We’ve begun that age-old dance, my mother and I. It’s the one that most parents and their adult children do, eventually; the one during which we exchange our lifetime roles. As we dance, my mother becomes the child and I become the parent.

It’s difficult. Mom and I are equally reluctant to do the dance. It’s painful. Infinitely tender. We’re unsure of the steps; we find ourselves awkward in our sudden intimacy; shy with love, two women who share ancestral blood and the complex history of mothers and daughters. There’s no way of knowing how long the dance will last. It could be a marathon. It could be very short. Whichever happens, we’re both in it for the duration. We’ll see its end together.

The sciatica Mom’s suffered with for the last three months is nearly gone. We’re celebrating its slow departure, delighted that she now has so little pain. But in its place has come a low, evil brown nausea.  It’s stealing her appetite, her enjoyment of life, and burdening her with frustration… and fear.

In the morning she’s having an upper GI endoscopy. We hope to discover what’s causing this dreadful, debilitating nausea. Mom has lost nearly 12 pounds, most of them in the last three weeks. She can barely eat or even drink water; I took her to the ER a week ago because she became so dehydrated. They gave her IV fluids and sent us home.

The lack of food and water has not only left Mom alarmingly weak, it’s also affected her ability to think clearly. She’s confused and forgetful. She cannot understand why she’s so sick. She cries, and I try not to. To stay strong.

Tonight, a few hours after going to bed, she got up to use the bathroom and fell, scraping and bruising her back. I helped her up and back to bed, cleaned the ugly scrape and painted it with antibacterial salve. Mom said that no other part of her seemed to hurt, but of course I’m worried about her ultra-fragile bones, or that she might have irritated her sciatic nerve again. She was able to walk back to bed unaided, though, which I think is a good sign. I think—I hope—she’s all right.

That fall scared the dickens out of both of us.

I hope the gastroenterologist will be able find out what’s causing her awful nausea. I hope he can treat it quickly and effectively, so she can get on with recovering her strength and stamina. And I hope that we’ll be allowed to stop dancing, at least for a little while.

10 thoughts on “Dancing

  1. Oh Wren, I hope your mum get a positive outcome from the appointment in the morning! It must be so hard for you both – and all teh family Polly


  2. Oh, Wren, I’m so sorry to hear there’s yet another problem for your mom. How frustrating for you both. It’s nice that she’ll allow you to help her out.

    When my mom lived with my brother, my husband and I would see my mom do some crazy things. When we asked my brother about it, he didn’t think there was anything to worry about. That’s changed. A couple years ago my mom moved. Now my brothers call me with concerns about our mother. There appears to be something wrong, but she ignores our attempts to help. It’s frustrating for all of us.

    Best of luck to your mother. I hope the GI has good news for you both.


  3. Gee Wren, I’m sorry you and your mother are going through this. I went through similar situations with my mother and father. It is very taxing and scary. Hang in there. Hope you get some answers at the doctor.


  4. Aw Wren, your poor mum. I hope the fall doesnt turn into anything serious and the doctor can help tomorrow. Really good news that the sciatica is going though!!

    My great aunt (who’s 85) has moved in to live with my mum and it’s sad to see the reversal of roles there. She’s so weak and like you said, child-like. It’s sad because she used to be a brilliant independant woman and a successful architect who travelled the world. But that’s life, eh?

    And how are you doing with the hips??


  5. Oh nein, meine liebe Zaunkönigen. That all sounds much too familiar. What my Mama and I started going through about this time last year. Ask the doctors to check her pancreas, especially if they first rule out stomach ulcers and acid reflux and all that. At one point, just to get something in her, we froze apple juice and then broke the cubes so that she could “drink” the shards, so to speak. I hope it is something that doesn’t require a long hospital stay. Sending you and and your Mama warm thoughts and hugs!


  6. Wren, how awful and scary for both you and your mom. I hope the gastroenterologist has found the problem and can get her straightened back up quickly.


  7. Dear Wren, I’m thinking of you and your mother both. I hope her doctors are able to find a way to ease the dreadful nausea – what an awful thing to live with every day. I’m glad you are there for her through all of it.


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