Heads or Tails #32 – Mother

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Abby & Grandma H4When Abby was an active little toddler (hmm, kind of like someone else I know…), my mother went in for surgery to open up a blockage in her carotid artery. This type of blockage runs in her family – both of her sisters have now had similar surgeries as well. I know I can probably look forward to the same thing years down the road, and my girls will have to be careful as well.

The thing I remember the most from that day was sitting in the hospital’s waiting room with my aunt and trying to keep Abby occupied. I was several months pregnant with Hannah at the time – and at one point my aunt asked me how I would ever be able to handle another one. By the end of the day, I was wondering the same thing myself. After many (many!) laps around the hospital floor, in both directions, pointing out the same things over and over, I was more than ready for a break. The surgery went longer than expected, so once my mother came out and went into recovery, I said a quick hello and then Abby and I went back to our hotel room. I only had that one day off from work, so we headed home that night and I didn’t see my mother again for a couple of months.

Today, my mother is having surgery again. This time to repair (or do something to) an abdominal aneurysm. Normally they try to go in through the groin but my mother has small veins so they are having to actually open her up. It’s a surgery that’s apparently difficult to recover from, and my mother lives alone.

Unfortunately, this time I won’t be in the waiting room – I can’t get away to the other side of the state. My aunt will be there again and she will call me when the surgery is over. I’m hoping that my brother may be able to go too, but he’s been in California for the past week, and I’m not sure if he’ll be back in time or not.

GirlsPlayingMonopolyJrWithGrandma_003I wish we (or she) lived closer so that I could help out and take care of her while she recovers. I am thankful that my aunt and cousin do live near her, that she has neighbors that she is friends with, and that my brother is only an hour away from her now instead of across the country. I know she won’t be lacking for people to help.

My mother will turn 75 years old in August and I hope that she will be around for quite a long time to come. My girls all adore their ‘white-haired’ grandma, and the weekends that she spends with us are so very special to them.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – I love you! 🙂

Update:  I called the hospital tonight since I hadn’t heard from my aunt yet (apparently she’d talked to my brother and he said he’d call me, but he didn’t get a chance to right away). My mom was in recovery, still hooked up to a ventilator while waiting for a room to open up in the ICU. There wasn’t much else they could tell me but the nurse I talked to in recovery said she’d tell my mom that I called. I talked to my brother later on and found out that not only had my mom minimized the extent of the surgery to us, but there’s considerable risk of infection or congestive heart failure during the first couple of days after the surgery. My aunt is a retired nurse, so she was able to give Donnie a better idea of what the surgery entailed. I went online tonight and did some research as well – what she had is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It’s more common in older people (yep), smokers (she smoked for close to 50 years before quitting a few years ago), and men (trust my mom to go against the norm on that one). Hers hadn’t ruptured (yet). Apparently they put you on a heart and lung machine and replace the portion of aorta with a graft of cloth fabric.

Donnie and I are going to stay in close touch over the next few days at a minimum and he’s hoping to get over to visit her on Friday. He’s back in the state, but has some major things going on at work and an upcoming work trip that severely limit his free time right now. Obviously if anything major happens both of us will drop everything to be there. I’ll keep updating as I find out more – thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for her.