Friday, August 31, 2007

The Simple Things....

Sometimes you just forget about the simple things in life that make our daily routines just say, being able to communicate with someone or just breathe on your own.

Yesterday, my mom had open heart surgery to replace a leaky valve. Standard procedure. They do it all time. Simple crack of the sternum. Hook you up to Heart/Lung bypass machine. Run cold water through your heart. Stop the heart. Lift it out. Cut it open. Replace valve. Sew it back up. Put it back in. Restart heart. Yada, Yada. You know...just standard, everyday stuff.

She did great. Doctor said everything went as expected. No surprises or anything. YEA!!!!

But then comes the tough part...recovery.

I thought seeing mom in ICU, intubated was tough. That was until she woke up. Typically, when a patient has a breathing tube, they put "soft" restraints on their arms so if they wake up from anethesia, they don't start pulling tubes and stuff. So I'm holding mom's hand next to the railing where it is restrained and her eyes begin to flutter and slowly open.

I smile and say "Hi mom! You did great!". I can see her struggling to focus as she emerges from the wonderland of vercet. She squeezes my hand back and I audibly sigh in relief. We sit quietly for a few moments like that as mom continues to shake off the effects of the drugs. I can feel her lightly stroking my hand with her finger as it seems that is all she has the strength to move at the moment.

I look up from the IV-laden hand and into her eyes and she is staring at my face, eyes wide open. Her gaze doesn't waver and it is piercingly strong, holding me, imploring me to understand, to read her mind almost. Immediately I know she wants to tell me something, but she can't speak with the tube down her throat. And suddenly I realize the light stroking on my palm wasn't just a loving touch...she's writing letters on my palm.

I switch and look closely at my hand now, trying to marry the visual image with the feel on my palm to decipher each letter. H-O-T. "Mom, you are hot?" She nods softly. "OK". I start pulling off the heated blankets they put on her during surgery.

I get that cleared away and reach back for her hand. "You ok now?" She closes her eyes and a tear slips out under the closed lashes.

She starts drawing on my palm again. H-U-R-T. I feel a lump in my throat. "Mom, you're need more pain meds?" Her eyes open, she nods and another tear falls. I hustle to get the ICU nurse and tell her what's going on and she comes back with some vicodin for mom's IV. We get that on board and just wait for the meds to kick in. And wait. And wait.

" it better yet?" Her eyes are still closed. She just shakes her head, no. I get the nurse. She pushes more vicodin. And we wait. And wait.

About 15 minutes later, Mom opens her eyes again and is looking around, surveying the room. She sees the TV on. She holds my hand again and starts writing. F-O-O-T. "Mom, your foot itches. Do you want me to scratch it? Do you want me to move it?"

She shakes her head no and continues writing. B-A-L-L. A huge grin steals across my face. Of course. How could I be so dense? My love of sports is genetic, from my mom. I grab the remote control and change the channel to ESPN. Today is college football kickoff. 24 hours of College Football coverage on ESPN. Mom smiles.

She's gonna be just fine.


MikeW said...

I was having a very bad day at work until I read this, and you put things back into perspective for me. Thank you for sharing a great great story.

Glenda said...

That post made me cry by the end, I'm so glad your mom is recovering well.

Shorey said...

I just love your mom, D.

Lulu said...

I've got chills! I am glad she is doing well - my thoughts will be with her!

Kris said...

Oh my gosh, Dionn, what a beautiful post! I'm so glad your mom is okay. SO glad! She sounds like such a bad-ass mom; no wonder she raised such a terrific daughter! :)

Suellen said...

I got teary over this post too. I've been struggling with someone in the hospital this week too. It reminds me how dear our dear ones are. And it is wonderful how well your mother is doing! My prayers are with her and with you.