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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My heart skipped a beat. For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

My heart skipped a beat

I had just finished scheduling moms back surgery as well as her appointment for pre-procedure evaluation.  I had hoped they would be able to schedule it sooner, but I suppose another six weeks wouldn't make that much difference.  As I was pondering what difference that 6 weeks might make, the phone rang.  "We've had a cancellation", the person who took care of scheduling surgery caught me off guard, "It might be too soon for you though".  My heart skipped a beat.
"You've had a cancellation?", I was repeating what was said so mom could hear me.  Mom was staring at me with wide eyed anticipation.  "How soon is too soon?", I asked with a nervous laugh.

I had been hoping they could get mom in sooner, but I didn't know if either one of us were prepared to leave in less than a week.  The cancellation was on the 15th of January. Mom shook her head no. I really couldn't tell you if I was feeling relief at her response, or despair.

"I think the 21st of February is going to get here before we know it", mom said as I hung up the phone.  "We have a lot to do before then as it is", she continued, "besides, maybe something will happen and I won't even need the surgery".  I very much doubted that, by some miracle, she was going to suddenly be out of pain.  However, I knew she was right about having a lot to do before we could leave.

In fact, there was so much to do and mom needed so much care, the first of February arrived very quickly.  It was now less than three weeks before we would leave.  I couldn't believe I had actually been looking forward to my mother having this major spine surgery.  Now that I really didn't have time to panic, I panicked!  I started questioning mom about all sorts of things.

Was she sure she wanted to go ahead with this?  She was.  Had she considered what would happen if the pain was not relieved from the surgery?  She had (although, she didn't tell me what her consideration had been).  I asked mom to make lists of people to call with status updates after the surgery.  I just couldn't seem to quit.  "Have you made a list of passwords?", I was afraid I would need to get in to her accounts and wouldn't be able to remember them.  "What bills do I need to worry about?", I knew she would have them all paid up before we left.  "When are your HOA dues suppose to be paid?", now I was just looking for things to worry about.  I don't know why, I had enough to worry about.

Mom humored me.  She made lists and paid bills before it was time to go.  As she was addressing envelopes she looked at me and said, "I am planning on living through this, you know".  I had needed to hear her say that.  I think, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was afraid mom figured the surgery would kill her and that would definitely eliminate the pain.  I had thought maybe she hoped she wouldn't live, I knew her pain was that bad.

"Well, I certainly hope that's your plan", I hoped she hadn't read my mind.  I hoped she didn't know that I was terrified that this surgery was going to do more damage to her already precarious health.  I didn't want her to know I had any doubts.  I needed to shake the uneasy feeling I had in my gut.  Mom needed a soldier, not a deserter!  Luckily, mom had a bunch of soldiers.

By February 20th, 2013, seven of her soldiers had made the five hour trip to be by her side.  Most of us got together that evening to enjoy moms Last Supper, mom seemed to get a kick out of saying that.  I laughed when she said it, but it scared me.  Did she really think it was her last supper?  Did she have a feeling about it?  I tried to smile, "I hope not".  I thought I might be sick.

There was still 10 hours left before she had to check in.  It wasn't too late to change her mind.  We could just pack up and head back home.  It wasn't so bad living on morphine, was it?  I know she always complained that her head felt "foggy", but she would get use to it, wouldn't she?  I lay in bed wide awake for hours that night, I'm not sure I ever actually slept at all.  I'm pretty sure mom didn't either.

I can't ever sleep before a big event.  Can you?


Anonymous said...

No I can't sleep before any major event. :-)

Kirsten A. Womack said...

Surgery comes with so many mixed emotions and really causes you to think about your life and how you have lived it. No matter how major or minor the surgery is, it can be scary. Having time to prepare for it helps but it still leads to sleepless nights. No... I usually cannot sleep before a big event.

Bethany Dickey said...

My grandfather just went into an Alzheimer's nursing home and it's been hard watching my mom deal with her own emotions as well as her mother's! This post is great.

healthcare hostages said...

I am so sorry about your grandfather. I am sure your mother is beside is really a scary place! Some of my other posts do (or will) give some examples of some of the problems my own mother faced.

Thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed the post and hope you will return for "the rest of the story"!

Have a blessed day!

healthcare hostages said...

Yes, Kirsten there are many emotions that play in to the decision of any surgery, it does cause us to reflect.

There have been many sleepless nights in our house!

Thank you for reading and responding to my post!

Have a great day!

healthcare hostages said...

Don't you hate that?