Did you know that if you have recurring pain in your back, you can get an epidural that will take care of that annoyance for up to two years?
I know this because that's what my mother had done this week.
When I arrived at the facility, they had Mom and Dad in a small waiting space, with my mom suited up for surgery, except she didn't have her cap on yet. The nice nurse came and took her BP and checked everything, and then told Mom to put the cap on.
Now, most people don't think a thing about donning a surgery/shower cap. But most people are not my mom. She is of the era of the weekly hair salon appointment with enough hairspray between appointments to preserve said hairdo for eons, let alone a week. Someday archaeologists are going to excavate this continent and find tons of skeleton ladies with perfectly preserved helmet hair.
Anyway, I knew that the shower cap would mess up her hair, and you just don't go messing up that hair for silly things like "surgical procedures."
I thought to myself, "Oh, she's not gonna wanna do that. Let's see what happens."
She did slip it on, but when I looked at her again, I noticed her little bangs were sticking out. She was hanging on to style by a thread, but she was hanging on.
So they took her back, and the whole thing took about 20 minutes. Then we went into Recovery, and by her demeanor, it was clear to me once again that Vercet is a wonderful, magical thing.
But when we stood her up, her legs gave out, and that was scary. So we stayed around a while, testing her legs out every so often. Then we put her in a chair and wheeled her out to the car.
Now, the whole time, and I mean the WHOLE time after the legs first went out, she kept saying things like, "I don't know why my legs are doing this! They didn't do this before? What in the world?! I just don't understand this." We had a 30-minute loop of that.
Finally, I said, "Mom, you were three years younger when you first had one of these. Three years changes a person a lot," which I meant to mean, "It's your age, Mom!" (82) but I was trying to be nice. The nurse said I was right and that mom would be OK.
So I followed Mom and Dad home and deposited Mom in a chair in their TV room and said, "I'll be right back; don't move." I came back into the room to find--you guessed it--an empty chair.
Sojourner Lucille was shuffling down the hallway, "testing" her legs. I got there just in time to hold her as her knees buckled.
"MOM!" I said, "What are you doing? You could fall and break a hip or something! Why did you get up?"
Her reply: "I don't know why my legs are doing this! They didn't do this before? What in the world?! I just don't understand this."
Insert impatient eye roll. We headed back to the TV room. As we got to the doorway, she said in a chipper, chirpy voice, "You know, I think my legs are stronger! I think they're gonna be OK!" Then she nudged me through the door until I was about three steps ahead, let go of me, looked me straight in the eye as if to say, "See, I was right!" when the legs promptly buckled!
"That's it!" I said. "We're going in there, and you are staying put. You may only get up to put on night clothes and stretch and move a little every 15 or 30 minutes. There will be no standing and fixing of hair. There will be no putting on of makeup. There will be no cooking, no cleaning. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she answered sheepishly.
And then I added, because I was very upset, and yes, scared, "You are like a drunk person who doesn't think he's drunk and can drive the car just fine. But you can't. You're drunk!"
And my normally argumentative mother said, "I think you're right. I think it's the Vercet."
Light bulb flash. That's exactly what it was.
My mother was essentially "inebriated," acting all beligerent and daredevilish. I could've filmed her shenanigans and made money by selling it to hospitals to show to obstinate senior citizens as a "This Could Happen to You When You're Hopped Up on Vercet" PSA. That would scare 'em straight.
This parenting of parents is tough. At the hospital, after I dressed her and bent down to put her shoes on her and straighten the tongue of the shoe and ask her if she liked her shoes tied tight or loose, it hit me, "How many times has my mother pulled up my pants and tied my shoes?" Too many times to count, of course. The poignancy was not lost on me.
This morning I heard a saying: "The days pass slowly, but the years pass quickly." I believe it.