Student learns about selfless love

Caring for immobilized elder is challenging


Isaac Flores

My mother takes care of my grandmother.

Isaac Flores, Staff Reporter

I have always looked up to my mother, Guadalupe as an inspirational, strong, and hard-working person. Yet this past year, she has exceeded her strength to a whole other level. I can very confidently say that she is the strongest woman I have ever come to know.

My Grandmother Consuelo has diabetes and plenty of other underlying health conditions. Throughout the past decade, she has had multiple strokes and visits to the hospital for not properly taking care of her health. But last year around late October, she suffered an extremely strong stroke, which landed her in the hospital for almost a month. Consuelo fell into a short coma and had to get help breathing by a ventilator for about two weeks. She also needed a feeding tube, which she still uses as of today, since the ventilator was taking up all the space in her esophagus. She really seemed to have no hope.

About a week into the hospital, the nurse at Stroke Center at Mercy Medical Center Merced informed us, “Los doctores creen que nomas va aguantar unos pocos días más, por el estado en el que está.” Translation; “Doctors believe she’s only got few more days to live, due to the state she’s in.”

I could still remember those exact words when the nurse came into the waiting room, and told us that the doctor had given her days to live. Gracefully my grandmother was able to overcome the odds. Around late November, they had released her from the hospital, and we brought her into our home. Since half of her body is now paralyzed, she lays on her bed for most of the day, only getting out of the bed to sit up for short periods of time.

My mother Guadalupe explained, “Cuidando a la abuela es como un trabajo en sí mismo, desde q me despierto tengo que andar volteando cada hora a hora y media, darle de comer cada cuatro horas, cambiarla de pañal cuando se ocupe, lavarle la boca, bañarla, y también darle sus medicamentos.” Translation: “Taking care of Grandma is like a job in itself, since I wake up I have to go around every hour and a half, feed her every four hours, change her diaper, wash her mouth, bathe her, and also give her medications.”

My mother and I have built a schedule that allows us to work around school and work, while still taking care of my grandmother. My mother wakes up at eight in the morning, feeds my Grandmother, changes her diaper and gives her medications, and then gets ready to go to work at 10:00 a.m. Since we own our business, it allows us to be very flexible with our own hours. From 10:00 a.m. till the time I get off of school, my mom stays at the shop, while my sister, my father, and I all take care of grandmother, which involves flipping her, sitting her down, and feeding her.

Once school ends in the afternoon, I head over to the store so my mother could return home to continue the care. Depending on what day it is, or if I have plenty of homework, I’ll either stay till closing, have my mother come back for a while so I could finish my homework or any other errands, or stay only a couple hours until an employee comes in at 5. At night is when I feel like it is the toughest time for my mother; she has to wake up every hour and a half to two hours to flip my Grandmother or change her diaper. I have tried plenty of times to convince her to let me take a couple of nights over for her, but that is the one thing she does not let me do.

When asking my mother if this was stressful for her she responded, “ Claro que sí, pero intento no dejar que me supere el estrés y las preocupaciones… Especialmente cuando Nomas una de mis hermanas me ayuda con ella.” Translation; “Of course, but I try not to let my stress and worries get to me… Especially when Nomas one of my sisters helps me with her.”

At times it is stressful for me, so there is no doubt in my mind that my mother was coping with stress as well. But as my mom said, I also try to not let it get to me. My mother has 14 siblings, with only one of them helping us by taking my grandma for the weekend every two weeks.

The time spent with my Grandmother is a blessing, and with each day, I watch with amazement the continued perseverance of my mother.