Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Grateful Post 4 - Mum

This one goes out to none utha than my mutha! Not only did she stay longer than originally planned and put up with my various mood swings (some of which were hormonal, some of which were...jerky), but she kept me well entertained in the hospital and my first 2 weeks after.

Well, that introduction summed it up nicely. I'll bugger off now.

Only joking, there's plenty more to be said. As I've already posted about, I put my mother in charge of everything while I was in the hospital. This was not only because I trusted that she would act in accordance with my wishes if something terrible were to happen, but also because I thought she was best equipped to handle such decisions and most likely to be able to make the tough call, if such a time should come. Luckily, it did not. Nonetheless, she was my constant advocate at the hospital. Some things I was fine to let slide, such as if there wasn't a response to my nurse page within a couple minutes. But if too much time went by, I knew she would go down to the nurse's station to politely but firmly inquire more specifically, and in person, about whatever I might need. In addition when the whole fiasco with the dining department went down, she was just as, if not more upset than I was, and ready for battle.

She put herself in discomfort by sleeping both nights in the hospital room with me. Although the visitor's chair did recline, it was by no means designed for extended use, but she stayed over anyway. I didn't have a specific concern or need, but as soon as she saw that I wasn't convinced that she should go back to the hotel, she said she was staying. No matter how competent and kind the nursing staff was, it was certainly comforting to have someone next to me when I would wake up once or twice in the middle of the night, instead of being alone in a strange place. Like a teddy bear, only life-size and not half so fluffy. She also saw most, if not all, my body parts while helping me sit and then stand from the bed, tie my gown to preserve what little sense of decency I had remaining, and even do a gown change when the first one was over a day old and had drainage discharge on the front. She also helped clean and dress my drain site after returning home and, though she admitted later that it made her want to gag at the time she never flinched.

I knew up front that there was a good chance that all the physical changes would beget hormonal changes and that I might act a little crazy - I believe I had forewarned others about this, but it still caught me by surprise when, still in hospital and trying to disentangle myself from and organize the various cables and cords attached to me in order to go on a walk, I started crying for no apparent other reason than that my mother was trying to help me. As it was happening I knew it made no sense, but with the medications clouding my mind a little, I couldn't seem to use full English sentences in order to communicate what I did and did not want to happen. My father was wise and took my sister to the coffee shop, leaving me with much less to focus on. This was a good first step. I managed to get out something along the lines of "stop asking me what I want, I just have to tell you", which sounds incredibly rude in retrospect, but said through tears sounded a good deal more pitiful. The thought that I was trying to get across was that I found the offers of help too quick and plentiful, and just needed to slow down and do one thing at a time. She remained blessedly calm and took things slowly, I managed to pull myself together and apologize, and life went on. There were a couple other similar episodes after I got home, one of which I had no explanation for, just started crying while walking into the living room. So strange...

After being discharged, we got into a reasonable routine. I had already volunteered my bed to her before surgery, and quickly realized that the added bonus of sleeping on my recliner couch was that it was very useful in sitting back up again without engaging the abdominal muscles too much. I believe at one point I jokingly accused her of "cat hoarding", since both my pets decided to spend the night on the bed with her. Traitors. Whatever I needed, even when I was milking it a bit, was provided. After many years of describing our family's relationship as "we get along a lot better now that we don't all live together", I was pleasantly surprised to find that after living together for a week, I was asking her to extend her stay until my 2 week post-op visit. It wasn't that I felt I needed looking after, but it was so nice to have someone around for company. Turns out, no matter how much I talk to my cats, they don't keep up their end of the conversation very well.

I really don't think I could have begun recovery nearly as successfully without being able to let go of some of the control I usually cling to so tightly. And I wouldn't have been able to do that with anyone else. I know I don't say it much, but I love you, Mum. Thanks for helping me out, I know I can always count on you.

(Now I'm having a little cry again, but it's for something positive, and at least I know the reason why!)

1 comment:

  1. How could I ever deny my firstborn? I'm so proud that you've taken such a significant step to improve your life and pleased that I could be a small part of it. Looking forward to our 5K this year, whether we walk it, crawl it or waddle it quickly! Love you.
    (Not crying, just chopped onions earlier this evening.)