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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Maybe I can get lucky! If you're "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. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.
For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

Maybe I can get lucky!

On July 9th, 2013 mom and I began the next phase of our journey and approximately our 14th trip since September of 2012.  On July 12th, 2013 mom was checked in for her third surgery in less than five

months.  The first two surgeries on her spine (consisting of a total of nearly 18 hours in the operating room) had proven to be successful.  While the financial burden had been significant and the sacrifices had been many, the reward of seeing my mother virtually pain free (or at least as “pain free” as she was likely to ever be) had been worth it.  This third surgery (the first on her knee in 25+ years) would hopefully give my mother back her ability to walk and the freedom to enjoy life again.

As I sat in the waiting room, I pondered the past year and a half of mothers’ life.  I thought about how quickly things had seemed to go from bad to worse.  One day my mother had driven to lunch and the

next she couldn't sit up or even lift her arms; it got worse from there.  You've heard the expression “One step forward; two steps back”?  Well, we seemed to take one step forward; a half dozen steps back and another step or two sideways.  With each hospital admission something different seemed to arise.  With each discharge there had been new challenges to face; new equipment to purchase; new safety measures to take in order to facilitate being able to keep mom at home.

In the past fifteen months we had installed safety rails at every exit and in the bathroom; remodeled the master bath, making it handicap accessible; built a pedestal for moms’ recliner; lowered closet bars and shelves; purchased an adjustable frame Tempurpedic bed; devised a portable step for mom to get in to the car; and a number of other things.  Of course we are not a family of great wealth so these were all DIY projects (when I say “do it yourself”, I mean mostly I would come up with the idea and my brother or my son would figure out how to do the hard work!).

Utility room door to garage

Bars along front of house

Paper box right outside front door...
The paper lady is a champ!

Bath tub gone and roll-in shower installed

Moms' chair was too low so
my brother built a pedestal.
We covered it with matching left over carpet.

Grab bars/safety rail all entrances

While I knew mom was thankful that she had been able to stay at home (with the exception of the many hospital visits), I was fairly certain that her hopes and dreams included much more than just spending her days with me.  She had friends she would like to be able to visit without having to ask if I had the time to take her.  She wanted to badly to be able to go to Church again.  She had many interests that had kept her engaged for a number of years and I was certain she would like to become involved in the community again; maybe even go on trip that didn't include any “procedures”.

The longer I sat in that waiting room, the farther my mind wandered.  I allowed myself some happy thoughts; some cherished memories.  I conjured up images of time spent with mom – vacations and special occasions in vivid color.

Surprise party 2011

Surprise party 2011

Mom & her sister Bernita
in Maui 2007?

Mom and I in Cabo San Lucas 2010

Maui 2007

Mom in Cabo 2010

Family trip to Cabo 2009

My daughters wedding April 2013

Mom with Braeden at surprise party 2011

Mom by the pool in Cabo 2010

Mom being serenaded at Hotel California in MX 2009

Mom and my sisters in Las Vegas (early 2000's??)

I was pulled back to the waiting room when I heard my name called.  As the surgeon sat in the chair beside me, he was smiling but his eyes were saying more.  “We've done what we can right now” the surgeon was saying, “She’ll be in the hospital a few days and then we will need to make a decision about rehab”.  He spent some time explaining to me that mom had rods in her thigh as well as her shin bones with an antibiotic spacer where the joint would hopefully someday be again, he estimated it would be three months before the new prosthesis could be put in.  Although there had been no further growth in moms cultures, due to the incredible amount of dead and/or damaged tissue, mom would be on IV antibiotics through a PIC line AGAIN, which could complicate our returning home.  The surgeon said he would request a consult for Acute Rehab at the hospital but that he could not guarantee it and even if they did accept her, they would likely discharge her before the course of antibiotics was complete.  “You need to think about where you want her to rehab if they don’t accept her”, the surgeon said softly before showing me back to see mom.

Mom was awake and eating ice chips when I was led in to the recovery room.  “The doctor showed me the picture of my knee”, mom announced.  “I really HAD to have this done”, mom said as she shoveled in the next spoonful of ice and smiled at me.  I had seen the picture; I knew it was only by the grace of God that she even had a leg.  Mom and I chatted for a few minutes before they were ready to take her to her room.  I was glad to see mom was feeling so good but I knew when the femoral block wore off and they took the pain pump away she probably wouldn't feel near so good.

I knew it was important for both of us to get some sleep while we could so as soon as I had made sure she was comfortable and chatted with the nurse for a few minutes I slipped out of the room and headed for the elevator.  I had already pushed the button and was waiting when I decided to take a detour before returning to the hotel………

Maybe I could get lucky!
Yeah, right!

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