They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I've learned in the last few weeks that a village is also needed to help care for the elderly.
As mentioned in a previous post, I had to rush my mom to the hospital early one morning -- where she still remains -- and have also had to deal with my own medical (pregnancy) issues since then.
What I failed to mention was that my husband was out of town when all of this first unfolded, so I was completely on my own and unsure of how to juggle home, work, the hospital, child care, and my own sanity.
At the time, it was all very surreal, and I felt completely overwhelmed with helplessness. I think I was experiencing a mild bit of shock and was just doing what was necessary to make it through the day.
With my mind racing, I texted my sister the first day and had her leave work early so that she could sit with my mom in the closet-sized room of the ER, where they waited for her procedure. This allowed me to attend my prenatal appointment, pick up my daughter from day care, take her through a drive-thru, and drop her off at home where my brother-in-law waited to look after her.
That was Day One. Since then, there's been no shortage of kindness shown to us by family, friends, and even strangers.
Since I've been spending each day at the hospital, I've had to take an early leave away from work. And even though I left them in a pinch, many of my coworkers have offered to help me out at home, as have my family and friends. From multiple offers to babysit my daughter to offers to do our grocery shopping for us, we've been extremely blessed.
Some family members stopped by one night with a tray of homemade lasagna and multiple containers of homemade soup, plus several jars of homemade tomato sauce, so that we'd have some ready-to-eat meals in our fridge.
(Did I mention all of this stuff was homemade??)
And the same brother-in-law who looked after my daughter when I was alone at the hospital that first night also spent the entire following week scrubbing and disinfecting my mom's house from top to bottom.
(I'm tempted to ask him to come and clean our house next but, you know, that would probably be asking for a bit much. Ahem.)
I've even gotten lucky when it comes to paying for parking at the hospital. The other day, while I circled the parking lot for 45 minutes waiting for someone to leave, I hit the jackpot. A random guy in a truck pulled up next to me and offered his week-long parking pass for free, since he didn't need it anymore. Suh-weet.
And then today, while at a different hospital having my 5th ultrasound* done, another random couple just gave me their day-long parking pass so that I could park there for free as well.
(*As an aside..... ultrasound # 6 is booked for 3 weeks from today, mere days before my scheduled C-section is supposed to occur. The fun never ends.)
We've been very lucky and very blessed throughout this entire ordeal, and the only thing I can think of that would make it all the more bearable is to have free Wi-Fi available at the hospital.
Seriously, I've spent so much time responding to work emails and messages about my mom in the last three weeks that I'm a little afraid to see my upcoming cellphone bill. Here's hoping that I can at least break even in terms of what I've saved in parking fees, thanks to some very kind strangers.