May 02, 2007

It can take a lifetime before the doctor crosses the floor to give you the news

When the neurosurgeon walked into the waiting room last night at just past 7:00, still wearing his scrubs and clogs, my father and I were the only ones sitting there. We had been at the hospital since a little after 11:00 that morning to visit with my mother and to help her pass the time until they came to take her away for her surgery.

She had been in the hospital since Sunday. My father had her taken over when she was suddenly unable to sit up or stand. They ran a cat scan and discovered that, in two areas, she had been bleeding in her brain and that blood clots had formed and were compressing her brain inwards. The neurosurgeon thought that it was important to relieve the pressure and to remove the clots and recommended surgical intervention. She was admitted Sunday afternoon.

When we spoke, she and I, on Sunday evening after I called to say good night to her and to tell her that I loved her, she told me that she wanted to kill herself. I have never heard her express despair like this. I was shredded by this. I was consoled only by the call my father made to me later that evening to tell me that she was totally disoriented, asking him why he was still in the office (at 9 on a Sunday) and asking further about why she was in the hospital. I have decided to attribute her statement, her unbelievably out of character statement, to the confusion caused by her condition. Just the same, I slept only about 3.5 hours Sunday night into Monday and those hours I did sleep were not restorative.

I left work early on Monday to commute back to Westport to get the car and the Viking Bride and drive down to the hospital in Greenwich. We visited with my mom for an hour or so and took off. The Girl Child had to be taken to observe a violin lesson. My father drove up and joined us for dinner.

Yesterday, I again left work early and met my father at the hospital. My mother slept from about 12 to 2 but we were with her until they took her away at 5:00 or so. The surgery was supposed to be at around 3, but was delayed due to an emergency.

Waiting is difficult. I shan't elaborate.

After they took her off, my father and I walked to a local restaurant to sit and decompress while they performed the surgery. We ate too much and drank a little wine. We discussed the future. He is quite a realist, my father.

And then, all too soon, we were in the waiting room, again, alone but for another woman waiting for news, too.

The doctor looked so grave when he approached us. I don't know if he was tired or whether that was simply his normal manner. But the news, he said, was very good and she came through the procedure with flying colors.

My father made a peculiar strangled gulping noise and I realized, looking at him, that he bit back a sob.

He looked at the doctor and said, clearly teared up:

Doctor, we have been married 42 years. You look at this woman and you see this withered thing. But I don't see that. When I look at her, this is what I see. [And he pulled his wallet out and showed the doctor that picture of my mother when she was maybe 22 years old]. This is how she looks to me. Thank you for helping her.

I am a bit tearful now as I re-tell this here. It was a beautiful statement and a wonderful sentiment.

The doctor thinks that having had the pressure relieved on her brain, he expects her brain to "come up again" and re-expand to occupy the full space in her skull. This really was excellent news.

I must say, I cannot believe it is only Wednesday. I feel as if I have had a life time packed into the last three days.

A lifetime.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 2, 2007 08:51 AM | TrackBack

Our prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by: Robbo the Llama Butcher at May 2, 2007 09:18 AM

Oh, my, RP. I'm so glad she came through. Your mom is in my thoughts and prayers. Take good care of yourselves.

Posted by: Kathy at May 2, 2007 10:24 AM

That is indeed a lovely sentiment. I hope your mom gets better soon.

Posted by: maggie at May 2, 2007 11:33 AM

Oh I'm crying, RP! Your father said a beautiful thing.

As for your mom wanting to kill mom said a similar thing to me in similar circumstances. It's not uncommon at ALL, please don't be too upset.

{{{{{big huge hugs to you and yours}}}}}

Posted by: Amber at May 2, 2007 11:44 AM

I am so glad it went well.

Thinking of your family and saying prayers for your Mom's recovery.

Posted by: caltechgirl at May 2, 2007 03:32 PM

My very best wishes for your mother's quick and complete recovery, RP. Bless your father for reminding us to look at our loved ones with our hearts and not our eyes.

Posted by: Jocelyn at May 2, 2007 08:27 PM

Oh, bless, my friend.

You and yours continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Christina at May 2, 2007 09:19 PM

I think if I could be put into the body of someone else, even for one day, it would be you. Even during the most tumultuous events, your life is beautiful. Unbelievably beautiful.

I am happy to hear that everything went well.

Now get some sleep.

Posted by: Linda at May 3, 2007 01:33 PM

Thank you all for your beautiful comments. I was really very touched.

Posted by: Random Penseur at May 3, 2007 02:07 PM

I completely burst into tears reading what your father said to the doctor. You have quite a family.
You are in my thoughts. I hope your mother has a smooth recovery.

Posted by: nic at May 3, 2007 04:01 PM

We are thinking about you and your family.. glad the surgery went well . Hope your mom's recovery will be speedy and quick.

Posted by: Kiddoc at May 3, 2007 08:25 PM

That was an awesome sentiment of your dad's. RP.

Strength to all of you...

Posted by: Mark at May 4, 2007 10:59 PM

I am so glad that the doctor brought good news. Your father's statement to the doctor was amazing. Your family is in my prayers.

Posted by: Monica C. at May 7, 2007 05:27 PM

I know I'm way too late to give my virtual hugs. . .but I have to tell you,

I read this to my husband over the dinner table last night. He could barely understand me through my hitches and sobs.

You write so beautifully, Dearheart. And the emotion just clutched at my heart.

Oh, and my hubby wants to know where he can get a picture of your mother at 22 to put in his wallet.

Don't worry. I've already hit him.


Posted by: Margi at May 9, 2007 03:32 PM

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Posted by: Rivenbark at January 16, 2013 08:23 PM
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