It’s still December. December 14. I was thinking today about one year ago. One year ago, we were preparing for Christmas. Marge, my mother in law, was at the nursing home. She had a tough year. For the entire year, she had been in and out of the hospital and nursing home. She had MS. Had been diagnosed with it in the early 80s. She lived basically symptom free for years. Then, in 1996, she had an attack and the disease began to progress.
She started going to the Mayo Clinic and started a series of different treatments. One thing led to another, she switched neurologists, and saw different doctors…. and for whatever reason, she opted to stop treatment of her MS. Sometimes she would say that she wanted to believe that God would heal her. Other times, she tried alternative treatments, homeopathy. And as many times as I tried to convince her to pursue aggressive treatment for the disease, I have to respect the fact that she made the decisions that she wanted to make regarding her health.
Several years passed. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. And she felt that she had been misdiagnosed of MS in the early 80’s and again at Mayo Clinic in the late 90’s. She aggressively pursued the Lyme treatment. I think that she had found hope. She never really wanted to have a debilitating disease. She never wanted to hear the news that MS is progressive and doesn’t ever go away. Lyme Disease was treatable, and would be gone forever. So, she found a Lyme specialist and pursued it with great fervor.
In December of last year…about this time… her family doctor was very concerned for her health. He was working on convincing her to pursue a visit to a neurologist friend of his in Des Moines. This was someone he felt would benefit her greatly with her MS treatment. Her Lyme doctor had prescribed so many antibiotics and she had been repeatedly been admitted and readmitted to the hospital for UTI’s and bladder infections. Because of the overuse of antibiotics, her body was developing immunities to antibiotics. Very quickly, the doctors were running out of antibiotics to fight infection of any kind.
Christmas was her favorite time of year. I met Marge when I was 16 years old. In the 27 years I had known her, she had always loved Christmas. She loved giving… she loved baking… she loved decorating. So, we planned a Christmas family gathering at the nursing home. We reserved a room and made arrangements.
Then, on Christmas Eve, the day before our big party…. Shawn’s dad (Marge’s husband), fell off a roof and broke his ankle. We spent Christmas Eve night and the wee hours of Christmas morning in the Emergency Room at the local hospital. He stayed there that night. So, thank God, we decided not to cancel our Christmas plans at the nursing home. We brought in our food, our presents, and we hung out there all day long. One of our girls was living in Trinidad last Christmas, so she Skyped the entire event with us. It was definitely a different Christmas than all the other years together.
We didn’t know one year ago that it Christmas would be our last with Marge. On June 1 of 2011, she went to be with the Lord.