Mom wakes, again, after nearly 30 minutes of sleep. She is groggy. She scowls, and looks at me, almost with a look of annoyance. “Where am I?’ she asks.
“Mom, you’re in the hospital,” I tell her with as much gentleness as I can manage after answering the question multiple times.
“What?! Why am I in the hospital?”
I tell her she has been having trouble breathing and that is why she has the oxygen tube in her nose. She is cranky. She jerks her head from side to side and scratches her head. “Where’s Charlie?”
There it is. Where is Charlie. The love of her life. My Dad. My Dad who died not 3 weeks ago. She doesn’t remember. I’ve had to tell her now too many times. How do I keep breaking her heart? Am I doing the right thing in telling her? I’ve been asking myself that one too many times, as well.
“Mom…” She can tell by my voice, I think because she looks at me with sad eyes. “He’s dead?” She asks in a whisper. “He’s dead,” she says again with knowing despair. She weeps silently; hangs her head.
We are in the hospital because she has pleural effusion. Fluid has built up in the space between the lung tissue and the chest cavity. It functions a lot like pneumonia, which we all thought she had developed somehow because that would have been easier. That could have been solved, cured. She is easily out of breath. She can’t do those things she loves the most like taking a nice walk, going to church with my family.