We are now in week six of my mother, Florence Littauer’s, hoped for recovery from a stroke that took place on May 16—and week two at Covenant Specialty Hospital in Lubbock Texas. I’ve been at her bedside for 5-7 hours nearly every day (I do have a couple of friends who spell me for a day or two a week). The reports have been up and down. Since Monday, June 22, she has been on a slow, but steady climb.
When she arrived here last week, she’d been on a liquid diet for several days and continued on that for several more. In the past week, she’s lost ten pounds and has hardly left the bed. The future looked bleak. On Sunday, June 21, I posted the following on Facebook: “As Florence Chapman Littauer’s life is literally hanging in the balance–at this point it could go either way…” That was exactly how I felt. It was one of many low points in this journey—perhaps the lowest.
The post-covid rules in this hospital are such that they only allow one visitor a day with no in-and-out privileges. Visiting hours are from 8-5. But the doctor does his rounds on her floor around 6-6:30 each morning. The only way I can have a face-to-face meeting with him is to spend the night in my mother’s hotel room. She arrived here on Wednesday afternoon and they immediately did a variety of tests to determine a course of action. I thought it best to give the doctor a few days to review the tests and check on my mother before I met with him. Then the weekend came and I know nothing much happens then. So, on Monday night, I slept on the sofa in Mom’s room and met with the doctor in the morning. It was then that I learned the labs showed she’d had a heart attack on Sunday. He commented that a stroke and heart attack are hard on younger, healthy people—yet her numbers have been improving. I showed him pictures of her from before the stoke and videos of the progress she made wile in rehab. It was helpful for him to see and I feel that I now have a relationship with him. We agreed to continue the current program and see where we are in a few more days.
Tuesday evening, Mom had her first real food in more than a week. She was hungry and ate almost all of the steak, carrots and rice. She reached for the fork and put a few bites of cake into her mouth. When I arrived in her room on Wednesday afternoon, she was sitting up in bed eating lunch by herself. Since then, she’s been eating with enthusiasm.
In true Florence fashion, since she’s been feeling a bit better, she’s been very positive. She says the food is wonderful. She thanks the team that is taking care of her and she tell me I am pretty.
Unfortunately, her level of lucidity comes and goes. Additionally, she’s hardly been out of bed—though we can get her up to use the bedside commode and the therapy team has gotten her up and into a chair.
The current trajectory is a slow and steady climb. But the hill is steep and she has a long way to go. We do not know what the future hold, but, gratefully, we do know who hold the future.
For now, it appears that she has cheated death once again.