Tess Tales 3 – A special hospital trip

Mom, small with familyMy 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.

20 thoughts on “Tess Tales 3 – A special hospital trip

  1. What a funny story! She was obviously quite a character! It must have been very hard to have asthma for the first time at that age. Not that it’s ever easy, but my friends who have had asthma since childhood are really good at anticipating the triggers and managing the situations that would induce an attack. Poor thing! I think the best thing to say is that you enjoyed your mother! That’s a wonderful thing, Kate.


  2. Pingback: Day 287. Sound Advice | Three Hundred Sixty-Five

  3. She sounds like a truly amazing person. Definitely had a sense of humour and that always does it for me. Beer indeed – can’t see my Mom ever ordering one for me. Dad, on the other hand, well, I’ll be in good hands for a drink then 🙂


  4. Like you I have a lot of mom/hospital stories. With yours it was a beer. One of mine involves a hot dog. I just may have to blog about it, thanks to you.


    • Go ahead, blog about it! Back then people were in the hospital more often than now. Most people have their surgeries and stuff on an out-patient basis so I haven’t visited anyone in the hospital in 20 years. I do remember getting calls from friends to sneak in foods because the hospital food was bad (or at least what they were allowed to eat was).


  5. I love hearing stories about mothers. They are such an influence on who we become. My mother and I had our “moments” but for the most part she was a very funny lady that made it very clear no one messed with her kids.
    Your memory of this trip to the hospital tells a lot about your mother…and you. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Sounds like your mom knew a thing or two about what’s important in life. Enjoying a “scandalous” beer with your daughter sounds like real joy. What a great memory!


  7. “I enjoyed my mother.”
    That is something I just would or could never write. There was just a veil of tension particularly after I married.
    No one really likes reading about the pain of illness of others. But it is always wonderful to read about caring memories.


  8. My Mum also has Asthma and has lived with a chronic lung condition since she was a child; she takes it in stride and still likes a “Rye and Water” or a “Hot Rye” on the nights when it’s particularly difficult to breathe.

    Fun post that I enjoyed reading very much,


  9. This post is very special to me since asthma runs in my family. I had it until I was 21 and then it disappeared. My Mom got it at 40, my brother has it, and now one of my granddaughters has it. A troublesome thing asthma. I’m so glad your mother kept her sense of humor through all the emergency calls and hospital visits.


    • It runs in my family on my mother’s side. My grandmother had it and one of my aunt’s granddaughters had a particularly bad version as a child which she outgrew. My one brother got it around 40. So far I am lucky. My brother hasn’t had a hospital visit in probably 20 years. They can manage it so much better these days.


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