Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bandaids & Happy Thoughts

Back in 2003, I volunteered for a short tour of duty to Qatar. At the time, the "war" was fresh and everyone was on edge. My mom didn't like the idea of me going overseas into the dangerous unknown. As I prepared to leave, mom sent me out the door with a backpack full of "goodies from home". My favorite item was the small red book she had made for me. Each page had a different date, and different message. Page one had the date I got on the airplane to leave and a special message from mom. She made me promise not to read ahead to the other dates. I never did. Reading my daily note from mom became something the women in my tent looked forward to. We all gathered around to read our daily note from a special woman who was thousands of miles away, yet none of them knew my mom. Some days the message was emotional. Some days the message was inspirational. Some days she made us laugh. I think of that book often and I still have it at my house. It is worn and battered, but I have it nonetheless. I think this blog is very similar to the book she made for me many years ago. We all wake up and gather around our computers, in different states and countries, to read her daily words. It has gotten to the point where many of the people who read this blog don't know her, but many of them probably say the same thing I heard every day over in the desert... "I love this lady!"

Back to my goodie bag from mom. In addition to the book, snacks, pictures, etc., mom sent me with a box of superman bandaids. I laughed at first. I mean, I work in the hospital on base so the odds of me having access to a bandaid in the case of an injury was pretty good. When asked about the bandaids, she said "bandaids make everything better". I thought it was cute so I accepted her theory. I was never injured while overseas, but there were a few days when I would wear a bandaid under my uniform, just to keep me safe and make me feel closer to mom. To this day, we occassionally apply a bandaid to an uninjured piece of skin, just because we hope it will help. I think we could all use a bandaid today.

I have called to check on my mom a few times today. She sounds exhausted. Last night Angie and I noticed that my mom was getting a bad rash on her chest, near the bandages from her surgery. Her skin was red, inflamed, itchy, and hot. After checking with a nurse, we found out that mom had an allergic reaction to the cleaner they used on her skin before surgery. She was also very uncomfortable last night. Anyone would be sore after having an incision cut in your chest, and one in your neck, but unfortunately for mom she gets to add coughing on top of it. When I spoke with her earlier today she said that she didn't sleep very well last night because her pain medicine kept wearing off, and she was unable to take sleeping medicine for 24 hours after her surgery. She has been resting most of the day. She said she feels like she was "kicked in the clavicle by a horse".

My dad went to work for a while today, but only long enough to pack things up and bring them home. He has decided to work from home today so he could bring my mom lunch and watch after her. My mom said his spirits seemed better today. That makes my heart feel a tad bit better.

People have started to call or email and ask what they can do to help and we really appreciate that. At this point, it's hard to pin point exactly where our needs are, but as they become abundantly clear down the road, we will most likely be taking some of you up on your offers. With mom's treatments falling on Tuesday's and Friday's (most weeks) mom might be looking for a car pool buddy every now and then. My parents always want to be with one another during their treatments but the commute to Seattle so many days a week will surely take its toll on all of us.

Thank you for the kind words, emails, phone calls, and cards. Life has become a rollercoaster, but our friends have become our seatbelts. Think happy thoughts. Love your friends and family. Participate in random acts of kindness. Give more than you take. Most importantly, LIVE every day.

Being held together by a bandaid... and happy thoughts-


Anonymous said...

Amy, you've not just touched my heart today, but you've "hugged" it. Please know you are all in our thought and prayers daily, and I will be your mom's car pool buddy anytime!
Through tears,
Jana Shaughnessy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Amy. I keep your entire family in my daily prayers. Love and hugs always
Debbie H.

Anonymous said...

I am going to go upstairs right now and put a bandaid on my heart. (I might even draw a little superman on it!) It is I who wish you give you and your family support and it is you and your family who continue to inspire me.
I am sending teary happy, peaceful, healing thoughts and prayers your way.
Shelly R.

Anonymous said...

:) Superman bandaids help and work the best, I use them too!
-Living everyday with your family in my thoughts and prayers. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Looks as though you have brought us all to are certainly your mothers daughter. Keep counting the blessings that have been bestowed upon you and praying for more.

Terry said...

WOW! Thanks for the inspiration! You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers!

Anonymous said...

Too bad emails cann't take it all away. Thank You for inspiring us,keeping us motavated, and most of all keeping us laughing. I am a firm believer that bandaids can help anyone. Thanks You for sharing your story, sad to say we had been there ourselfs, hang tight

Heather said...

I'm catching up on the last several weeks ... good entries as usual, but this one, Amy, is so moving. So powerful! Thank you for sharing your eloquently written thoughts.