“ You picked a fine time to come visit. I might be admitted into the hospital”, were some of mom‘s first words, as I arrived in Germany. I had just unlocked the door to enter the house and found her standing at the bottom of the stairs in front of me. I knew that she had a doctors appointment while I was still En route to Germany and she quickly informed me that she had another appointment with a specialist the following day. All this happened before I could even properly say hello and greet her. “Hello to you too Mom, I missed you too”.It was the following morning, my first full day in Germany, as we made our way to the specialist and our first fight started over something silly. I knew that side of Mom all too well, but had hoped that we made some headway’s during my last visit in 2015. It was only my second day but the initial welcome and time spent enjoying coffee in the romantic setting of a castle from the prior day, seemed like a distant memory. Here we were, on our way to see the doctor and somehow it feels as if Mom knew what would follow and purposely tried to get some distance between us. Finally, we arrived at the office, but something went wrong and somewhere along the lines the ball was dropped. Nobody knew of Mom’s appointment and their was no entry in the books for her. All in all we had to reschedule for the following Tuesday and a whole week would pass before someone could properly tend to Mom and her open legs. It was later in the day that I got to see Moms legs for the first time. It took all of the self control I could muster to not scream and to hold back the emotions. It looked bad, really, really bad. I truly believe that she would have been admitted into the hospital, had the appointment not gone missing. Her lower legs and calves were swollen and dark red and blue, with open sores and water emerging out of the holes. Yet according to her they already looked better and a nurse would be by every other day to re-wrap and take care of her legs. I had to trust her word and in some ways, this incident, in a very strange and dangerous way, bought her some time, time with me, who picked this fine time to come visit, even though there was no time to waste in her condition. I was worried, but at least I knew I’d be close if she needed help and if things got worse.
Over the next week, Mom would hum in front of her. Mmmm m mmmm, mmmm m mmmm, but she never complained or said anything. Still, I knew she was in pain. Her behavior made me recall the incident as I dislocated my elbow. I had made the same sound and it was now that I could recognize it again and realize that it was pain induced. The week passed and I kept my eyes on her legs like a hawk to look for worsening signs, but luckily didn’t find any. Instead our fights continued Tuesday through Saturday and I admit that at times I’d wished she would have been admitted into the hospital for my own sanity. Of course the reasons for such should have been for her health, but I didn’t know how to go on with the constant fighting. There was no resolve to anything and all it left behind was deep sadness. I too wanted the time with her, but this was driving me crazy. I’m not a person who enjoys fighting. It makes me sick, literally speaking now and it only aggravates the RA. I usually escape those moments as they are not worth my time and my health, but there was no escaping this time. I was trapped and felt like a victim, having to endure punishment whenever it felt to be unleashed. And then, finally came Sunday and the fights ended.
Tuesday afternoon came around and we were back at the praxis. The prognosis wasn’t good, and although her legs looked much better, if you can say that while they were still leaking fluids, the specialist suggested hospitalization. Mom tried to postpone to a later date when I would be gone again, but we all knew there was no time to waste. I remembered our fighting days and the times I wished she’d be hospitalized. I now felt ashamed of those thoughts and I no longer wanted her to go. The news was tough, although no surprise and I knew chances were high that this could happen. But here and now, all became reality and it felt as our time together came to an end. She was expected in the hospital the following morning which would come way too soon. We sat at home and I spent what felt like our last evening together. I helped get her things together and packed her bag, despite her bag being mostly packed already. Standing by, just waiting on the steps, without ever being fully unpacked from hospital stay to hospital stay, the next one would come with certainty and would be around the corner. And here it was. I felt sad and alone, my heart was aching and breaking, and yet I needed to be tough for her and instill the feeling that all would be ok.