Like Mother Like Son

I went to visit Louise today, as I do every Saturday morning. She was sleeping most of my time there, which gave me a good visit with Ray. Louise is in a hard place because her medication makes her sleep, but without it, the seizures start up again. A day or so ago Ray found out that she had, at least once or twice put her medication in her pocket rather than taking it. It is alarming to think that she is sneaking it out of her mouth once he believes she has swallowed it. However, as concerning as that is, it reminded me of a story.
When Bill was in the hospital after his accident, he was pretty out of it. He was much like Louise is now, in some ways. He couldn’t remember basic things, and was unaware of much of what went on around him. Once he was out of ICU and in the rehab unit, I could no longer be there 24/7. There were visiting hours from 4:00-8:00 in the evening that I had to obey. During the times I was not with him, he had a “sitter” whose job it was to follow him around to make sure he did not escape, harm himself, or others. He was kind of like a toddler in those days. Brain injury is somewhat tricky, in that there are stages that people go through at different points. Much like any other human cycle these stages vary in length and severity depending on each person. One of the stages is paranoia. It just so happens that, for Bill, this stage coincided with the time he had a sitter. He was convinced that everyone was trying to kill him, including these people that were being paid to follow him around. He threw a lunch table at one of them, and a wheelchair at another. He picked the doctor up by his shirt and put him up against the wall. (Head injured adults are kinda strong because of that fight or flight thing.) It is funny to look back at it now, but it was a volatile time back then, to say the least. He used to call me in the middle of the night, whispering that someone was trying to kill him and then hang up very fast. Several times a night, because he forgot that he had already called. Not good when I had to work the next morning.
One day I came in after work, just in time to see the nurse give him his medicine. She put it in his hand, and gave him a cup of water to chase it with, which he did. However, I saw that he did not actually take it. I told the nurse, and she disagreed with me because she “watched him put it in his mouth and take a drink.” I explained that Bill does sleight of hand magic, and that he had actually palmed the pills. I told him to show her his hands. He did, keeping palms open but his fingers pressed together. She said to me, “See it is gone.” I made him spread his fingers, and out fell the medicine, to the shock of the nurse. She went in his room and checked his trash can…the pills for the past several days were there in the bottom, hidden under a napkin. Now I ask you, how in the world can someone who doesn’t even know where they are be so tricky? The brain is incredibly complex is it not? When I asked Bill about it, he got that little kid sparkle in his eye, smiled and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” I was onto him and he knew it. I did not back down. He then tucked his chin and said, “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” He was totally sure that the nurses were trying to poison him and in his mind he was protecting himself. After that day, the nurse put the pills in his mouth and put the water in as well…not allowing him to get his hands near his mouth at all. lol
The story of Louise not taking her medicine made me laugh a bit. And it made me wonder. Is it genetic or did she train him as a child that medicine is to be avoided (she has always been somewhat anti-medicine), or is it a common brain thing to want to avoid it? No way to know. Yet here it is Mother’s Day and I am watching mother and son…so much alike in many ways. It made me ponder how much mothers pour into kids. The sacrifice. The emotional investment. The time. The love. Moms pray to God that kids get the best of what they have, and forget the worst. Yet in the deepest places of our minds, we are like our moms. In teenage years, it would be considered an insult to be told that. However, as you grow up you realize that motherhood is a high calling. It is not easy. There are no perfect moms, only those who love as best they can. It makes all the difference in the life of a child. Ultimately, we carry more of our moms with us than we really know. I for one am grateful for that fact on this Mother’s Day.

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