Imagine being taken from your bed by strangers in the middle of the night, transported to a place full of glaringly bright lights, bone chilling temperatures, and ear shattering noises. Then imagine waiting in that chaos for 8 hours, your body wracked with pain, before a surgeon tells you you’ll never walk again without surgery. Imagine how frightening those words were to an 86 year-old woman who had never had surgery in her life.
Despite concerns about her COPD and elevated blood pressure, Mom had surgery the next day.
I then had less than 3 days to find a SNF that (a) had an open bed (b) would accept her insurance and (c) was within 20 miles from my home.
Mom was transferred to the SNF 3 days after surgery and began physical therapy 2 days later. She was so frail and weak the therapists had to strap a belt around her to avoid her falling – even using a walker.
Mom never recovered from that fall. It broke her spirit as well as her hip. Within 2 weeks, she had deteriorated so badly she was placed on hospice. Ten days later another early morning phone call. Mom died, alone in her bed, in the nursing home. I had visited her every day on my way to work, my lunch hour, and on my way home, but I wasn’t with her in those final hours. It was the lowest point in my life.
The grief process was slow and often excruciating. But I am so grateful for the gift my mom gave to me as she allowed me to escort her through those final months of her life. For even in dying, there is wellness. There is healing. Ultimately there is peace.
The journey with Mom ignited my desire to work to bring the care back into health care. It brought me full circle back to my passion for teaching wellness. Now I offer tools and resources to help others take charge of their health. I’m on mission to help others embrace their own self care for without it, health care is nothing more than sick care
Sue Perisi is a Reiki Master and Medical Intuitive and certified as a Yoga Instructor, Holistic Health Coach and Urban Zen Integrative Therapist .
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