My mother was diagnosed with asthma when she was 62. She had it for the last 13 years of her life. In the 1970’s and 1980’s doctors didn’t manage asthma as well as they do now. Every year there was at least one or two hospital events. Tess would take it all in stride.
After a few years, she had oxygen in the house, steroid drugs and inhalers for emergencies but there were still some trips to the hospital. Typically she would stay until they could stabilizer her breathing and she would go home. It would only be 2 to 4 days at the most.
When you do this year after year, you get to know the routine. When she had trouble breathing, we would call the doctor. He would ask questions and depending on the answer we would either medicate her, drive her to the hospital or call 911 for an ambulance trip to the hospital.
This story is about a time when I drove her to the hospital.
My mother was having breathing issues. She was able to get a doctor’s appointment right away and called me at work to take her. Her oxygen level was low and the doc wanted her to go to the hospital.
She wasn’t desperately ill. She just needed some breathing treatments and continuous oxygen. Today these may be out-patient treatments but back then you were admitted. I drove her home to pick up what she needed for the hospital stay which we were fairly sure would be short.
It had been a crazy day. We had already seen the doctor and it was only 10:30 a.m.
Lunch in the hospital is between 11 and noon. Admission procedures would take a while so she knew that by the time she got a room she will have missed lunch.
My mother was never one to miss lunch. She asked me to stop for lunch at a popular bar-restaurant near the hospital.
I enjoyed my mother. She was funny, resourceful and totally unpredictable. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when she ordered a beer. She explained that the beer was really for me but perhaps she could have a sip.
What could I say? She hardly ever drank. She wasn’t that ill so I got the beer and let her have a sip.
We went to the hospital on a much happier note. I don’t think it made a difference and it is one of my funny memories of my very practical, always thinking mother.