Girl at Lindo Lake © Robert Sommers 2018

Sunday, June 9, 2013


It was an odd feeling saying goodbye to my mother yesterday, not knowing if I would ever see her again. We have never had an exactly ideal relationship, no point getting in to the minutia. The reality is that you are only issued one mother and this one is mine. She tried to do her best, I am sure I wasn't the easiest kid either. The problem has always been that we know exactly which of either's buttons to push.

You ever hear about the superbug that killed all those people at NIH last year? The stuff that hid out in the pipes and that bleach and antibiotics couldn't kill? She has it. Three weeks ago we got word that she wouldn't make the weekend. She did.

She has what is known as a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae called Klebsiella. No known cure at this point. They gave her a special antibiotic. She was told that the drug would either kill her or cure her. Came very close to the former, sending her into full blown renal failure and onto dialysis.

She has been in and out of the hospital all year, mostly in, the acute care wing. We hadn't spoke for the last seven months, a spat over some hurtful language and revisionist history. I broke down and called her on mother's day when I heard about how grave things were. I am glad I did. Due to a conflagration of problems none of my siblings could come out this week and it was my turn to bat. I stepped up.

After the requisite amount of guilt tripping, finger pointing and the like, we managed to share a good interval with each other. She just called me to tell me how glad she was that I made the trip. At 3:15 in the morning. I had a momentary second thought about the wisdom of plugging my phone number into her new Galaxy's contact list.

I spoke to all three of her doctors, including the kidney specialist. This Klebsiella is very difficult to beat. They are going to try the other antibiotic in the class but it is very dangerous too, he still can't give her better than 50/50 odds, maybe even 30/70 who knows? I think she will beat the odds. deep down, probably outlive all of us. Her will is so strong, her personality so big. Besides, her work is not finished, she isn't through torturing her children yet.

Yesterday I visited her home and grabbed a suitcase and paper for her and petted her cat, Lucy. The cat was starved for attention. I can see why she loves it. I told her that I would take the cat if anything bad happens to her.

It has been a very interesting week. Didn't do much but run around for her. Put a lot of miles on going here and there. Did have dinner with some old friends in Silver Spring one night. Never heard from the sister who lives nearby. Mostly ate shit food at the Holiday Inn and KFC. Rained a lot.

It is definitely not the time to get morbid or maudlin. She is ill but I don't think she is ready for her curtain call. Not by a long shot. Not this time. Which is good. We now have time to rekindle our relationship in the last chapters of life's saga. If anybody can summon the requisite super powers to fight this bug, it is my mother. The bug won't know what hit it.


mike reardon said...

I empathize with your feelings about your Mom. My Mom had a similar effect on me. She also had a bigger than life personality. She did meet her end and it was not easy on her kids. Best of luck to you and your Mom.

Anonymous said...

Your mother loves you. She gave birth to you and raised you. Good or bad of what has become in your life she is your mother and without her YOU would not of been assigned to planet Earth.
Abandon all negatives on this one. Hold precious to the moments you have with your mom.
My mom was a handful too. Some of my best moments with her was in the end of her journey. I realized that she had been through a lot herself. Nobody is perfect. I miss her.

grumpy said...

i think anonymous has hit the nail on the head; well said.

Blue Heron said...

sounds like preachy bullshit to me.