  Daisy was amazing for Mom.  She had an incredible sense of humor and really cared about Mom.  She would look out for her and let us know if anything unusual had gone on while we weren’t there.  This was so important because my Mom wouldn’t tell us what the doctor or nurse had said if we weren’t there to hear it.  Mom couldn’t handle what she had been told most of the time so she would usually say that she didn’t know what they had said or just that we should speak with the charge nurse.  And so that’s where we would go.  But Daisy was able to give us insight every once in a while that the nurses couldn’t.  Daisy wasn’t nosy, she was vigilant and caring.

One day 3 or 4 doctors came into Mom’s room and spoke to her about her condition.  And to this day we don’t know what that conversation was because Daisy knew when privacy was needed and left the room and Mom never even mentioned that doctors had been there.  Once I had spoken with Daisy I knew better than to ask Mom about the conversation.  When Daisy came back and the doctor’s were leaving one of them leaned over and said, “Keep her laughing, she’s going to need it.”  Daisy took this seriously and made it her mission to keep my Mom’s spirits up.  And Mom was very quiet after that conversation with the doctors so she didn’t ask her either, just gave her some space so she could deal with whatever it was that she had been told.

There was also a day that I arrived and Mom was in quite a good mood and she proceeded to tell me that the doctor had been there to tell her that there was hope.  Her prognosis wasn’t as dire as they had previously said.  The doctors were going to do chemo and they had high hopes.  I was hesitant to believe this based on everything else we had been told but joined in Mom’s relief.  As soon as I could I got away with Daisy to ask her if she knew anything about what my Mom had said.  Daisy hadn’t heard the conversation because she again had left when the doctor came but it was so good to talk to her and get her perspective to bring me back to reality.  I then talked to the doctor the next day and found out that Mom had not been completely truthful.  The doctors had come to tell her that she was not able to be cured but that if she was up to it they would start chemo treatments as soon as she had recovered enough.  The chemo would hopefully get rid of whatever small tumors were left over from surgery.  But they couldn’t guarantee how much time she would have after the chemo stopped before the tumors would return.  And they would return.  I was devastated.  I wanted so badly to believe her and I felt duped.  I think that was when my resolve to always second guess got stronger.  Again I went to Daisy just to talk and make sense of it.  And she calmed me down by saying that my Mom didn’t mean to mislead me she just didn’t want to be the one to tell me the real news.  She told me as much as could deal with and wanted me to get the rest from the doctors.  Mom hadn’t wanted us to worry.   That helped enormously to understand where Mom was coming from.

Mom and Daisy had a great time together watching old Elvis movies, joking about the food and joking with the nurses.  Daisy would join right in when visitors were there and then leave for a while to be sure Mom had the time she needed.  I don’t know how deep their conversations ever got but I don’t think that was Daisy’s part on Mom’s team.  They became friends; something Mom really needed being in the city away from her other friends in Steinbach.  And Daisy became an ally that we could rely on to watch out for her when we weren’t there.  When Mom found out Daisy was going home she was quite upset.   They had been roommates for a month.  You get to know and trust a person over the period of a month.  Mom had more really good roommates but no one like Daisy.  They kept up after they had both left the hospital and Daisy was at Mom’s funeral.  We are so very thankful to Daisy for making Mom’s life a little brighter.

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