Blogs by Edeltraud F. Fellendorf
1/1/2010 7:19:48 AM
By Cindy Rodriguez, Commander, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Mom wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Beyond that, I'm on my own today since she hasn't given me any other specific instructions on what she wants discussed this first day of a new year. This means I'm going rogue again and discussing something I know she'll kill me for revealing.
I am Mom's main link to 21st century technology, her book publishing researcher, and editor. Without me, she tends to get bogged down. There was a period of time last year when I stopped doing that for her. This is when I discovered another driving factor behind her writing. I wish I hadn't because it makes me think of something I am usually able to avoid dwelling on - her passing. After continuously bugging me about how we were going to get her book published, I was getting a bit annoyed.
One day she asked me about it again. By this time I was getting angry with her. I was busy. I had things to do. Then she hit me over the head when she told me, "The book has to be finished before I die, Cindy." I thought I'd enticed her to keep going with thoughts of fame and fortune, never realizing that at her age that's far from important. To her, writing her story is about her children, grandchildren and leaving them a part of her truth; making sure they understood the realities of war.
Much to my shame, I swept aside her fears. Then, a couple of months ago, I wound up staying with her because she was scared and in terrible pain. Her family doc said it was a torn muscle in her side, but then I had to take her to the ER. X-rays of her back were inconclusive so they sent us home. A day later, I wound up calling 911 after Mom started screaming. Mom is a real trooper and pain is something she can handle so I knew something was terribly wrong. They finally admitted her to the hospital to find out what the problem was.
To make a long story short, they discovered three fractured vertebra and Mom had to have surgery. As they were prepping her for surgery, the doc told me her lungs had filled with fluid and her temp was 102. It now became a high risk surgery, but without it the doc felt she would die a slow and painful death. They took her early so my Dad wasn't there yet. I had to make the decision by myself since Mom was totally out of it on Delaudnum. I had only minutes to decide so I signed the paperwork and they wheeled her off to surgery.
Thank God she made it out okay, but that night I cried myself to sleep, ridden with guilt. I failed to listen to her. Her book wasn't done because of me.
After a week in the hospital and three weeks at a rehab center, Mom finally came home. She's not the same and is in constant pain. I am typing and editing as quickly as I can so her book will be finished soon. This makes her happy and for awhile she forgets her pain as she writes and remembers more every day.
And me. I can't imagine a world without my mother in it so I help her all I can. There will be no more regrets for me as I enjoy what time we have left together, savoring and grateful for every breath.
Take care of your Mothers. You will only have one in your lifetime.
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