Welcome to OUR Community!
June 7, 2020

Uh oh! My prayer was answered.

Uh oh! My prayer was answered.

Shocked by the doctor's advice of emergency brain surgery for her mother (Zetty), J Smiles asks God for a sign. With the prayer answered, she is consumed with saving her mother's life. The events that unfold make it obvious that both of their lives will never be the same. 

J Smiles:

I got what I asked for, I asked for a sign and have mercy did I get a sign? I wake up very early in the morning. The room is dark..its dark outside. I wake up to a stench.. an odor. My mom and I are in a room in a king sized bed. And there's a small stench but enough for me to want to know what's going on. And I say Mama, Mama, Mama. You okay? What's going on? She says Jaygee.. Mama's okay baby. Don't be worried. Don't be worried about anything Jaygee. Everything is okay. Mom is going to be okay. I just have to have to get my strength so I can get up. I didn't know what that meant. Get my strength so I can get up or turn the light on. My mother was laying in a substantial puddle of feces and urine. ParentingUp! Caregiving Adventures with Comedian JSmiles is the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my mama. For almost a decade, I've been chipping away at the unknown, advocating for her and pushing Alzheimer's Awareness on anyone and anything with a heartbeat. Caregiver newbies, OG's, Village members trying to just prop up a caregiver. You are in the right place. Hi, this is Zetty..I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Today's episode. Uh Oh, My Prayer Was Answered. It was the circle of the feces and urine. It was wider than her hips and my mom is from the deep south. So she got a BA donk donk you talkin some stuff to be wider than her hips..but it was and it probably...the circular portion was probably up to the middle of her back and down below her knee and wider than her hips. And I know this because I turned the light on and I moved the couch.. not the couch, I moved the covers back, turn the light on, and I moved the covers back. I say, Oh, mama, Come on, baby. We got to get up. We got to get up and get you cleaned up, y'all. She couldn't move. She was talking to me. And she was making sense. And she could blink and things like that. And when I went to grab her hand, she could squeeze my hand and I say, Come on, mommy. You gotta stand up. She said, okay, Jaygee. Okay, baby, just give me just give mama a second Jaygee just give mom a second. Let's just say giving her a second did not help. Ultimately, I slide the fitted sheet off of the mattress, and I use pillows from the couch. Put those on the floor. floor with towels on top of the pillows that I basically create a slip and slide. I create a slip-n-slide for my mama and I slide my mama off the bed onto the pillows on the floor. And then we sit down there for about an hour. I'm trying to teach her how to use her legs. In this moment, I need you to understand my mother...her legs are inoperative, her arms are inoperative. To me, her limbs are no longer useful. She seems paralyzed. She's talking, but sh can't move nothing. After abou an hour or so I am able to ge her to bend her knee but not o instruction. I'm bending he knee physically with my hand an I slide a chair over so I hav her standing on her knee bending on her knees like she' in church praying and I use that my mother's my mothe stands on nothing, if it's no on her faith. My Mother believe in God first, Martin Luther Kin second...And then the rest o us. Martin Luther King, Jr Second and then the rest of us So my mom is at this point maybe about two hours hav passed and I have balled up al of the cover and just placed i on the floor and I have a rob on her now and she is kneelin with her elbows on the seat o the chair from the desk in th hotel room, and I'm just tryin to figure out okay, and so I go her out the bed. I got he leaned over on the seat huh. now whats next now? So then prop her knee up and I'm tryin to basically get her to stan and I'm able to manage her bod weight, and I literally lik proper knee up and I put my foo on her foot to stop the foo from sliding out from underneat her knee. And I'm able to d that with both of her knees an eventually Spin her around an get her to sit in the chair. No mind you.. she's not clean a all, but she at least is sittin in the chair. By this time he arms are starting to get som mobility. She is so thankful y'all. She is so grateful an she's apologized. It broke m heart to hear her apologizing t me. She's apologizing that have to do all of this for her And she's so sorry about th mess she made. And that if would just give her a moment she would clean up everything She didn't want me to have t clean up anything. And this ha never happened before. Even whe we were home in Montgomery. Yes we had the moment of th urinating down her leg. But tha was the only moment o incontinence that we had. I wak up to her in this hotel room i LA. She's aware that she ha that her bowels and her bladde have released but she can't mov her body. So now we flippe right? Before she didn't kno she was going but her body coul move and now she does know tha she's eliminated but she can' move her body. It was awful After about an hour, 45 minutes two hours in a chair, I'm abl to get her up and we have a bea hug. I'm bear hug walking he with my knees. I'm standin behind her and my knees are kin of behind her knees. And I'm. as I walk, I'm pushing her knee And I get in the shower. And my mother and I are both in the forward shower, and I'm just holding her and I started crying. I'm holding my mom in the shower and I'm cleaning her as best I can while making sure that I'm helping her stand strong. And she notices I'm crying. I'm trying to.. y'all I'm thinking I'm playing it off because my face is all under the shower water. I can remember when I was little I loved taking showers with my mom, but this was a time where I was like I don't want to be taking a shower. I don't want you to need me to be in the shower with you. I don't know what is happening daddy just died. What is going on? So we take the shower and then I get on the toilet and while she's on the toilet I go and call the doctor. I said Doctor Choo. Guess what? Guess what Doc? I got the sign. Bay bay did I get sign? Listen, Yawl better be careful what you pray for. I asked for a sign and let me tell you that every thing holy in this world converged on give me that sign. I called that doctor. I said not only do I want to have this brain surgery for my mama out here in California, I want to bring her to the hospital today. Yes, sir. I realized that it's still the weekend. And I'm not even asking that you come in to do the operation before Monday. Monday is fine with me. But because of what just happened, I don't trust her to be in this hotel room with just me. I need her to be in the hospital hooked up to some machines with some people who know how to handle it. should things go awry. So, got my mom cleaned up and we went to the hospital. She said Jaygee why are we here, baby? What are we doing here? And I said, Oh, well they just have a few tests they want.. they gotta.. we got to run a few tests. We just got to run a few tests, baby. Okay? When mom got out of surgery, I cried. I was so happy that she was alive that for a few minutes, the road ahead did not matter. She made it out of brain surgery. She was extremely confused. She went into the surgery knowing exactly where we were. The city, the hospital... She knew my name. She came out of the surgery..not talking. Unable to answer simple questions, unable to follow simple commands. So I was nervous. Did this surgery work? Seems like she knows less now than she did when she went in now how is worse better? But the surgical team assured me that the surgery had gone well, and that what I was witnessing was just the swelling of her brain and how everything just had to get used to having this foreign device in it. And the device was so small, yawl it's like the size of a dime. But a device the size of a dime, saved my mother's life. My mother had to learn how to do basic things all over again. She had to learn how to walk, she had to learn how to speak. She had to learn how to write with a pen, p-e-n pen, not a pin p-i-n pen. It's a shout out to my grandmother. Everything was tough. It was tough watching her struggle. She didn't look like herself. She was pale. My mother already didn't have a lot of color to her. So she looked porcelain and it wasn't pleasant to see. And then she had to go through a pretty extensive rehab. The inpatient rehab was spectacular and crazy. I feel like they were training her for the Olympics. You know, it was like breakfast at 8am. And then physical therapy from 9 to 11, and then lunch, and then occupational therapy from 1 to 3, and then dinner, and then somebody else's therapy, from 5 to 7, like, my baby was sweating often.. when she came back from therapy. A couple times, they had to come get me to make me come to the therapy room because technically, I wasn't supposed to be in the therapeutic rooms because I'm not a patient. But I told them if you'd really want her to do something, you might want to have Jaygee around. A couple times, they absolutely had to come up to the room and asked me to come down to get her to pay attention or focus or follow the commands. It was my pleasure. I ain't have nothing else to do. My Mama did not spend night in that hospital, not one night by herself. Not one night. I would go back to the hotel and shower and change clothes while she was in therapy. The hotel was literally just to keep my clothes and a place for me to shower. There was no way my mother was staying at a hospital without an advocate to speak for her. See, I'm a part of the M.D. Smiley's. That's my mama's daddy. I call him granddaddy. He called me Jeh. J-e-h. I grew up under a fast rule of family members don't spend the night in hospital by theymsleves. Because if you.. first of all, if you in the hospital, you're sick. You're unable to care for yourself, otherwise you would be at home. My family believes that nobody spends a night alone at the hospital, no matter what you're in the hospital for. But if you can't find a button to call the nurse or whatever, you have to go to the bathroom and they're taking too long to get to you or what if you can't communicate what your pain is. We stay in hospital with our. But there were nights when my crew showed up and I slept in the bed at the hotel. Now mind you it might have taken me about two hours to fall asleep because I was so uncomfortable not being in the hospital with my mom. But from the moment it was clear that my mom had to have the surgery, I called four people. Monica Cost. Christine Beatty. Ceeon Smith, Cheryl French Cheryl French. I call her Aunt Cheryl. She and my mom..best friends since four years old. The other three are a part of my "best crew girlfriends circle". Monica is in Boston, Christine was in Atlanta. Ceeon was in Phoenix. Aunt Cheryl was in Oakland and don't you know for the entire three months that I was there, they rotated come in in one week shifts to make sure I wasn't falling apart. To make sure I was eating. It takes one of them Tell it like, Oh, we weren't worried about Zetty. That's what I call my mama. We weren't worried about Zetty. We were clear that Zetty would be fine cause you were going to wheel her through it. We were worried about you, who's looking after you? Are you taking your medicine? Are you eating? Are you resting? How are you managing all the stuff that's happening back on the East Coast. You don't make friends like that on social media. As it turns out, I met them all at very different stages of life. They are all members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and they all went to an HBCU undergrad, and you could put it where you want to. Those are facts. You can't dispute the facts. And there's another one... that even though she did not come to Los Angeles, she was critical in Christine being able to come.. And that's Janel Bowles, also, a Delta who also went to an HBCU undergrad. At the time, Christine had young children who still needed help doing homework, getting dressed, getting their hair done, getting dropped off and picked up from school. And I need you to understand Janel doesn't like children. She has several God kids and she loves them with all her being. She doesn't like kids, though. She really likes dogs, and she likes those. But anyway, she was so down for me and supporting me that as soon as she knew of it, she said, my job on this team on Team Zetty is to keep Christine's kids so that Christine can go to LA and support Jay. Everybody just slid right into their role as if we had practiced this before. And because they were there, I had hope because I didn't feel alone. And it matters when you don't feel alone. I was fighting and protecting my mother and they were holding me up and supporting me unconditionally. All five of these women still stand with me to this day helping me manage life and care for my mom. Did I say five is my favorite number? Oh yeah. And then after the inpatient rehab, we had outpatient rehab. But guess what, we had to still have outpatient rehab in LA. I was in LA for two and a half or three months. I was out there with three days worth of clothes yawl. Lemmetell ya.. Target came up on ya girl. Target came up on ya girl. Now mind you I gotta tell yawl this.. My mama's firm was still running. My daddy's law practice was still running. And I was opening Las Vegas's first sports memorabilia experience. All of that was happening while I was in LA. Because they knew it was my dad. First of all my dad wasn't supposed to die. So we can start there. All right. My dad and I were openinig this business in Vegas. Finally showcasing our collection. My dad had the world's largest private-owned sports collection. We get into all that in another episode but the crazy thing before my dad died, I was moving to Vegas for like at least a year or two. And I was going to be there on the ground helping to get this business off the floor. What? Listen, listen, listen. The sports collection had all the rarest stuff.. Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Joe Montana. Brett Farve..whatever...Emmitt Smith. You name it, we had it. And my deal in Vegas with the business, the business name was score. was going to be to hobnob with the City Council with all of the executives in the hotels with the celebrities, the performers, the athletes, the business owners, the restaurant tours. Are you kidding me? It was about to be on. It was a interactive, fancy, shiny sports museum exhibit with all of the major sports in the United States as well as collegiates like So professional and collegiate sports. It was really cool. It was inside the lobby of Luxor Hotel. Fantastic. And we were the first African Americans to have equity ownership in something on the Las Vegas Strip. So my dad was super proud of that. And so when he died, first thing was I had to make a decision. Do I still want to open it? Do I still want to maintain that business relationship? Or should I just cut our losses and ..Move, move on? Well, initially when it was time to make the decision, my mama was okay. So you know, this was January, February, you know, early March, I'm telling all of our partners in Las Vegas. Hey, we still in there, we're gonna make it happen. Now the grand opening is supposed to be in September. This is going down with my mama in mid summer in LA. And so from the hospital, Im managing my father's estate, his law practice, my mom's CPA firm, and doing my part to assist in the grand opening of the...Well preparing for the business thats Going to open in Las Vegas. And my mama just had brain surgery and they're saying once she heals from the brain surgery, then we can do the PET scan to determine if she has Alzheimer's because at that time PET scan machine was really new. And Emory had one in Atlanta before they had one and Cedar Sinai but the team at Cedar Sinai knew the team in Atlanta and they were going to arrange for my mom to have that test done. One of the most stressful things which technically didn't have anything to do with my mother's healing was getting all of the overnight documents, packages, checks, files, that I needed to handle and sign back to the east coast. Did you know that if you try to overnight something to the east coast from the west coast, you got to get to like FedEx and UPS by like 1pm..Who in the hell is ever ready to send a overnight package at 1 PM? Hell mama is just now getting out of the first morning's worth of therapy, and I gotta get.... anyway. You know what else wa crazy? It took like three week for me to remember that my ca was parked at the airpor parking lot in Montgomery. An so I'm paying for parking fo somewhere I aint even bout t return to like maybe never. shipped my keys overnight to m cousin Joy with a note. Pleas don't ask me any questions. love you love you love you. Her are my keys. Take my car to you house. This is the spot wher it's parked at the airport. No if you ever been to the airpor it's like Mayberry airport. An so you pretty much you can se all the cars if you just stan on your tippy toe. But explained to him where my ca was like, Hey, take it to you house and keep it there till yo hear from me. And just lik that, guess what he did? What asked. Okay, but seriousl though, why if my mama is stuc in the hospital recovering fro brain surgery for two and a hal months, why come they got m paying parking? Are you kiddin me? All this money I'm payin for the CO pays and insuranc and the out of pocket. Y'al can't spot me parking.. Come on But Dr. Chu and Dr. Black di Fantastic. Fantastic, fantasti work. They gave me th understanding of what would nee to happen once we get back home They were very clear to tell m sweetheart, hey, so we don' have any cure or treatment fo Alzheimer's. Yeah, we were abl to put this shunt in for th mph, but we can't give her bac whatever she lost with the mp but we can settle it and we ca stop it from moving forward. Bu with the Alzheimer's, we go nothing for your baby. We coul just tell you that she has it I'm sorry. What? What are yo talking about? Anyway, we g through all of mom's necessar treatments in Los Angeles. move hotels because listen. that boutique hotel..First o all, who is paying boutiqu prices for three months? I ain got no budget like that. So moved to a live at home liv extended stay kind of thing Thankfully the hotel had connection with the hospital s we were able to get a little bi of a discount there which wa grateful. So there was a yo know, like a microwave and small fridge, things like tha that could help me eat an shower in the same place. Mo gets ready to leave th hospital. And you know, we leav the hospital but we just mov in, I just get mama to th hotel, and then we're there fo another few weeks. And the she's been released fully. It' time for her to just go back t our house and recover.. no where's our house? and where' recover? and who's supposed t help me with this? When rhe gave me a discharge papers fro the hospital. I was told yo need to get home health care o you need to determine if yo want to put your mom into facility. She's too advanced fo assisted living, she will nee someone doing more than that she shouldn't cook for herself She shouldn't be using a stov or fire or she's definitel shouldn't live alone. Sh shouldn't be driving, she shoul not handle any more of he financial affairs. You shoul take over all of that. Now again, here's a little bit o grace, a little bit of th universe looking out for me When my dad died back i January, my mom and I was s torn apart and pissed off tha we couldn't find all his lega documentation on who was bot get what, When?Why? How? an where? Meaning my dad, the wel known, accomplished lawyer, w couldn't find the will yawl.. W could not find the will.. Jesu be a fence. We could not fin the will. I saw the will when was at Howard. But my mom and couldn't put our hands on it And now that I knew what my mo was going through mentally bless her heart, I'm sure sehe' the one who had the will but ha it somewhere hidden so well nobody could find it bu her...but because we couldn' locate his will, when it wa time to handle his estat affairs, I pressed my mom tha we each make wills, and that w get powers of attorney. And thi was in January, like I don' even know if my dad's funeral i happened when I like hey, we me, me and you we bout to ge these wills right now And good thing we did, because pretty much..I had to take over all of my mother's affairs and anything that she had been responsible for. But once Previously she had already signed stuff over and I was like well, where do you find home healthcare people? What does that mean? They said well, you know, theres agencies.. There should be agencies in your your hometown. I was like yeah but I don't..what do you call these agencies? home health aide? What What is? So I literally, I'm on my cell phone. I'm on Google. And I'm thinking what's my Google Search? Home health agent..home health care agents..home home agency...healthcare Agency care agency home home what? I find a number. The name of the agency was Home instead. Im a story-a-Holic. The story is what gets me that's why I like watching March Madness..why I like documentary. For me its not what you did it was the motivation that made you do it. Home instead not only was it ranked very well but their About Us resonated with me..So I gave em a buzz. I never shall forget my mom was taking a nap. She was unaware of anything that was happening. She looks so pitiful too. She looks so pitiful now. Her spirit was great but her body had been through it. Her color was ashing and nails not done hair not fly. That's stuff doesnt really matter though. It was tough to even see her that way. So now it's time for us to go home and I'm trying to figure out where is home gone be? Universe smile down on me. Home Instead they didn't even have a franchise in Montgomery. So I was like, well, Montgomery doesn't have these Emory doctors and they don't have this Home Instead. So we bout to stay in Atlanta. I called Home Instead, I told em what my situation was and I needed some help. They said, Well, how much help do you need? And what kind of help do you need? I'm like, What are you saying, I need help. H-E-L-P help. I don't know what kind of help I need. I don't even know what just happened. So they said they would send someone out to the house to interview me and make an assessment of my mama. On the flight back from LA to Atlanta is when I realized I had a new life. Everything that I previously planned, or worked for, or hoped for or was engaged in was over. Then let me tell yawl something that just crushed me to the core. While I was in LA, literally fighting for my mother's life and watching her do the same, I got word that the rumor back home was we had just skipped town. We were just not returning calls and not taking care of business and didn't tell anybody where we were and when we were coming back and Yvette just won't answer any of my calls. Yvette is my mother's name. That hurt.. After 60 something years of my mom being dependable, trustworthy, giver, community leader, a pillar in the family, stand out progressive mind in the business world. And I put in a couple full decades you know what I'm saying? Of, good working, goodwill ,around the whole world and you trying to tell me that within a few weeks, within a month, you can trash our name that fast..hurt. So on a four and a half, five hour flight, I went from being- a tremendously independent, very project-oriented, multicultural existence to Im bout to care for my mom in Atlanta. It wasn't even my goal. Yo, Im not trying to live in the United States. I was doing this whole Africa, Europe, United States, kinda trifecta-like life, but then my mom needed me and none of that mattered anymore. I had to snuggle up to it. Had to snuggle up to the idea that Mama was first, and second and third. Now I also gotta let you know that it wasn't hard to make the decision. It was painful that she needed me in that way. But it wasn't hard to make the decision because the only thing my mother ever asked me my entire life.. she never asked me to give her grandkids she never asked that I move home and help with her business or help with anything even vote a certain way. My mom didn't even tell me who to vote for. She didn't tell me what kind of clothes to wear. She didn't tell if my hair had to be long or short. She didn't tell me where to work or whether I should be with a corporation or the government government job or whether I should be an entrepreneur. She let me find all that myself. One thing she asked of me from the time I was probably a preteen 11/12 something like that. Jay if your daddy dies before me and I'm unable to take care of myself, you Keep me with you hear me? Do you hear me Jay..JayGee? Do you hear me? You keep me with you and if they telling you I lost my mind and I don't know its you, don't believe them. Don't believe them. I will always know you. Do whatever it takes to keep me with you. I know you like to live all abroad baby and live in another country. If you are in Italy, following your dreams to invent products, If we live in a closet, just keep me with you. Do you hear me? I want to be where ever you are. And every time a family member died or someone close to us died, you know an elderly person like a parent or an uncle or Auntie she will pull me to the side andsay you remember what I told you? Remember Jaygee, remember when mama said? Yes, keep you with me. Even if we in a closet. So Atlanta won. With the flick of a light switch. Everything in life was different.

The Snuggle Up:

last will and testament. Get one. Know where it is. Let somebody else know where it is. Advanced directive.. It allows you to make medical decisions, throw in a general durable power of attorney. Another snuggle up- medical records, MRIs, CAT scans, bloodwork, x rays, you name it, have your own copy. You don't want to be in an emergency situation, having to wait. That's it for now. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe for continuous caregiving tips, tricks, trends, and truth. Pretty Pretty please with sugar on top, share and review it too. I'm a comedian, Alzheimers is heavy, but we aint gotta be.