Mom fell hard, smack on her bum seven years ago and thus began the compression fracture of a lumbar disc. She never told anyone back then, keeping the mild aches and pain to herself. "I felt stupid for falling and didn't want anyone to know, " she now says.
The severe sepsis she experienced in early May inflamed her body, most noticeably her already painful lower back.
For nearly seven weeks she's been away from home existing in various degrees of misery.
She went into surgery on Monday afternoon.
Christmas arrived when she awakened from the anesthesia a few hours later.
First time in seven years.
What a gift!
On Tuesday morning she was giddy, grinning, grateful. No kid on Christmas morning has ever been happier than Mom was yesterday in the middle of June, in a stuffy hospital, on a chilly morning.
The tiny, sweet physical therapist asked Mom to stand up and with help and guidance Mom stood straight up. Straight. Up. Tall. No hunching, no leaning, no bending. She was the Mom I remember with the square shoulders and perfect posture.
Dad looked at me astonished. I'm sure my face registered amazement as well.
One short procedure at the hands of a friendly, soul-patched neurosurgeon and Mom's quality of life has been restored.
While we waited for the transport back to the rehabilitation center Mom, Tom, Dad, and I played hang-man on the white board in Mom's hospital room. It was like old times. Mom sat in her wheelchair as though she was in her family room chair, playing a game, laughing, completely relaxed, no pain.
"She's fine now," said Dr. Soul-Patch. "All she needs is to regain her strength and she's good to go."
Good to go.
Is this really the home-stretch? Are there any more 'surprises' of the discouraging kind? Are we really only weeks away from Mom and Dad back home again, living independently, better than they've been for seven years?
Time will tell.
Mom asked me to thank all of you compassionate souls who've been praying for her, sending good thoughts our way. I join her in relaying appreciation while asking you to keep it up please and thank you.
Today Mom is relaxing in her rehab room, reading her novel, wearing her comfy back brace for extra support, smiling. I am home. I slept all night for the first time in weeks. Weeks I tell you. As I mentally scan my body I find that there is no tension anywhere. No grinding teeth or clenched jaw. No squeezing fists. No holding my breath. No furrowed brow or downturned concentrating mouth. No tension anywhere.
This day I will allow myself to relax.
And thank God for His mercy, knowing the outcome could have been much different.
Mom's not home yet, but someone turn on the porch light and unlock the door. We're on our way!