Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Seven Years in a Day

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.

No pain.

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 hope.

And pray.

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!


liz crumlish said...

Praise God. relax away! lots of love to you all, rejoicing with you.

thebookbaglady said...

What GREAT news!!

I am wishing my immobilized dad's back surgery in January was such an instant success. He did get his mobility back, but still has leg pain which limits the duration of his movement. He needs spacers in his spine but is on blood thinners for thrombosis making him a surgery risk. He's on a blood thinner 'bridge' right now so that Thursday morning a spinal cortisone shot can be attempted to relieve some pain--hopefully without causing a spinal bleed. We are hoping for a good result!!

I am thrilled for your mom! Amazing!!!

Love, Gretchen

deanna said...

Cherie, what joy!!

Of course we never know what's next, but how worthwhile that surgery was, for the relaxing game of hangman afterward.

So glad you slept well, too. :o)

Marianne Elixir said...

Oh! What a lovely update! This is the kind of this we were all hoping for! Thank you so much for sharing the good news and allowing all of us to share in the burden and joy of this journey.

Wandering Coyote said...

I am so glad to hear that your mom is doing so much better and that you're sleeping. Everything looks so much more dire and bleak when you're fatigued and frustrated due to lack of sleep.

Cherie said...

Thank you, Liz, I knew you'd be rejoicing with me. Yippee!

Gretchen, thank you for your kindness. I will be praying with you for your papa, that he can find some real relief from the pain. We should get together one of these days. Sounds like we could talk each other's ears off with all that we have in common. ; )

Deanna, thanks soooo much!

M.E., isn't it just a wonderful thing to have a story like this have a happy ending. While I don't want to jinx anything - spit, spit, salt over the shoulder - as I know we aren't all the way home yet, I am feeling very grateful for the goodness shown to Mom by her Creator. And you are more than welcome for my sharing - it helped me to share it with you and my other blog friends. Helped a LOT.

WC, you are so right that fatigue and lack of sleep can rearrange ones perspective in sometimes harmful ways. Thanks for the cheer! Hope all is well with you. I'll come a'visiting soon!

Reginald Parsons said...

Yes take it easy, keep you strength up.
I'd like to wish you all a very happy mid-summers eye tomorrow Friday 21st.
I hope it reflects the beuty within that is without.

Cherie said...

Thanks for the good wishes, R.P.

I hope you have a happy mid-summer solstice, too! For me, this year, it feels like I've made it to the summit of my own personal mountain and I can see from where I've come and have hope for where I'm going. Hope that does indeed reflect the beauty within and without.

tshsmom said...

That's the best news possible!

Isn't it amazing what they can do with back surgery now? 17 yrs ago, I was hospitalized and put in traction when both of the bad discs in my back herniated at the same time. At that time the only thing they could do surgically, was to either fuse the discs, or place steel rods in my spine. Either operation would result in reduced mobility. I said, "I'll pass on those options!" Now look what they can do...AMAZING!

Anonymous said...

Such a great way to express great news Cherie. There's nothing like a shake up like this to help you appreciate your life again. I hope your calmness stays with you for a while!

Cherie said...

Hey, Tshs, maybe you can have a surgery that is as quick and painless as Mom's someday. I hope you aren't in constant pain. I suppose you've learned to manage the pain, bright, creative woman that you are. It really is AMAZING!

Sandy, I hope the calmness sticks around, too. I've found that in my 'let down' time, you know in allowing myself to unclench, that I've become exhausted. Just lethargic and listless, like my body is demanding the rest it has put off for so long. I am still functioning, doing laundry, driving the girls and their friends to the mall, cooking, cleaning, and watching the moon at the end of the day before I sleep sleep sleep. I just do everything a little s l o w e r .


Mike S said...

Great news. Hope you all get to go back to relaxing & enjoying Nature's Wonders.

Ann said...

This is wonderful, Cherie. I've been out of touch for a few weeks and what a perfect post to come back to!

Cherie said...

Mike, you'll be happy to know that we are, in fact, getting back to relaxing and enjoying nature's wonders! Even Mom enjoys being wheeled outside onto the pretty garden-like patio at her center to soak up the sun. How I've missed my yard! Good to be home more, gardening more, looking forward to entertaining over the Fourth. Ahhh, some semblance of normal at last.

Ann, I've been out of touch, too, and for similar reasons as you. Good news does indeed do a heart good, doesn't it.:D