10 February 2014

Under the Knife

Mom is in the O.R. at Virginia Mason as I write this, getting her right hip replaced after about a year of intensifying pain.

I was planning to be in the waiting room today, and she asked me to stay with her tonight in her hospital room, which I was happy to do. Friday, however, winter weather and a moderately compromised immune system conspired together, and I came down with a massive head cold--just in time to make it a really bad idea for me to be around recovering surgery patients.

Marsh is manning the waiting room and the smartphone alone (and he'll be snoring in the bed next to Mom's tonight--she was planning to bring her long gripper tool to pinch him awake if he doesn't hear her calling). I'm meandering around the house, slowly working through basic chores that can be accomplished even with my thick head (chock full of snot).

My thoughts have been waxing philosophical as I meander around--putting some towels away, collecting the mail and recycling it--and I've been thinking about major life events, and less eventful long-term changes.

A hip replacement is an old-lady surgery. Mom is far from old in a lot of ways, but she's getting up there chronologically. Ian and I, at the starting line of middle age, are, as you know, deeply into our plans for moving away . . . right as our parents are moving inexorably toward needing more care.

I have complicated feelings about all of this: from trust that our most-important elders will continue to thrive for many more years; to nervous recognition that Ian and I are throwing in our lot with a community we only slightly know, and planning to spend our own (we hope) distant dotage there; to an irrational annoyance that, just as we begin to create our glowing future life, life is reminding us of potentialities other than perfect, unblemished bliss.

But mostly, I'm nervous about my mom being in surgery, and worried that something will go wrong no matter how unlikely that is, and that her life will take a dramatic turn from independent, delighted involvement in myriad activities, to something challenging and sad. I'm the one who spends time with difficult health issues, and I'd like it to stay that way.

I love you, Mom.

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