My Mom, My Hero

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Amy Madge, Maine

The following year Mom became ill — she was admitted to one of Boston’s best hospitals. Mom had a rare fungus infection. She had an aortic heart valve replacement and bypass surgery a year before — somehow, a fungus had gotten into her bloodstream and traveled and settled on her heart valve. The first solution was replace the aortic valve again. But her age and weakened condition were against her.

The infectious disease physicians came up with two very strong antifungal medications they hoped would put the fungus into remission. When she produced two negative cultures, she could leave the hospital. I was trained by the VNA and became Mom’s caregiver. She came home and I began the six weeks of antifungal IV treatments.

Mr. Fungus reared its ugly head a year later. Again I did her IV meds. She needed blood transfusions, her kidney function was bad and her potassium was out of whack. Some nights she was so sick, she could not make it upstairs to bed. She would sleep down in the livingroom in her recliner. I slept on the coach in case she needed help in the middle of the night. I joked with her that we were having sleepovers. A lot of nights we just talked the night away. She became my rock, best friend, and my inspiration.

March 13 of 2009 she went into diabetic shock. We prepared for what was to be her final chapter on earth. While in the hospital, it was discovered her body was starting to shut down. I had to start to prepare my self I was going to lose my beautiful mother.

She agreed to try dialysis — she was given the OK to come home with me scheduled to do her IV antifungal medication. The plan was to try and get the fungus into remission again, get her stronger with the possibility of heart surgery. She was so excited to come home. Getting out of the car she fell and broke her leg. She was taken back to the hospital for what would be her final round. Her kidneys were in end-stage failure — she tried two rounds of dialysis, but she was just too weak to bounce back this time. The hospital called and said she refused treatment.

When we walked into her room, she had tears in her eyes, looked at us and said I am sorry. She came home with hospice — had her two days at home before God called her home at 11:38 a.m. on April 22, 2009. My dad, me, and my sister were here with her when she passed. Her two nights at home were ones I will never forget, at one point she looked at me and told me how she loved me.

With all the love in her heart and soul, she was able to celebrate hers and Dads 63rd wedding anniversary on April 21. My sister took Dad down to the local flower shop where he bought Mom a dozen roses, he walked into the living room with a huge smile on his face and her face lit up like a rainbow when he came in the room. They held hands for the day and talked about their life together — as her strength dwindled, mom looked at Dad and said I wish I was young so we could do it all over again. Through his tears, Dad answered her by saying I would do it all over with you in a second.