The Mom chronicles: Some summer laughs on the final journey for Queen of Dundalk

July 04, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

The old girl is finally breaking down on us.

I’m writing about my Mom (a.k.a. Liz, Lizzie, Eliza, Nan, Geezy) because I feel the need to share her final journey and attempt to have a sense of humor and some positive perspective about all of it – especially in light of the kind of 24-hour-a-day caregiving I was privileged enough to extend to my wife Jenn, keeping her safe and clean and alive over the past three years after two battles with leukemia.

Now that my wife has survived a pair of death-defying miracles and 155 nights in the hospital and is doing pretty darned well in the summer of 2017, we’ve now learned that my mom is preparing for her final journey on earth. She’ll be 98 on July 26th.

The doctors have told us the end is nearing for her because her lungs are beginning to fail. Her little body – now 66 pounds and all 4-feet-6 of her – is breaking down, a very natural human condition.

SHE’S ALMOST 98 YEARS OLD!!! Whew, what an incredible ride for the old girl from Abbeville, South Carolina!

But it’s been one helluva fight and I’m sure it will be right up until the final bell. She’s still feisty, fiery and funny when she delivers a line.

She doesn’t talk too much but when she does, chances are, it’ll be something comedic. And some of the time, she laughs at her own jokes and still humors me at my own twisted sense of humor. She says “yep” a lot. She demands cookies and beer whenever she feels like it. She gained a pound on our sofa over the past two weeks!

I ask her if she thinks my couch is a Holiday Inn and she says, “Yep!”

After two stints in the hospital with respiratory issues and two weeks in our home trying to recover, it’s become apparent that she needs professional care and after many back and forths with state government, county government, Johns Hopkins, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, I can report that we believe my mom will be well cared for during her final days. From assisted living to nursing homes to rehabs and hospice care, it’s been a few weeks of trying to get educated on how America takes care of its elderly. I had no idea what “palliative care” meant. It’s the first time in a long time that I had to look