Yesterday, my son and his two best friends went to a movie and then to church to get ashes. When he came home, his forehead smudged, he told me that he had prayed for me. “Three Hail Marys and a custom prayer.” How great is it that he thinks in terms of customizing his prayers the way he would customize a model car? I didn’t even remember that it was Ash Wednesday. The calendar means nothing to me unless it is marking a doctor’s appointment of some kind.
It’s been a little more than a week post-surgery and I still have all six drains. It’s a bit rough. The drains are so uncomfortable and one of the sites (under my right arm) is pretty irritated. I asked my friend the fabulous nurse to come take a look, but she said the skin is healthy, the site is draining and there’s no sign of infection. It’s just gonna hurt, and maybe that’s a small price to pay for the job it’s doing. My friend has a way of saying it like it is: “You’re here. You’re alive. Get over it.” And while I fully support that school of thought, the truth is I’m finding it hard to hold on to that kind of perspective.
Recovery is a bit rough. I don’t do much. Honestly, if we weren’t living inside the polar ice cap, I’d walk up and down the block, get some fresh air, log a little more distance than what I can do here moving from the recliner to the kitchen to the bathroom to the table and back again. At least, I think I would do more. I really don’t even know if I can. I am tapering off of the Percocet, and while I think I feel better overall as a result, I find I am much more sensitive to every little discomfort my body is experiencing. Finding the magic dosage — the one that covers me for pain, but doesn’t leave me dozing all day in a sweaty fog — is a bit tricky. But I think I’m getting there.
We go back to the doctor on Friday. I’m sure they can remove at least 3 of my drains, but I’m not sure they’ll remove all of them. Getting rid of the drains will help in so many ways. They aren’t putting out very much fluid right now, but a couple are still above the output number that the surgeon uses as a yardstick for removal. I can’t believe I was so convinced they were coming out on Monday. I hope I’m not setting my hopes too high for Friday.
Mom is flying home on Saturday. It’s time, but it’s not time. It’s so unfortunate that we lost my first surgery date to the blizzard. If I had been operated on back on January 27th, as originally planned, I’d be two weeks farther along in my recovery right now and more than ready to handle this without her help. We really timed it perfectly, but Mother Nature was not on board, and so we’ve done what we can with the time we’ve had. She’s been here through the worst winter I can remember. Four weeks of ridiculously cold and snowy weather. She’s dealt with her own pain, crippling arthritis and fibromyalgia, never able to truly get warm, sleeping on an air mattress, cooking, cleaning, caring for not just me — but all of us — and let’s face it: I’m 53. Do the math. This equation for care should be reversed. My mom is at the age where we need to be taking care of her, not the other way around.
So this is where I sit, nine days post surgery. A bit broken, a lot fragile, but here, alive. Cared for and loved. My friends remind me to keep it real and my son opts to go to church and customize his prayers. Maybe that’s all I need.