Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Mother

My mom is sick. She's fought with her health for about 20 years now. It started with carpal tunnel when I was in like fifth grade. Then she had a torn ligament in her knee which turned into rheumatoid arthritis. The pain pills for the arthritis ate her stomach, so she lost about 60 percent of it. My senior year in high school, she came down with A Plasta Anemia...That's a rough sketch of her history. Some of the details are foggy, some of the specifics are ignored, and some of the memories are just too horrible to remember.

My mom and I haven't always gotten along. There were about three years where I didn't even speak one word to her, but now, today, my mom and I are super close. She helps me with marriage stuff, with life stuff, with gardening, with decorating, with cooking, and with gossiping. I love talking to her on the phone for hours at a time. I wish I lived closer so I could just go hang out with her everyday (well, maybe every other day)...

Multiple times in my life, I have thought that my mom might die from whatever is ailing her at the moment, but it never hurt as bad as today. I spent all day decorating for Christmas. I spent all day thinking about my mom and how Christmas is her favorite time of year. I thought about all the gifts she has given, about the garland we used to hang at the house on 63rd, how her nickname Mallard came about, how my dad and I would always try real hard to get along at Christmas...And then at 4pm (PST) today, when I was all done decorating and just enjoying the dusky glow of twinkle lights wrapped around garland, my dad called.

My mom had to have emergency exploratory surgery, because her insides are infected and swollen. She had surgery a few weeks ago, because some gallstones had invaded her liver and were causing it to shut down. The doctor was able to get the stones out and took out her gallbladder also. She was left with a bile bag and a couple tubes.

My mom always has complications. When she had A Plasta Anemia, only my cousin Todd's plasma helped her (we attribute it to all the Hamm's he was drinking at the time). She is allergic to a thousand different things - including whatever they used to stitch her up in her last surgery. She's allergic to silver and 14k gold and a ton of medicines...

But I love her. And it's Christmas. And I believe in miracles.

UPDATE: 7 pm (PST)
My dad just called. Mom is out of surgery. It went okay, but apparently her bile bag wasn't working properly. There is bile floating around her body...not good. They are bringing in a specialist tomorrow for another surgery.

My dad was crying...if you knew my dad, you would be surprised. He's a biker, he's an asshole, he's rough and tough, he's long-haired and tattooed. But you know what? He adores my mother.

If ever there was a reason for me to love and appreciate my stepfather, it is because for thirty years, he has adored my mother. He hasn't always shown his adoration or been able to express his feelings, but I know he loves her. I've seen it. I've heard it. I've felt it. I don't know whether or not my mom knows it, but I know it.

I realized it in like '97 or '98...I was having trouble with a boyfriend, and my dad actually was the one who helped me. I don't recall anymore what he said, but I remember that my reaction was, "Wow, you really LOVE my mom. I never realized that before." Truthfully, he would be lost without her - especially at Christmastime.

UPDATE: 8 pm (PST)
My aunt Mary Joe called (my dad's sister) to try to better explain the situation, and reassure me that everything would be fine. Gotta love MJ :)

The doctor said that when he opened mom up tonight, there was infection all over. The intent of the surgery was to try to clean up (at least some) of the infection, and hopefully be able to pinpoint the cause. None of that happened. The doctor said they are "unable to pinpoint the cause at this time." Bastard.

He explained that there are a lot of possible scenarios:
1. The bile filled up her stomach and leaked out the spot where she previously had the bleeding ulcer.
2. When they operated her on previously, they nicked something and so she was bleeding internally.
3. The allergic reaction she had to the "small amount of metal" in the sutures has gotten out of control.

Either way, the doc said they have to bring in a specialist and operate on her tomorrow. Unfortunately, that is a huge concern. She just had TWO surgeries the end of October, and another one tonight. Three surgeries in one month on a frail woman is NOT a good idea! (And I guess the doctor was saying that it might take two or three surgeries to actually fix her...) One of the reasons it took two surgeries to clean up her kidney and liver is because the ulcer/stomach surgery created so much scar tissue. Aren't they just creating MORE scar tissue every time they open her up? Plus, they were saying that her blood pressure is extremely low.

If the problem is an infection, why can't they treat it without surgery? White blood cells fight infection - can't they just inject her with hundreds of thousands of the little buggers to go in and clean up? (Like those fish that suck on the aquarium glass constantly...) Can't they pump her full of antibiotics?

Surely, the miracles of modern medicine have got to have a way to help my mother.

I cannot believe this is happening the FIRST time I ever got jazzed about Christmas since moving out of my parents house...Do you think God is trying to tell me that I should be focusing more on the Savior than Santa?

UPDATE: 9 pm (PST)
I can rest easy tonight. I got to talk to my mommy :) Thank you, Lord!!

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