If I could only share her pain
March 13. 2014 9:25AM
My life has been a whirlwind since I touched American soil upon my return from vacation just over a week ago. After being delayed a day in the airport, I faced some time on the road last week bringing my mother to and from a Minnesota hospital. At 75 years of age, her right knee has worn out and she was in need of a knee replacement.
While the surgical procedure itself is a common one – she was the third knee replacement of the day for her surgeon – I found it difficult to have a parent on the surgery table once again. It was just over six years ago that my dad had surgery to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was successful that day, but the illness did eventually take him from us.
Those memories swirled around my brain as I sat in the waiting room last week, and those memories also led to a few tears. I don’t do well in hospitals, especially when it involves a parent.
“Don’t cry,” my mother told me just minutes before she was wheeled into surgery. “I’ll be OK.”
Mom’s surgery went well, but the pain that follows surgery and the subsequent rehab are the battles she’s now fighting. Both are difficult, she tells me.
But she seems to be winning the war. In the few days of therapy she’s had since her surgery, mom has learned how to maneuver as she gets into bed, takes a chair or steps into the shower. They all require some assistance, but she is making strides, small though they may be now, but big as she learns to become mobile on her own accord once again.
This past weekend, I brought my mom back to her hometown hospital, a place where we both agree she’s more comfortable in than at the big-city hospital where her surgery was done. But separated by miles, I feel horrible that I’m unable to stop by on a daily basis and check in on her, on her progress and her needs.
“I’m OK,” she tells me. “Don’t worry.”
But I do worry. It’s my mother, after all. And if I could only bear some of the pain for her, I surely would do that, too.
On Sunday, as I said my “good-bye’s” to mom, those all-too familiar tears surfaced once again.
“Don’t cry,” mom told me once again. “I’ll be OK.”