Monday, October 20, 2008


I could write about Aunt Marie and her surgery and the past week for hours. I haven’t. But I could. It’s just that it is emotional and exhausting and, sometimes, when you’re the thick of something it is hard to pull yourself out far enough to get any perspective.

But, since I was asked. ...and since it’s probably good for me... Here is a little update.

The Nurse
It is interesting to see my mom in this situation. The way she goes in and takes charge. She will get Aunt Marie out of bed. Change her clothes. Tidy her room. She is very much the nurse. She does what needs to be done.

Though I doubt she realized it at the time, my mom became a nurse because she had this sick little sister. She was seasoned at the care-giving role. In a way, she is coming full circle. Being a nurse and a sister. Mom is very good at it. Aunt Marie is very lucky.

Yesterday, when Mom and Meg visited, they brought Aunt Marie outside. Emma drove up to the hospital with their dog in the car. It was a happy reunion.

The Bitch
The more I hear about the day of Aunt Marie’s surgery, the more I learn. To put it quite bluntly? My mom was a bitch. She (rightfully) ripped the surgeon up. What he was doing – pushing the surgery back by five hours without a reasonable explanation – was unacceptable and she let him hear about it. Repeatedly.

Eventually, he was all “you know, you shouldn’t be yelling at me before I go in to work on your sister.” And she was snapping back, “you’re the professional here. It is up to you to determine if you can focus to do your work.” He tried to shake her hand. She wouldn’t. And when, a few days later, he was seeing Aunt Marie when my mom happened to walk into the room, they did not speak.

Mom is still pissed about it. Aunt Marie is a patient in a health system that breeds arrogant doctors. My mom is completely intolerant of it. (We have never seen a doctor within that system.)

When you’re in the hospital, Mom is the person you want on your side.

The Attitude
Aunt Marie is taking this remarkably well. Preoperatively, she seemed at peace with the decision. Postoperatively, she seems much the same. (The only time when she really panicked was during those five hours when she was waiting to go under the knife. Which was precisely the reason my mom went ape shit.)

I would not classify Aunt Marie as an overly positive person, so it is really good that she’s maintaining a good outlook. She isn’t moping. I’m really proud of her.

Sometime in the near future, Aunt Marie will be moved to a rehabilitation unit. She doesn’t like the idea of “going into rehab.” Sounds too much like a place for addicts.

The Parents
One of the saddest things about this whole situation is watching my Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa, according to Grandma, has been “very weepy.” He cried when he first saw Aunt Marie after her surgery. He has visited her every day.

I can tell that Grandma is sad, too. She does her best. She brings Aunt Marie food – soup and apple dumplings – and she sits with her every day. She listens to her complain. She is there. She does what she can.

The Other Bitch
Aunt Marie can be difficult. When I was visiting on Thursday – just before I was told how pathetic I am – I listened to her complain and complain and complain. About her freezer at home. (And a little bit about her nurse. About some person who “came in and just stared at me.” About how people keep asking her when she is going to get moved to another room. About the food. Etc.)

On Saturday, she was in a foul mood because they wouldn’t let her shower. “I am 49 years old,” she ranted. “I don’t need my doctor’s permission to shower. You just wait. My sister will come here. She’ll help me into the shower.”

When they finally put her in the shower, she cried.

I don’t think it was about the shower.


Blog Template by Delicious Design Studio