“Your brother is taking your mom to the hospital. She’s been out of it for the last couple days.” The text from my sister-in-law caught me by surprise.
I immediately hopped in my car and sped to the hospital where it was determined that my mother’s blood sugar was almost 600 and was the cause of her disorientation, absentmindedness, and short-term memory loss. She was admitted so they could get her blood sugar down.
It’s been four days and she’s still there. Her doctor said she needed to go an entire 24-hour period and not have her blood sugar go over 200. It has been fluctuating between 160 and 280 for the last few days.
I, of course, have gone to visit her every day. The night we were in the ER it was disconcerting to see her in such a state of nonlucidity. She didn’t know her own birthday. She guessed when the nurse asked for her age.
The next day she didn’t remember ever having been in that hospital before despite having open-heart surgery there. She’s been there multiple times because of her blood pressure spiking. She’s been there for kidney stones. She’s been there for several other reasons on several different occasions. She had no clue.
The day after that I had to argue with her about ordering dinner. She swore she had ordered her dinner despite the fact that the phone was nowhere near her and completely out of her reach. She tried to convince me she could order using the nurse button on the remote control. I finally convinced her to call the cafeteria and order her food. After she hung up she said, “I guess I didn’t order my food.”
She was on the phone today when I came in. My other sister-in-law was giving her a new phone number, but my mom kept telling her to wait because she couldn’t find her phone. She was talking on it, obviously.
If this were a sitcom, I’d be laughing about all this. But it’s not. It’s my mother and this is actually happening. And it’s freaking me the fuck out. Hello, anxiety.
Fear is not a thing a man is supposed to ever admit to having. We’re told so by our fathers. We’re told so by other boys in our youth. We’re told so by other men after we’re grown. We’re even told so by women occasionally. Man up. Grow some balls. It’s a weakness. It’s unmanly. Men aren’t supposed to be vulnerable. We’re brave. We’re strong. We provide. We’re stoic in the face of adversity. And we never, ever shed a tear.
I don’t know who came up with this idea of masculinity or why it’s perpetuated by generation after generation, but fuck that noise.
I’m afraid diabetes is winning. They’ve increased her dosage of insulin, yet still can’t get it back to acceptable levels.
I’m afraid heart disease is winning. They’ve increased her blood pressure medicine, but it won’t go back to acceptable levels.
I’m afraid bipolar is winning. She hasn’t seemed determined to fight this for some time. Indeed, she was taken to the hospital against her will.
I’m afraid that the day I’ve been dreading for so long is approaching.
I’m afraid giving voice to these fears will help bring them to fruition.
I’m afraid of losing my mother. I’m afraid of how I’ll react if I do. I’ve never handled loss well and as much as I put on a front of solid stone I’m incredibly fragile emotionally. I’m afraid I’ll once again look for refuge in a bottle. I’m afraid I’ll fail my children in this depressive state.
I’m afraid I’ll completely lose my shit.
I’m hoping that all this is merely a product of my anxiety and that I’m all worked up for no reason. I’d much rather this be an overreaction than anything close to reality. Until the situation is resolved one way or another, though, I’ll live in fear.