01:27:51 am on
Wednesday 21 Apr 2021

Phoenix Rising
AJ Robinson

Source: Waking Times

A while back I wrote a story here called Mother Phoenix, which dealt with my mother. She’d suffered a terrible car accident and we weren’t sure if she would make it. As the mythical creature, she battled back to rise renewed and, just recently, she showed us how tough she is; how resilient.

The friend of the elderly.

Mom contracted pneumonia. No big surprise. Many elderly people suffer that infection.

I remember my dad telling me how, in his day, pneumonia was a common way for old folks to pass away. Thus, the family was understandably worried for her. Mom had troubles before and battled back.

I was not overly concerned, except for one detail. My brother Greg has cancer and he had to tell our mom. It’s not the sort of fact he could conceal, easily.

Now, it doesn’t matter that he’s getting treatment or his overall prognosis. It all comes down to a simple fact. My mom lost a son to cancer and she has made it clear that she will not outlive another child.

Let’s face it. Attitude is a major contributing factor when it comes to personal health, especially at her ninety-something age. How many times have we heard of someone simply giving up or someone hanging on because they have unfinished business, as the cliché goes? So, when we heard that mom was getting weaker, we weren’t surprised.

Then I learned that when she was better, she wasn’t going back to Aston-Gardens due to her physical weakness. She had to go to physical therapy, first, to build up her strength to a point where she could transfer from her wheelchair to other seats. More work for mom to face; more obstacles for her to overcome.

Then came the biggie. Mom was in renal failure and congestive heart failure. The physician worried. She was concerned mom couldn’t battle back from such a severe one-two punch to her system.

We had the inevitable talk.

My brothers and I had to talk of topic that we would prefer to ignore. That is, hospice. It’s a huge decision, not taken lightly.

David and Shirley went to visit mom. She was unconscious for their entire time with her. David arranged to transfer mom, filed her DNR and met with the physician and social worker.

Mom was estimated to have a week, two at most; it was a time to prepare for the end. A short time later, I got a text from Greg. Reaching for my glasses to read it, I dreaded what it might say.

The phoenix had risen. Mom was awake, talking to the staff and asking for lunch. The doctor reported the transfer to hospice would have to be cancelled and mom would need to get to physical therapy, as soon as possible, to re-build her strength. Again, no regrets.

Somehow, I think she’ll surprise the staff at that physical therapy, as well. As for myself, I wept long and hard great tears of joy. I picked up the phone to call her.

The phone rang several times before the receiver was lifted; there was a long silence. It took mom a while to get the phone to her ear, I called out to her. My eyes were again awash, as I heard her voice.

I felt both pleasure and regret. It was good to hear her, but she was weak and in pain. My heart shattered to think of her hurting, yet other than words of comfort I had nothing to offer.

Words of comfort, reassuring as they were, were enough for her. She expressed her love for me and Jo Ann, asked after Damian and promised to try hard to get better. What more can any son ask for?

As of this writing, mom has been moved to the rehab center. She’s still weak, her health is far from perfect and the path before her will be hard. Ironically, I’m once again reminded of a particular installment o comic strip of the Little Orphan Annie series.

I mentioned the comic strip before. It was the panels titled “Eight…Nine….” In those panels, Daddy Warbucks declares no one has counted ten over him.

Up before the count ends.

The reference, of course, is to the referee in a boxing match counting to ten before declaring a boxer has lost. Well, this incident has yet again made it clear to the family not to count ten over mom anytime soon. Long may the phoenix soar to new heights.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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