Thursday, June 12, 2008

Epidurals! They're not Just for Labor Anymore!

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.


R.L.Scovens said...

I think taking care of a parent would be extremely hard, but it's exactly what they did for us! I have a sister who is struggling with this right now. It's funny how it can be hard for us to care for them cause we think it was easy for them to do it for us! NOT SO.

annie's eyes said...

Oh, bless you, Linda, as a parent become the strong-willed child. The days pass slowly but the years--don't blink. Love, A

Debbie said...

I'm right there with you, strong-willed Mom and all.

Grace said...

These are years to be cherished....
and they can drive you absolutely crazy!! Finding laughter in them is crucial. (And you'll be so glad later that you were there.)


Ang baylis said...

You are a great daughter! Great one! I once heard someone say life is like a roll of toilet paper... the closer you get to the end the faster it goes! Thanks for sharing this story with me today!
Angie xoxo

Teri said...

It is hard work taking care of a parent, but so rewarding. You will never regret it, even though it is hard. Sounds like your mom is a stitch!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I bet you are just a riot to be face2face friends with. I just love your sarcastic sense of humor. Even as I posted this comment, my eyes saw the title of yday's post...crap-a-doodle ding dong dang...I LOVE IT.

Anyway, your mom says like a riot she repeated herself not understanding why her legs were doing that. HILL-LER-E-US!!!!

I dread the day I have to parent my parents. From you description of your mom, I just wanted to run to your house and squeeze her...she just sounds so darn cute with what she did.

Thanks for the smile on a very rough morning!

Mocha with Linda said...

Inside every octogenarian lives a 2-year-old.

A daughter who's right there with you

Beverly Lewis said...

I heard a broadcast with Dobson talking about his mom and the day he realized the child had become the parent. I light flashed in my brain and I realized I am there too. Helps me be more patient... but it's still strange.

Susanne said...

Linda, you are such a blessing to your mom. Sometimes I'm pulled up short by suddenly realizing my mom is a senior citizen. This isn't the easiest time and I hope knowing that quite a few of us are in the same time frame as you makes it a bit easier.

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Please hug your mom from me.

Marina said...

Linda you have such a Big heart and you are so loving and caring your mom raise you well.
Please send her a hug my way!
tell her I love it "The days pass slowly but the years don't blink"
Amen too that.hugs,marina :)

Kelley said...

This cracked me up!! I don't know if it is appropriate to laugh or not but I can just see this being me at 82. Heaven help my children, I hope they will be as patient as you are!!

skoots1mom said...

I'm home from the hospital today, too! My hubby has been holdin' me up as I've been parading thru the hallways in my "designer, snap at the shoulder, wrinkles all over, cotton, multicolored gown"...i'm very thankful for the handrails on the walls, too! I'm up to about 100 yards at a, i'm making progress! All went well and now there will be a 6-week recovery, so I have to remember slow, and NO LIFTING! I'll keep your Mom in my's hard to remember you're restricted, when you're used to be independent. Love on her with everything you have...My mom will be here with me on Sunday...I'm looking forward to our having time to talk and catch up.
:) Thankful prayers for christian doctors, compassionate nurses, great dieticians, supportive,loving hubbies, and good drugs used in the right way!

Roxanne said...

Bless your heart and hers. As you care for your mother and are so kind to her, be kind to yourself too. You are in unchartered waters much like she was with first time motherhood.

Thinking of you both.

Michelle said...

I do EXACTLY what you do, I hide my worry in humor. It's quite refreshing to know there are others like me. You are a good daughter.

I hope your Mom does really well. At 82 and still kicking butt!

I suspect you have her fortitude.

PJ said...

Love the humor. You made me laugh and cry at the same time! I must make a note of the quote, "The days pass....but the years..." Great quote.

Cyndy said...

My husband's Dad is 80 this year and right where your Mom is, can't understand why his body isn't working like it used to. There are some other issues too and sometimes they can get hard.

It's all led me to the conclusion that aging is weird and you just have to keep on lovin' them even if you become the parent.