I've just been through the most trying six weeks of my life. It all started right on the official first day of summer and hasn't exactly let up yet. I won't say that it hasn't had its good moments. There are benefits to summer from which I always take full advantage and did so on several occasions- so far. One is my special outdoor hiding place to get a little sun and catch up on all my reading. A second place is my studio in the basement which contains my extensive library, writing materials and records and comfortable reading chair. The basement is the coolest part of my house so it has been a real haven, lately.
I don't have a single other summer in my memory banks (concerning Denver) where there have been consistent, day after day, 90 degrees to 101 temperatures without afternoon rainstorms or evening cool offs. July was the worst and we've been breaking some heat records from long ago. Relying on the nights to cool off is usually enough to sleep comfortably, however, I can count those days on one hand so far this summer! On July 20th I did something unusual and went walking out in the night air to shoot a couple of baskets up at the park and felt alternating pockets of dry, hot and cool, humid air. I have never experienced that here in Denver prior to this year. I don't know if anyone else that lives here noticed besides myself. I'm a native, so I notice every little subtle nuance of change or weirdness in our weather. That night was weird but not totally unpleasant.
Even with all the heat, though, it wouldn't have put much of a cramp in my style if I hadn't been awakened suddenly with a crashing noise a little after midnight on June 21st just as I was starting to doze. The noise came from the bathroom so I could only conclude that it was my mother since burglars don't usually attempt to enter your house through solid crystal block windows. I found my Mom laying in the tub with her legs dangling out and I heard her moan pitifully just before I approached the door. I panicked. First I tried to revive her and barely got a response. Instant panic ! I ran for the phone and dialed 9-1-1 and made several trips back and forth between the phone and my Mom whose head was bleeding from the back. When the paramedics and ambulance arrived I swung the door open for them and they managed to stabilize my Mom, put her in a back and head brace and off to the hospital. Mom says she doesn't remember any of it.
I tried to call every family member and then just headed out the door to the hospital. I met my Dad on the way inside the entrance and was relieved to see him. I was amazed that they had her talking by the time I got down there and had done a scan on her head. She had an outside and inside hemorrhage but the inside was confined to the outer portion of the brain at the time. She told me her neck hurt a couple of times so I prayed that she didn't have extensive injuries and that prayer was answered later on. At three in the morning I headed back to my car in a daze and drove home. I felt like the whole world had come crashing down on me. To say I was crestfallen would be too weak of a word but my poem @ http://thecastlelady.wordpress.com really says it all.
Since that time Mom has been in and out of the hospital three times, mostly trying to keep her electrolyte balance on an even keel. In short, this roller coaster ride has been going on since then and only seemed to come to a grinding halt, briefly, when I got a call from a resident doctor on staff who called me on Thursday night, July 19th, after I had taken her back to the hospital that day and told me that they had done a scan on her lungs where she said she was hurting and they felt they were looking at tumors on her right lung. After I hung up, I recalled how the day had started and couldn't help but cry by myself for awhile. It wasn't just because of the news but I had come to the end of something. This is not the end I would envision for anyone- leave alone my mother.
I had taken her to Kaiser that morning for a simple lab test and a visit to her primary care doctor. The temps were already in the 90s and I usually don't drive my car anywhere in summer during the peak heat because I don't have air conditioning. After her test I took her up to see her doctor- who was quite nice and very concerned about Mom. The test results said her electrolytes were dangerously low and she wanted her to go back to the hospital. This time I got the honors and it was a horrendously hot ride right during the peak noon lunch hour and headed downtown. The hospital I had to take her to was a short distance away from a bank I worked at for a little over a year and it brought back memories that were a tad bittersweet. I started thinking about how much my life had changed since that time when I left my position at that bank and started in on my work on castles and ultimately, by 2001, started a new life by taking a grand tour of European castles in September of 2001.
When we were waiting to be admitted into ER I realized how traumatic the ride had been for both of us and I stage whispered to Mom, "If this isn't hell then what do you call it ?" Everyone that was sitting nearby us starting laughing and I realized that we were all in the same boat one way or another and was glad that I wasn't alone in my feelings. The news I received by that night were a different story because I was alone and there was no one to talk to about it. I suppose this is just a trying time and that my life is going to start going in the direction I want it to but at that moment all I could think about was what I had said to Mom in the ER waiting room. I was wrong, though. Everyone eventually has to go through this and I suppose now is as good a time as any ever will be. Each of us goes about everyday with the idea in our heads that our lives and our world will go on forever. Thinking that way is folly, however. There will be an end and we'll all have to face it but I personally want to put it off for as long as I can. I've got a dream and I won't give up until I fulfill it.
To conclude this I would like to say that in every difficulty, heartache and tribulation there is always an opportunity for good and to set an example of forward moving, victorious living. It's all in our perspective and the way we handle these times prepares us for all the challenges that are bound to come. It also helps us appreciate the good times and smooth sailing a little more. They're just around the corner, after all.
The Castle Lady