A Glass of Water

So I’m in Toronto visiting my mother. She’s still in ICU, in fact, she has been in ICU longer than any other patient at the hospital. The real problem is her breathing- she can’t do it on her own. Doctors gave us the bad news a little while ago that because she can’t breathe on her own… she’ll never leave the hospital. They said never, and they are probably right, but they might also be wrong. I’m obviously hoping they are wrong. Currently she’s on 50% assist, and 50% breathing on her own. She’s in a hospital, so inevitably she had to battle infection after infection, because being in a hospital for an extended period of time is a surefire way to get sick. We had a recent scare. One where the doctors wanted to have that “talk” with us. She was diagnosed with double pneumonia which they deemed was 100% fatal. They asked us if we wanted them to treat the pneumonia, or instead, “let her go.” That’s just brutal. Ick. I hate being in that spot, but me and my brother are on the same page all the way through this which is great. No arguing, no bickering, we both know our mother well and what she would want. We decided to give her a chance, having them give her antibiotics to try and beat the pneumonia. Chances were slim, but she’s been fighting so hard, we had to try. All I can say is that the doctors were shocked and claimed a miracle, because the next day, literally the next day they said the pneumonia was gone. Since then her vitals have been improving. She went from sleeping, to wide awake, moving her left arm a lot, nodding, listening, and even trying to speak. I wish I could read lips so I knew what she was saying. That’s frustrating. She wants to tell me something and I just can’t make it out. It sucks too, because she struggles so hard to try to choke out a word, I can see the effort she puts in and I assume it’s painful. I wish I understood her. Well yesterday I understood her full well. I was by her bed and took a sip out of my bottle of water. Her eyes lit up. She motioned with her hand close to her and was staring at the water. I asked her if she wanted some water, and her eyes opened REALLY wide and she nodded up and down yes. I was about to give her some when my brother informed me that she can’t have any water. She could drown. Apparently with the tube in her throat, she’s unable to swallow anything. He said we could give her a minuscule amount, think what you could fit under a fingernail. I put a drop in a cup and gave it to her to drink. That obviously didn’t do much for her and now she was obsessed with the water bottle. She was pointing to it frantically. I asked, “You want water Mommy?” and this time I swear I could read her lips. She said, “Da vrou,” meaning, yes, I want. That made me crazy. Just the thought of her laying there with a dry mouth… since February. Sure she gets fluids through a needle, but her mouth has been dry since February and all she seemed to want was a glass of water. I just thought it was cruel and was hoping for some answers as to why it had to be that way? My brother is there everyday, and he assured me that’s just the way it has to be for her. We were allowed to swab her mouth though, by dipping a swab in water and letting her suck on it. I can imagine it helped, but still, it’s just like a tease. Anyway, that whole thing just sucked for me. My mother is laying in a bed, begging me, just begging me to give her water… and I can’t give her water. It’s heartbreaking. I just hope she understood why I couldn’t give it to her. I do think she understands, but still, at that point she seemed so thirsty I don’t think she cared too much about the consequences. Ick. That just sucks. Time with her has been good, though, I talk to her about all kinds of things and she listens. She loves to hear about food, so Patty, thoughtfully, put together a cookbook for her of stuff that Patty now cooks for me. It’s beautifully put together with pictures and all. I also told her how I did at the WSOP this year. The five bracelets, and the $4 million dollars I won… just kidding 🙂 I told her the truth, a 2nd, a 4th, etc. and about $350,000. Food is her passion, but she really likes money too! When I was a teenager and would play poker, after a big win I’d bring the money home and let her count it. She loved it. She had to make it all “pretty.” All the faces in the same direction, bills flat not crumpled, and all in order with the big bills on the outside. Actually, I remember from even before I played poker when my dad would come home with a chunk of cash after finishing a job (he was an electrician and all around handy guy) that she’d do the same thing with a big grin on her face. So along with the book I brought along a wad of cash and just kind of counted it there in front of her, putting the heads in order and making it neat like she liked it. She was by no means a women who spent a lot of money. Quite the contrary! When she used to visit me in Vegas I can remember giving her $100 and she’d come home with like three duffel bags full of clothes! She’d say, “How much do you think I paid for these earrings? ” I’d look them over, and figuring they had to be cheap I’d guess lower than what they appeared to cost. Diamonds, had to be fake, I guessed, “Ten bucks?”
She’d look at me like I’m crazy and say, “Noooooo. 50 cents!” with a big laugh. She always knew how to look her best, like a “fancy schmancy woman” without having to buy Dior, Prada, or Gucci. In fact, I think she kind of hated that stuff and felt it was a waste of money! I once bought her a purse after a tourney win. It was an expensive purse that I got for her birthday, cost me like $3000. I swear, she never, ever, not even once used it! I think she was too afraid it would get dirty, lol. Anyway, so yeah. I’m here at my brother’s place for a few more days just kind of reminiscing. If I don’t stop now this blog will turn into a book.