September 18, 2013 by KDT
Forgive my recent absence. The week before last my mom landed unexpectedly in the hospital and man, it was for the most random thing. She rang me on a Thursday night complaining of abdominal pain so I took her to the emergency room where they found nothing and sent her home. When she wasn’t feeling better on Friday, I took her back to emergency and after several hours and a strange blob on the ct scan, she was finally admitted. Two days later, she was getting emergency surgery to remove a section of her small intestines. Now while this surgery was a last resort, the team of doctors made it seem very routine – this surgery was a necessary step for a medical situation that was actually fairly common. However, when she was given her release papers one week later she read that the issue with this piece of small intestine was that it had become gangrene. That link explains that internal gangrene, which is the category for what she was dealing with, can be fatal if left untreated. Allow me to point out: that first day in the emergency room resulted in her being release for acid reflux.
My mom is really healthy – she’s a little overweight but no high cholesterol, no heart disease, no diabetes; her only ailment is arthritis which runs in our family. She walks every day for 30 minutes. She cooks most days and tends to buy organic. She’s 64 years old and looks amazing. And I can’t help thinking that if we hadn’t been diligent about getting to emergency, she very well could have died. Since my dad passed away almost 10 years ago I have intense paranoia about losing my mom, and I could very easily have broken down during and after mom’s experience, terrified of what might have happened. But at the end of this situation I am left looking at my mom in wonder.
Because now, more than ever, she could not give a rat’s ass.
She came home feeling exhausted and grouchy, which is understandable after a week in a hospital, but as the days since her surgery have marched on I feel like her tolerance for bullshit has decreased – something I never even knew was possible. How do you improve upon ZERO tolerance? You get emergency surgery and find out after the fact that your ailment might very well have been life-threatening, that’s how.
Oh what’s that, Relative? You called to check in and left her a voicemail and now you’re calling back because she hasn’t returned your call? Get over it – she doesn’t feel like chatting right now.
Oh hello Dear Friend who is going to be in the neighborhood and wants to stop by, but today’s not gonna work for her. Try her next week, but call her first to see if it’s a good time.
Little Kitty that is used to getting his breakfast at 6 am, mama’s lounging. You’ll be fed around 8.
These are small things, but they do add up. Mom’s pretty strong but she isn’t indestructible or unfeeling – she’s holding it together but I can’t believe she’s not emotionally jarred by the events of the last week. Right now, she’s taking care of herself, and that means she has no energy to put into anything that can wait. As someone who cares about her I think even I look to her for a little reassurance (my asking the question “How are you feeling?” is as much about me as it is about her), so speaking for the friends and loved ones, we need to all just chill out.
So now that mom’s home she is extra feisty, a little crabby and bossier than usual. And I couldn’t be happier because that means she’s here.