Saturday, April 03, 2010
I had really intended to be better about blogging, but the circumstances of last month interrupted my resolution. Many of you know that my Mom had called me about 2 or 3 weeks before my spring break and said that she and Dad were tired of being cooped up in the house and wanted to go somewhere during my spring break. I began to look for places along the Gulf Coast where I could find a room with furniture comfortable enough for them but which would allow us to bring along my cat (because Mom would have been upset if she hadn't get to see her grandcat). I settled on a place in Fairhope, Alabama on the Mobile Bay but very near to Gulf Shores. We went down on Sunday the 14th after going to their church and to the country club to eat lunch. We ate that evening at a place I'd found on the Internet with great ratings that was not far from Fairhope. We didn't try to do a lot Sunday night because I knew that the drive down was pretty exhausting for the two of them. On Monday, we did quite a bit. After breakfast, the elevator was broken so I had to take the stairs up to the third floor and get everything we needed for the day out. We began our day by heading to the Fairhope Pier. They have a very nice park right on the bay. I walked to the end of the pier, but Mom and Dad stayed close to the car. It was a bit chilly for them. After that, it was still too early to head to the shops downtown so we headed to Burke's Outlet which was open. Mom found several clothes. She'd lost a lot of weight in recent months and was just beginning to rebuild her wardrobe. We found several things that she could use. Then we headed to downtown Fairhope. Fairhope is a unique little town. The Indie-Bound affiliated bookstore was incredible. I purchased a book on the history of Baldwin County, Alabama (which I still haven't had a chance to read). I poked my head in several other stores. Before long, it was time for lunch. We had chosen Panini Pete's which has been featured on the Food Network. It really was worth the hype. Mom and I shared a sandwich. I ended up getting to try a bite of Dad's too. Both were great. As we were heading back to the car, there was a local TV station crew filming along the sidewalk. Mom and Dad walked in front of the cameras and ended up on the evening news that night. I saw the cameras and walked behind them. We headed back to the hotel, hoping the elevator would be repaired so Mom and Dad could get some rest before heading to Gulf Shores for the evening. When we got there, the elevator repair crew was there, but they still did not have it in working order. We decided to just take the scenic route to Gulf Shores. We headed down the scenic route along the bay, stopping at the Punta Clara Candy Kitchen in Point Clear. We knew from previous trips that we would want some of their pralines, but I also fell in love with their margarita pecans and had to get a bag of those as well. Mom and Dad picked up some pecan brittle and white chocolate covered pecans in addition to their pralines. We headed on down to Gulf Shores. We drove around a bit and enjoyed the beach. That evening we ate at Lulu's, a restaurant on the Intercoastal Waterway owned by Jimmy Buffet's relative. I don't remember what Dad had, but Mom & I shared the mahi tacos. I'm glad that it was good because we went early and still had to wait an hour for seating. Fortunately they had benches, a gift shop, etc. to make your wait more comfortable. That was the last meal Mom was able to eat. She began to get sick on the ride home. It really started out as just phlegm that she was spitting up. The next day, we planned to take it easy in the morning since Mom had not been feeling well the night before. We went down to breakfast, but Mom couldn't hold anything down. I had discovered that I'd somehow missed one of the shops that I'd wanted to visit to pick up a gift for a friend. We had planned to go. Around mid-morning, Mom suggested that I go on without her because she had a feeling that she wouldn't be able to go. I stopped and picked up a 7-Up on the way back to see if she could hold it down. That didn't work. My cousin who lived in nearby Daphne was picking us up for lunch to take us to the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. We decided to leave Mom in the hotel and that we'd just bring her nephew up to visit her when we came back. After he left, Mom still was having trouble holding anything down. She and Dad took naps. While they were napping, I went out. At the Dollar Tree, I purchased a bucket that Mom would be able to use to spit up in if we were in the car. At Winn-Dixie, I purchased some pre-made Jello, hoping she could hold that down. When I got back, she tried. I looked at her and said that we needed to get her to a hospital where they could get her rehydrated. I gave her the option of the St. Thomas Hospital in Fairhope which was about 2 blocks from the hotel or of checking out of the hotel and driving back to Mississippi. She didn't want to mess up the vacation and was going to settle for Fairhope, but I reminded her that they would be admitting her. She then decided to go back to Amory. We checked out at 6:30 p.m. (after Dad & I made a quick run to Wendy's for supper) and got the car loaded. We got back to Amory at 11:45 p.m. where I delivered the cat to their house and quickly repacked a suitcase so that we would only have items Mom needed in the suitcase we were taking to the hospital. We got to the hospital a few minutes after midnight. At first, even the doctors at the hospital thought we'd get her rehydrated and she'd go home. Later they thought that perhaps the esophagus had narrowed where it meets the stomach so that she couldn't hold things down. One of the surgeons was going to take a look at that Thursday morning, but after Mom took a turn for the worse in the wee hours of Thursday morning, that was no longer an option. They had to do tests which did not require her to undergo anesthesia. We moved her to ICU. The doctor told me Friday morning that the ultrasound showed that Mom's cancer had returned and spread to the liver. There was nothing that could be done. He didn't think she'd ever leave the hospital. I pretty much stayed at the hospital except to run home for a quick shower from then on. Her state of health continued to deteriorate, and she went home to be with the Lord at 4:33 a.m. Central Time on Monday the 22nd. I was with her the last 10.5 hours. The funeral was on the 24th. I look forward to seeing my Mom again in heaven!