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.