Saturday, June 4, 2011

Deja Vu

I have been juggling sick relatives. It seems lately that one or the other of my wife's parents have been in hospital. In the wee AM hours of Friday morning, the phone rang. That is never a good thing. It was my father-in-law saying that C's mother was doubled over in pain. She was taken by ambulance to the university hospital's ER where all of us spent the rest of the night.

She is okay but may have to have abdominal surgery. At least we can all laugh a bit about the tag team approach to being in hospital. And the EMT personnel are on a first name basis with the parents due to the frequency of visits.

Her room is on the tenth floor of the main hospital where years ago the psychiatric ward was. I would visit my mother there several times a week during her early hospitalizations for depression. I had not been in a psych ward before. But I can tell you that it was not as bad as my wild imagination had lead me to
believe. There were some sick people but most were quiet and lost inside themselves.

My mother often did not know who I was when she first came in. It would take several weeks of treatments before she would be her old self and call my name. My early experience was that I felt afraid that she would not get better. I would try to figure out why she was depressed. How could this be happening to someone who seemed so happy? I was stunned at how far she would go down before the treatments would work. During several stays, she would not eat and her weight dropped to 90 pounds.

I read as much as I could about depression, looking for solace and answers in books. The more times she was admitted, the more understanding I had that this was an illness, most likely inherited, and caused by a deficiency in neurotransmitters. I was eventually able to put her in the hands of the physicians and not worry. I was powerless regarding her illness and curing it.

And I did much the same thing with alcoholism, reading about it, trying to figure it out intellectually. I could do no better with that than with my mother's illness. It was something that I could not fix.

Today, when I went to the old tenth floor, I was reminded just how much energy I spent on trying to talk my mother into getting well. She was beyond the talking cure. And so is the alcoholic. What works is beyond me.


  1. hey man i feel for you and hope everyone gets better the wisdom in your closing thought there...

  2. Syd - - - I know, I know, I know. My heart goes out to you, and I wish there were some better solace to be had. Step 1 and Step 2 are what help me today, especially with mental illness, as well as alcoholism. Thank God, my Higher Power, for allowing me to discover my own dysfunction which helped me to recover from my own obsession with the 'fix its.'

    I hope your Mom-In-Law does well, and returns home to her beloved husband soon.

    Much love,
    Anonymous #1

  3. Your so right Syd, our intellect doesn't solve the problem but the coping mechanisms we learn in Al-anon and AA are life savers.
    I heard this today and love it:
    "If your drinking inteferes with your work you are probably a heavy drinker. If your work interferes with your drinking you are almost surely an alcoholic !"

  4. What works is what works and it seldom has to do with our efforts. Love from Lloyd...M

  5. Your closing thought is provoking. With a feeling of melancholy or futility at my first glance, it moved on and far away from that for me.

    What works is beyond me? Yes. Yes, as a matter of fact it is! It exists and it works and it is beyond me. In other words, what works is, or exists, beyond me. It exists, thank God. Perhaps what works that is beyond me, is the intelligence of my higher power. Thinking out loud...

    I came across something in Al-Anon literature Thursday that caught my attention and I think the idea fits within the context of my own evolution of thought. Maybe it's commonly known? But it was my first time reading it: There is a God. You are not Him. I rest easy in both ideas.

  6. I was very moved by your dealings with your mothers depression.
    It has saddened me to watch my friends sister disappear into mental illness over the years. One day at a time I have found a new freedom and happiness. In the past I thought that I was sinking deeper into despair that nothing could help me. Slowly in time working the program I have returned to find myself again.

  7. I think it's hard to see the fear in our aging parents more than anything else. I knew I could not save my parents from the illness that finally took them but I just wanted to lessen the fear..ya know?

  8. They are all blessed to have you in their lives.

  9. Oh sometimes it's sad to think and remember things, I'm glad we have this program (these programs) to share a solution to our thinking, depression and difficulties :)

  10. Your post is deja vu for me as I remember visiting my mom in the psych ward my times in the past ten years. She has suffered with mental illness my whole life & self medicated with alcohol & pills. It has taken me 38 years to realize just how sick she really was, & how powerless I was to change it.
    I strive to "let go let God" every day, because I trust that His plans are bigger & better than any I try to force or control.....I will pray for your mom-in-law & family! God bless

  11. Prayers on the smoke everyone recovers soon. Life is an intricate beast, one disease touching another more than others.

    Being knowledgeable is the first step to understanding how to live with it. (Hugs)Indigo

  12. I pray for the best outcome for your family and the strength for you and C to go through this. Your memories are heartfelt, loving and true in what you learned. It feels like it made for a good foundation to your relationships today.

  13. I hope C's mother gets better soon. Love to both of you.


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