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Mom is doing really great … now

By Staff | Dec 2, 2018

As you may have noticed in last week’s Faribault County Register, my mother, Natalie Hunt, passed away on Thanksgiving Day evening at UHD Hospital here in Blue Earth.

Her full obituary is in this week’s edition of the Register. In case you wish to read it.

However, you may have a few questions after reading her obituary.

Questions such as why was she living here in Blue Earth.

I wrote in this column space a while back how my mother moved here four and a half years ago, and started living in Southview Estates, in a senior living apartment at St. Luke’s.

She knew she was having a difficult time doing daily chores and needed help, so I moved her here so my wife, Pam, and I, could tend to her needs. That included shopping for her, doing laundry, taking care of her finances, etc.

After a year or so, she moved into a Friendship Court assisted living apartment, because she needed some more assistance than could be provided at Southview, or by us.

From there it was into the actual nursing home portion of St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center. And then, eventually, she moved into the Memory Care Unit at St. Luke’s, known as Moonlight Lane.

I have written about her progression through the St. Luke’s campus before.

But, I have to once again make a comment about St. Luke’s and the fantastic care she received there. And thank the wonderful, caring staff who looked after her. I could tell that for most of them, this was way more than just a job.

Several were quite fond of my mother. I understand that. She was a very nice person and pretty easy to get along with.

We are extremely lucky to have a place like St. Luke’s in our community. And yes, we are blessed to have several other senior living and assisted living facilities in other communities throughout Faribault County, as well.

My mom got pneumonia and had to go into UHD Hospital on Monday of Thanksgiving week. With her diminished lung capacity due to COPD, that is a bad thing to happen.

Add in a little heart issue and some kidney failure and pneumonia is a hard thing to recover from.

I again can’t say enough about Dr. Bob Karp and the staff at UHD. What wonderful caring people they all are. It was like they really knew Natalie. Well, actually one of the nurses did, as she also worked at St. Luke’s.

You can see from the obituary that my mother lived in a lot of different locations during her lifetime. She also traveled quite a bit, to every state in the union a couple of times, and to a lot of foreign countries, including Russia and China at a time when I didn’t think that was even possible.

She was also a very strong conservative Lutheran and an even more conservative Republican.

Truthfully, she loved politics, and worked on several campaigns. Not just Sen. Dave Durenberger, but also some presidential candidates, including Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who sent her a nice thank you note that sure looks like he wrote it himself.

She often told me that she had had a full and meaningful life. And certainly an interesting one at that.

I wrote before in this space about her battle with dementia, brought on by having too many TIAs (little mini-strokes).

That is what happened to her four years ago when she suddenly couldn’t remember things like how to balance her checkbook or where she was going in her car.

It is why she came to Blue Earth, and eventually ended up in Moonlight Lane. It was hard at first to see this once extremely smart, former successful business woman trying to remember things, including how to talk. But I finally came to understand that it is just something that happens to a lot of people and you have to accept it.

You just can’t be sad about it and mourn for the person they once were. You have to still enjoy them as they are.

So, a special big thank you to the dedicated staff at Moonlight, and a big thanks to John Engesser for his dedication of coming up there nearly every night and playing piano and singing for the Moonlight residents (and those of us who came to see our family members).

I think Moonlight’s motto could be the one from the old TV show M.A.S.H. It was “Best Care Anywhere.”

My last column about Natalie was titled “So How is Mom Doing?” and I answered, “Just fine, all things considered.”

The answer has changed a bit. Now I say she is doing great, really great. Her dementia is gone, she is at peace, and she is reunited with her terrific husband Chuck and her beloved son Tim.

I don’t think she could be doing any better than that.