A Year Ago…

“It was a year ago that I almost died – a year ago I had the surgery.”

My mom’s words took me back a year ago.

I had spent several days on the coast crying – trying to find a place of peace among my emotional chaos.  I got the call “Mom is in the hospital – they don’t know what is going on – she’s in a lot of pain – you have to get here.”

So I tossed everything into my car, drove home and called my employer along the way, grabbed my puppy, and headed to central Oregon.  I met my brother on his way out of the hospital.  “It’s bad,” he explained, “I have to go.”   I took a deep breath – and walked into the hospital to her room.  She was sedated.  She was a slip of a woman under mounds of blankets – she was so cold she couldn’t get warm.  I spent time with her – mainly my dad because she was out of it, and he was scared.

We finally went home – home being his home, their home. I made dinner.  We relaxed, we let his dog play with my puppy, and tried not to think about what was happening.  A call was received very late that night – Mom was in the ICU – things were not good. Come back first thing in the morning – the doctor is monitoring.  What little sleep we had was enough.  Back to the hospital we went.  In the ICU, she was still in pain, she was still upset, she was out of it, she was hooked up to more.  Surgery was going to be at 3pm.  Earlier if needed. We sat with her all day. In her lucid moments, she would say to my dad, “I’m scared”, then go back asleep.  Seeing their love – seeing her pain, it broke my heart.  I felt more adult than I had ever felt.

My job ended up being sending my brothers away – Mom did not want them there.  So I did.

She went into surgery, and my brother who is 2yrs younger than me showed up.  Dad was hungry so he suggested we go get food at a place he knew of.  He drove, and we pulled into the parking lot.  “I chose this place because there is beer – I need a drink – you have to need one.”  Yeah. I did.  We ordered the food, got a beer – then a second one – before heading back to Dad.

The surgery would be 3hrs at a minimum.  We had only wasted maybe 45min.  So we ate.  Then his wife showed up with his kids.  I stole his infant daughter immediately.  Giving her a bottle, walking with her as I bounced her on my hip, I needed it.  I needed to do something – and was happy to do that for them.  Another hour past, and my other brother showed up.  He was clearly uncomfortable.  But he stayed. I joked – played with the girls – and just made sure Dad was ok.  Ironically he was doing the same. Yeah, I’m his child.

The surgeon came out -all was good – she was stable – go home. Dad sent us all home.  My brothers left with their families.  I went back to their house – and played with the dogs.

Dad finally came home. The drugs were fucking with her.  It was funny but scary yet.  He admitted it to me.  We sat watching bad TV – and hoped the phone wouldn’t ring.

Next day, I kept the boys away.  I sat there as she was sedated – on pain meds – and listened to the machines in the ICU.  I knew how close she was to being gone.  I tried not to think about it – my heart was already too heavy.

She came out of it a few days later.  Things started looking good. And when she was aware enough – she sent me away.  “You have a family – go home – I’m fine,” she told me – she insisted.  I promised I’d be back – she waved me away – and I went home with a puppy curled up on my passenger seat.

Mom went to the doctor today.  “Why did I have to go?” she asked me when I called to check on her.  “Sure it’s been a year, but I’m better.”  Yeah , she thinks so – her doctor still feels she is a year away from being 100%.  Being ready for another surgery to finish what started a year ago.  She is 6 months to a year away from having that surgery.  She’s impatient, but given the road she has been on – not surprising to us.

It’s hard to believe she almost died a year ago.

I’m glad she’s here – just still feeling too raw about it yet.  Funny how that happens when you are on the other side of things.

Funny how it doesn’t matter that its been a year – It doesn’t feel that way to me – it’s like it was yesterday.

Thank goodness it is not yesterday.

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