Thursday, August 22, 2013



Sorry for the lengthy hiatus from the blogosphere. My mother was in a skilled nursing center in Erie for five months getting rehab after a hospitalization shortly before her 79th birthday. While I was in southern Italy on pilgrimage, I was informed that Medicare had reached its magic 100th day and would no longer subsidize her care. When I got back to the States I had to secure a room for her in assisted living which you pay on your own as she was allegedly no longer eligible for skilled nursing.  Driving 300+ miles (one way) from Harrisburg to Erie nearly got me killed last March 16th when I had a collision with a truck on I-80 that landed me in ICU.  Hence, I found an assisted living center in Harrisburg, just ten miles from my rectory.

Unfortunately, my mom did not want to leave Erie where spent her entire life. She never lived anywhere else. She also buried three of her five children and then my dad just before their 40th anniversary. My sister died at the age of three days as an infant; my brother Michael died at the age of 26 from Muscular Dystrophy; my brother Joe was killed at the age of 33 by an underage drunk driver. My dad died six months after the accident after battling himself leukemia for four years.

Now there is only my youngest brother left alive who is in Erie and me who lives in Harrisburg.  My mom had six siblings and only two are left. One lives in Florida and the other no longer drives.

Despite her misgivings, I got her moved in and I visit almost if not every day. My two deacons and their wives and several parishioners and friends visit her often as well.

She had major back surgery in Feb. 2012 to treat her spinal stenosis and then she was diagnosed with aortic stenosis a year later. She has three blocked arteries and needs a new heart valve.

Last month she suffered a mini-stroke that landed her in the hospital for ten days and this past Monday she was admitted to the Emergency Room for anemia and required a transfusion of two pints of blood.

My mom has endured MANY crosses and I ask your prayers that Our Lady of Sorrows strengthen her with God's grace and give her some consolation. Due to her ill health, she was unable to attend my 25th anniversary Mass in Harrisburg, so I had another Mass of Thanksgiving a month later in the chapel at the Catholic nursing home she was residing in at the time.

Once she gets better, we are hoping for a heart procedure to replace her defective valve and give her some improved blood flow from the heart so as to improve her quality of life.

She has done so much for so many, whether it was the nearly half a century work she performed as a registered nurse (most of which were as head nurse of the ER and Trauma Center) or her unofficial work as sacristan and Girl-Friday for the cloistered discalced Carmelite Nuns in Erie. She took care of a disabled son and husband plagued by cancer.

I love her dearly and wish I could do more to help. Just being by her hospital bed gives her some comfort although the pain is often intense from all her ailments and health complications. ANY and ALL prayers are much appreciated.


Anonymous said...


Sorry, to hear about your mom. Please know she's very much in our prayers.

And you might buck her up by telling her there's something good in the Harrisburg water. My crusty friend Bob Charleton (whom you know) still plays tennis every week at 83. And my friend Joe Behe (whom you probably also know), has trained our altar boys for years at Mater Dei, genuflecting up and down with no problem. Joe walks 4 miles each day, rain, snow, or sun, and he'll be 88 on September 12th!

Terry Nelson said...

You are so blessed to have such a beautiful mother - you are a good son. I will be praying for your mom and you, every day from now on. May Our Lady of Sorrows give comfort and consolation to her.

Anonymous said...

Prayers said! I care for my own 81 year old mother who has had multiple complications and I truly understand your concerns - We should all pray for the strength to comfort and support our loved ones as they age - Take care of yourself as well. . .

Ellen said...

Been going through much of the same thing with my own mother, so I understand your concerns and will keep your mother in my prayers.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the Hospital of the University or Pennsylvania for your mother's heart problems. My mother recently had aortic valve replacement and bypass surgery there. She is high risk, having had three hip replacements, two surgeries for spinal stenosis, has diabetes and only 25% kidney function and is 84. She did very well and the hospital was amazing. Please feel free to email me if you want more info.

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