Monday, January 2, 2017

Mom's Turn

Added 1-15-17. Mom in rehab facility - doing great!
So as I sit here in yet another hospital waiting room waiting for mom to come out of surgery for the broken hip she somehow sustained yesterday, it occurs to me that I’ve been in far too many hospital waiting rooms through the years.

From my dad’s many hospitalizations – heart bypass and pacemaker surgeries, problems caused by the blood thinners he was on that landed him in the hospital numerous times and even the time I drove to Alliance to find him gray and barely able to draw breath due to the pneumonia  that was choking him, he was always the one in the hospital bed – not mom.

And even though this hospital is different than the one where dad passed away only six short months ago, it feels all too familiar.

Now that dad is gone, it’s apparently mom’s turn. And it’s so odd to see her tiny form in a hospital bed wearing the requisite hospital gown that snaps up the back and exposes her thin, white shoulders.

The difference is that with all of Dad’s hospitalizations, I was still the kid – the daughter who came to keep mom company as she sat in hospital waiting rooms for dad to come out of surgery. I didn’t have to bring the insurance forms or provide any information to the nursing staff who were there to help make dad better. Mom was always the strong one who conferred with the doctors about the best course of treatment for dad.

I don’t even remember my mother ever being in the hospital, although she surely was when she had her children and when she had to have an emergency D&C after losing her last baby over 50 years ago.

But all that doesn’t matter, because she’s in the hospital now and it’s my turn to be the “person” for mom – the one who has to bring the insurance forms and provide information to the nursing staff who want to ease mom’s pain and make her better.

It’s an odd role reversal that I’m still not comfortable with, but I do it without question because I love my mother and I hate to see her hurting.

Since last night when Vince and I went to the Emergency Room where she had been transported after an X-ray showed the fracture in her hip to today when I held her hand to comfort her while we waited for her to be wheeled into surgery, mom has continually apologized for “causing so much trouble” and “putting us through this.” I’ve soothed her, I’ve told her she doesn’t need to apologize, and that it’s not a big deal, but she sticks with that theme and it upsets her to be the one needing help. Sometimes I can make her smile by agreeing with her that she’s being a pain in the patootie – and I feel a small sense of victory by getting that small reaction.

I tell her that she has always been there for us, but she dismisses that notion as if she were merely doing her job.

I don’t talk about it because mom won’t remember any of  it, but I remember all those times when mom was there for me. When I fell off the monkey bars and cracked open my head and had to have stitches – to the time in college when I had to have my wisdom teeth extracted and was put under anesthesia. When I woke up sobbing (because I had pretended like it was no big deal, but inside I was terrified of having surgery), it was mom by my side who held my hand and comforted me.

Dad was there most of those times when I was a kid and needed medical help to get better – but  mom was there always.

And, while I know it’s going to be a difficult road ahead because hip replacement surgery on anyone is difficult enough, let alone on someone who has dementia and is 92-years-old – we are going to be by her side, comforting her and holding her hand.

But if you want to say a quick prayer for all of us – or send positive vibes our way – we would be most appreciative.

Hospital waiting rooms are not my favorite place to be.

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