Highly Unlikely"Highly unlikely". That would have been my response if anybody would have asked me what the chances were that my mother would ever have back surgery. "Highly unlikely" would have been my answer less than two weeks ago.
It was ironic really. "Highly unlikely" had become a phrase that would provoke one of two responses from me, depending on the context and/or deliverer.
It had been "highly unlikely" moms pain had been caused by anything other than muscle spasms or her rheumatoid, until they diagnosed a compression fracture.
They needed to run some tests, but it would be "highly unlikely" they would find anything to prevent the kyphoplasty procedure they assured us should "provide pretty quick relief" from her back pain. They did find something to stop the procedure, a staph infection.
"Somethings wrong with her knee", I said over and over again. It was "highly unlikely" the problem with her knee was anything other than her severe RA, even though it was an artificial joint. The knee was infected with staph.
If it was highly unlikely, mom proved them wrong.
"What about referring her to someone who specialized in the spine?", I asked for referrals constantly. My requests were dismissed again and again because it would be "highly unlikely" they would be able to help. I was told an Orthopaedic spine specialist would just want to do surgery and it was "highly unlikely" mom could survive a major surgery.
Mom was 76 years old and up until two weeks ago she was absolutely opposed to back surgery. Now we were waiting for a call from the spine clinic to schedule an eight hour surgery, requiring two surgeons. I couldn't believe mom had agreed so readily.
Had the increased pain changed her mind? Had she considered how "highly unlikely" it would be for her to live through this surgery?
"I felt so comfortable with her", mom later told me.
It had taken us nearly six months to get a referral. We spent another four months trying to coordinate an appointment. Each way we drove five hours to get to the clinic.
Yet, it took less than an hour for mom to decide she could trust this woman with her life.
That would be highly unlikely, don't you think?