Wednesday June 29th, 2016
Mom went into Surgery early that morning. They took her for prep at a little after 5am. She came back a little after 7am. They said she did good and her coronary artery was “as good as new.” But they warned her over and over that she would have to consume large amounts of protein in order to heal from the procedure. If she did not, she would continue to waste, not recover and she would die.
She nodded her head and obediently said that yes she would eat. I begged them to give her an appetite stimulants, and they did. I did not know that by then it was too late and looking back, probably did more harm than good.
Dad arrived shortly before she came back from surgery and I sat with him while he worried. I worried too, silently praying that she survive the procedure.
Looking back, I am not sure why they decided to do the surgery on her, other than they said that she would likely have a stroke at any given second. But she was less than 75lbs at that point. The staff was very concerned though. They never said anything but their expressions said it all. They had that concerned-not-sure-if-she-will-survive-but-Ican’t-say-anything look that hospital staffers get in situations like that. They checked on her constantly, taking her vitals, writing on the chart, their lips pensed as they checked her circulation and oxygen levels.
I don’t remember much more about that day. It is a blur of taking care of both Mom and Dad, making sure they both had what they needed. I remember calling my then boyfriend several times in tears, terrified of loosing Mom. He was kind and compassionate then, and listened to me sob, listened to me talk about Mom’s condition, and reassured me that it was going to be OK., he asked several times if there was anything he could do? Or if I wanted him to come down. I told him no, because really, there was nothing to do but wait…and take care of two elderly people.
How much he helped and how much I appreciated him, he will never know. I had no idea what I was doing, other than watching over her. But I knew that more was coming, but I didn’t know what. There was this foreboding that was inescapable. Just hearing his voice, hearing him say it was going to be OK, whether it was really true or not, was so comforting. No matter how strong we are, we always need love and support.
I had a lead ball in the pit of my stomach and a pounding headache the whole time I was there. There was a dread in my soul. I had not slept at all that night. Maybe on some level I knew that she would never recover,t ah she would not ever be herself again.
I felt angry, scared, terrified, depressed, needy, and very aware that I was in charge, and did not want to be. I wanted to crawl into my boyfriends arms, be told that mom would be OK, wake up and know that she was back to normal. I wanted to see her smile, laugh, get stronger and be able to live a better life.
To be the watcher is a privilege. Because you are being trusted to look after the best interest of the loved on there. That doesn’t just mean making sure that the pillow is fluffed, it means talking to the doctors, nurses, making sure you understand all the instructions, what every is doing, what is in the IV, what medications and precautions are being given and taken. It’s calling other family members and keeping them up to date on how things are going. It;s doing research to make sure that everything is being taken seriously and nothing is being overlooked. it is something you do for those you love.
Dad and I ate dinner that night and for the first time, he admitted he was scared. I told him I was too. We sat there for the next few minutes, in silence, eating Bar-B-Que. He left again to get home before dark and i stayed with mom. She had been sleeping most of the day, only waking up a little.
I prayed she would survive through the night, and set my alarm to make me up every 20 minutes so I could check and make sure she was breathing. I had nightmares when I did sleep.