Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Wow. It's been some time. I open this up every day with an intention of writing in it and then just stop. Alot has happened this month and I would like to talk about one of the major things. This month my mother went in the hospital. She went in to the ER on a Wednesday to get a shot for her neck since she has been having some problems with it. After she received the shot she went home and then that Friday, early in the am, she woke up and couldn't move her entire right side. Her partner brought her to the ER in Everett to be looked at. Turns out her neck was worse than expected and she had ruptured two of her discs. She was lookin at either a very long year or so of rehab and drugs or surgery to fix it. My mother has had a tough past when it comes to painkillers and she told the doctors she would not let those rule her life again and opted for surgery. She was told she would have the surgery Monday morning and be out hopefully that Wednesday in time for Thanksgiving. I went and visited with her on Sunday after church to talk and keep her company. She started to get scared as my brother and I started to leave. She began to tell us about her living will and what she was planning on giving us. Mind you this surgery is major and painful but not necessarily life threatening. She was scared and it was starting to show. She had a talk with us about what to do and what she wants in the case of life support or pulling the plug. That conversation was something we tried to make light of but it hits down in your heart somewhere. Somewhere dark and deep. I've had a rough relationship with my mother and expect us to still have our spats ahead of us, but this was hard. This was the first time I remember my mom being in the hospital for something major that could possibly paralyze her or make her brain dead- Your neck has everything running thru it that controls your heart and brain. It's a lot to navigate thru as a doctor I would imagine. Anyways, as she is telling me her wishes all I could do was sit there and think about how many times when I was younger I would wish for her to just go away? How many times was I so upset with her that I would beg and beg for her to not be my mother anymore? What if they came true during this surgery? What kind of guilt would I carry with me for the rest of my life? How could I have ever thought such things about my mother? Austin and I tried to make her laugh and did our best to tell her she was being silly and it would all turn out just fine. And it did. The surgery went well. They had to go thru the front of her neck and take out one of the discs and then place cadaver bones in her neck to help with mobility. My mom was so thoughtful of her guests that she put make up on before surgery that way we would have a pretty face to talk to when she got out. That's my mom for ya. And the doctor was kind enough to put her scar on a natural crease in her neck so it wouldn't be too visible. Cory and I went and saw her Monday after she was out of surgery. It was tough. She could barely talk because, well because she just had her throat sliced open! But she could kind of communicate and was trying to tell us stories about the girls (her grand babies/my nieces) but she just kept repeating herself. She couldn't drink water and we had to let her suck on this little piece of water soaked sponge. It was heartbreaking. She kept wanting me to put chap stick on her. And I did. She showed me her "sexy thigh highs" and was so proud of them. (Sexy thigh highs are really just the nylons the doc makes you wear to help with circulation I think. I know they were issued by the hospital but cute none the less!) She just seemed so helpless. It all reminded me so much of when my Great Grandma Cunningham was in the hospital. She was dieing. She couldn't speak anymore. We had to peel the chapped layers off of her lips. I remember her reaching up and grunting and we all thought she was reaching to the heavens and it was really because she was in pain. Her socks were too tight and cutting off circulation to her feet. It was heart wrenching and way too much for a child my age to take in. It stays with me to this day. And that was all I could think of as I was watching my mom lay there. She looks so much like her grandma. With neck surgery you can't really move your body too much and you have to lay at certain angles so there isn't too much pressure on your neck. Plus, with that much pain medication in your body, you start to get restless leg syndrome. It's very hard to stay still. At one point the nurse came in to give her some medicine. She had to take them orally. We are talking 4 pills that I would have a hard time taking without my throat freshly sliced! First they had to make sure she could swallow water and she was able to...kinda. So then they put this pill in my moms mouth, as it's dry from no drinking! and then give her a bit of water to try to swallow this thing. It was so painful looking and she started to cough. Now just imagine how your throat feels when you have the worst sore throat ever and you cough..... yea.... now times that by like a thousand! But she got through it. I knew she would. Unfortunately she wasn't able to get out until this last Sunday! She missed her niece's 1st birthday and Thanksgiving. I brought her some cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving but she couldn't really eat still. She was living off of hospital pudding! YUCK!!! She is home now. Home and a good 35 minutes farther away from me. Doesn't seem like much but it is. I can't just grab the truck as easily and head over to visit her. I know she would love to see us all more but that distance is just a lot when you have no car. I'm having these guilty thoughts about how horrible of a daughter I have been. I treat my customers with more respect than I do to my mom on some occasions. I don't even know how many times I have opened my mouth and let negative things ooze out of it about her. I don't know how many times I have explained to people that tell me I seem so much older that it's all because I didn't have the best childhood. It's just all not true. I had a great childhood with what I had. I had a pool, a fruit orchard, a whole hotel to play in, a house full of cousins, a balancing beam, my Lucy dog, a meadow, a tree house, a neighborhood full of kids. My life was as sweet as my mom was able to make it at that time in our lives. I was never hungry. I was never without a roof. I was never without clothes. I had as many stuffed animals as a girl could ask for. My mom did her best and made some mistakes but that's what happens. Now it's time for me to start doing my best as a Daughter.