Life is a Mystery

20 March 2011

Remembering: Oma Comes Home

Time dilates when the stresses pile on. Anyone who has tended a loved one in the ICU or lived through the aftermath of an accident experiences this rush of events that can hardly seem, in retrospect, to fit the time they were given on a calendar. This week with Oma and Stephen and Dagmar and Natalie and Nathaniel was dilated this way. How did we do everything we did?

We are pretty sure she will come home this week, but nothing is certain. She has been improving, more ready to smile or joke, more ready to try foods again, maybe even sleeping a bit. We have oxygen at home now, still waiting for the bed. Dagmar has worked hard to get care for Oma set up at home, the outfit doing this will be shadowing the nursing staff at the hospital for a couple days to get the routine down, then we hope on Friday to bring Oma back to H9.

It will be quite strange at home even if Oma does return. Right now it feels empty without her. But if she is lying and recovering/crying out in the diningroom/now/bedroom that will be very odd as well.

I have pictures of walksEastermarket Walking with Nathaniel and Stephen, somehow finding time to get out in the Vienna woods, or visit the easter markets around town in the spring. Finding ways to enjoy this wonderful second home our family shared.

Spring sprung in Vienna today. The sun came out after two weeks of snow, rain, and cloudy days. After Oma’s bed arrived this morning, Stephen, Nathaniel, and I took a walk from up on Kahlenberg to Nussdorf while Natalie and Dagmar visited Oma and took delivery of the mattress.

Gabriella asked me about how Nate was doing:

He says he is doing good. He is sad and worried for Oma, but he certainly helps me stay on an even keel. We do a few normal things together, going for walks, going to get ice cream, we’ll go to a movie this week.

I have pictures of us shoppingReady Sillybubbles for the things we would need to transform Oma’s dining room into a recovery room. The bubble wrap for the dishes. The boxes to pack up everything. The curtains to hang for privacy from the living room. We thought Oma would like the light of the room, the view of Cobenzl above. We knew we would appreciate the access to the kitchen and the proximity to the living room.

I have pictures of the visitorsVisit to Oma’s hospital room, where she began to smile a little and believe that she might actually make it home after all. She would not die today, instead she would talk with G√ľnther. She would not die today, instead she would eat. She would not die today, instead she would argue with Dagmar. Anna, who would be so important and wonderful in the coming weeks, also appeared in our lives.

By this afternoon when I stopped by RH, Oma was so sound asleep she didn’t even flinch when she got a shot in the leg. Later she woke and told Dagmar she was worried about the move home. This seemed quite wise to me, as life has been pretty easy on Oma in the hospital, if you overlook all the outright suffering. Home will be substantially more demanding. Without IVs she will have to eat and drink more regularly. The noise around the house will be greater than what she deals with at RH. And Anna, the first caregiver from Curavita (the 24 hour care service), does not have quite the grasp of German we had hoped for. We expect Oma to be “delivered” home around 2pm tomorrow, it will be quite a challenge. At least Oma will get to hear Nathaniel practice his cello!

When the moment finally arrivedWaiting Return on May 19th, it was a bit of a shock.

Milestone: Oma is in the house.

She had a pretty stressful transfer, with a ride down from the top of Huschkagasse in a stretcher that was no fun at all (though Nate might have enjoyed it). She fell asleep soon after getting home.

Oma would still need oxygen. Oma would need 24 hour nursing care. Oma would be bedridden for likely weeks. But Oma would come home. She arrived in an ambulance at Huschkagasse 9 and was wheeled into the room we had prepared. She was home.

Eric+oma

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org