"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Personal Note: The Mothers in My Life

Well, I haven’t mentioned my personal life much lately, other than the vacation we took to Florida in March, and of course the occasional Matthew post.  So let me honor the three mothers in my life with a little information. 

First my mother.  The last time I posted on my mother was over a year ago when she fainted and fell and broke her little finger.  She was seventy-nine then, she’s eighty now, and what I haven’t mentioned is that the finger required a second minor operation (to pull out a stitch that got stuck in there and was driving her crazy, believe it or not), she has had several fainting episodes, of which she got hurt a couple of times and needed emergency room visits. On top of that her blood pressure had gone out of control.  It kept crawling up until finally it was regularly over 170/90, and the medication seemed only to give her headaches.  We went through a number of adjustments, and they didn’t change much.  And then one day at the cardiologist, while undergoing an EKG, she went into atrial fibrillation.  It seems that this had been part of her problem all along.  A-Fib is when the top part of the heart starts beating at a different rate than the bottom, usually faster.  It happens sporadically and can last from seconds to days.  For my mother it only seems to last seconds to perhaps an hour.  It was never detected before because she’s never gone into A-Fib while actually being monitored.  The other problem with my mother was that her heart rate when not in A-Fib is extremely low.  She’s always seemed to have a low heart rate, but lately it was regularly in the fifties, and when sleeping down in the forties.  The cardiologist sent her over to a cardio electrophysiologist after the A-Fib episode to be assessed for a pacemaker and within a couple of weeks she had one implanted.  It’s only been a couple of weeks now but so far the change has been dramatic.  The pacemaker keeps her heart rate above sixty, which in effect I think keeps the blood pressure down.  I’ve only recorded in 130/75 range or less.   So far I’m very happy and hoping the fainting never happens again. 

Next, my mother-in-law.  She’s been a great boon to us, helping with Matthew when we’re burdened.  She’s a few years younger than my mother, and in better health.  Other than a recent knee problem which she needed some outpatient surgery (I forget exactly for what) she doesn’t have any health issues I’m aware of.  When we’re running around trying to get something or other done, and Matthew slows us down, dropping Matthew off at her home is so helpful.  And she adores him, and he adores her, possibly more than mommy or daddy since she never yells at him…lol.  When I had to take my wife to the emergency room—I’ll explain below—we called my mother-in-law at eleven PM to stay with Matthew while he slept.  She came over and stayed until the wee hours of the morning.  She’s a great help, when she’s in town that is.  Ever since she retired a number of years ago she’s been a traveling maniac, hop scotching the world when she can.  Her next trip will be to Australia.   

Finally my lovely wife.  Ever since our Florida vacation, my wife and I have taken turns being ill.  At first nothing serious.  We both had colds with no fever.  First me then her.  We both went to a doctor independently and he said the same thing to both of us: it’s a viral infection, and so antibiotics are useless.  Just rest and you’ll get over it.  We both did and it did, and then suddenly my wife got it again, but this time with fever.  She emailed me at work to tell me it was up to 103F (39.4C).  I stayed home the next day to take care of her and get Matthew off to school.  At first the fever seemed to come down with Tylenol, and then by afternoon it shot up to 104F (40.0C).  Whoa, so I took her over to the doctor (we go to a walk in office) and this time the doctor (a different one) gave her Tamiflu and took cultures to identify the infection.  Her fever came down by evening, but she developed a severe pain in her right side.  It really hurt when she coughed.  It was on the rib cage above the liver, so we speculated she either pulled a muscle when she coughed or perhaps did something to her diaphragm.  When she said she couldn’t take the pain any longer, we made arrangements with my mother-in-law to cover and I took her to the emergency room.  As soon as the doctor there saw the x-ray, it was evident—she had pneumonia.  And it was a big pocket that took up one third of her right lung.  Normally you can detect pneumonia from listening to the breathing.  Her pneumonia was so solidly packed that you couldn’t hear any rasping sounds with the stethoscope, that’s why the doctor in the afternoon never suspected it.  She was admitted and she wound up spending three nights in the hospital to get an intravenous antibiotic.  I got to take off from work for a couple of days and play mother myself (do I get a mother’s day card? :-P), and I have to admit poorly at that.  My wife has since recovered nicely. 

I think I’ve also made her happy.  We’ve wanted to renovate our living room, dining room, and kitchen for the longest time, and it was supposed to be by a step by step approach.  However I said, let’s just get it over with and do them all at the same time.  It will be a hassle but it will be over and we won’t have to go through something like this repeatedly.  So we’ve found a contractor we liked and committed to it.  Now it’s just a matter of picking flooring, cabinets, countertop, paint color, and a couple appliances.  So now she’s really fired up and excited.  Of course what’s going to come afterward is new living room furniture.   

Well, today is Mother’s Day, at least here in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere.  I want to wish the three mothers in my life, the mothers who frequent my blog, and any other mother that just might be stopping by and seeing this.  I truely believe the whole of society rests on the love of mothers.  Happy Mother’s Day!


  1. Your poor wife! I'm glad she has recovered and Happy Mother's Day to all.

  2. Praying for the three mothers in your life. And for you and Matthew too.

    Happy Mothers day.

    God bless.

  3. Beautiful post Manny!

    My best to your three Mothers on this wonderful day.

    God Bless

  4. My MIL also has AFib, so I understand what your mom is going through. Once the medications are adjusted, she can do well for a long time. They do have to be monitored, because of the way it comes and goes. Did she get a Lifeline button yet, or anything like that? Those are such a big help.
    They don't necessarily automatically take her to the hospital if something happens, they just check on her if the button goes off.

    Your poor wife! :( what a time she had! I'm glad you could stay home to help her and to be with Matthew.
    And Amen to having a great MIL. Mine is a little too infirm to help physically, but a huge pray-er and always keeping all our intentions going.

    Hope they all had a beautiful Mother's Day!

    1. I'm supposed to sign my mother up for medic alert bracelet if that's what you mean. Or do you mean an emergency call button? I've been meaning to do that but haven't yet.

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