A Fighting Chance

It was 1:30 am and I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about my mom and the way she is being treated at the hospital. Because she has COVID, the hospital does not allow visitation until when she is near the end of her life. It has been so difficult to make decisions when we cannot be there by her side.

At 3 am on Wednesday, I received a call from a resident doctor telling us to come in because she believed my mother was near the end. We rushed in to see mom. She was happy to see us. She told us that she was ready to go home and asked me if I brought any diaper for her. I told her that I would love to take her home, but she needed oxygen. Within the machine she wouldn’t be able to breath. I held her hand and asked her if she would like to have the doctors do everything they could to treat her. She said yes. We stayed for a while with her and she told us to go home to rest. She knew we were exhausted. We left the hospital and later on the day I called her doctor to request a ventilator. We updated her status to full code.

Friday afternoon, I received another call from the nurse telling us that she is near the end of her life and if we would like to take the ventilator out, we could visit her for the last time. We arranged to meet. Once again we came in and she still was still responding. I asked her if she was hurt or uncomfortable, she shook her head. I asked her if she would like to continue to get treatment, she nodded her head. When we decided to keep her on the ventilator as she wished, the nurse told us that the only reason they let us in was because she was near the end of her life.

I don’t blame them for being confused. My mother has a mind of her own and she changes her mind all the time. What has been consistent is her willing to fight. She refused to take Remdesivir because she was told through an interpreter that it can cause damage to her liver and kidney. She didn’t want to get on the ventilator because she believed she could fight COVID at home. With lots of rest and savory food she eats at home, she could beat it. She did not realize how critical she was and it was hard for us to communicate that over the phone. When we saw her in person and explained to her the situation, she understood right away and she was willing to fight.

I kept thinking how strong she has been just with the past week. The doctors told us twice that she was near the end of her life and she is still fighting. It was 2:30 am and I still couldn’t sleep and I hadn’t had a drop of coffee since the day I came here from Virginia. I needed to be able to sleep to clear my mind. Every time I woke up, I felt the chill running through my bones.

I picked up the phone to call her nurse. It turned out that 2:30 am in the morning was the best time to reach a nurse. I talked to a gentleman and he gave me a brief update. I asked him to set up Blue Jeans in her room just so I could see her. Although she was sedated and couldn’t hear me, I still talked to her. I told her to rest and to let her body heal, but to keep on fighting. I sang “Lòng Mẹ” and drifted to sleep.