Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good thing I have a strong stomach, oh but it sucks I am such a Nervous nellie.

Went with Mom last week to the plastic surgeon, as we thought she had an infection.  Nope, turns out just some dying flesh.  He cleaned it up, showed her how to keep it clean, and sent us on our way.  Very cool guy, very accommodating to my morbid curiosity.  And by curiosity, I mean standing over his shoulder, breathing his exhaled air.

Went back to the doc today, for a little re-check.  Soon as Mom laid down on the table I got the shock of my life.  There is a HUGE GAPING WOUND where the under wire in a bra would hit.  Like, breast separating from chest.  Once I got my breath back, doc told me to sit down, that I wasn't helping.  After about 20 minutes of debriding dead flesh, the gaping hole was much LARGER.  Fascinated and repulsed at the same time, I couldn't stop staring and asking questions.  He thinks I am either some complete nut job, or have missed my calling.  Probably the former, because of the enthusiasm.

 Doc then taught me how to give it a wet/dry pack…which needs to be done several times a day. Last week Mom did all her own cleaning and caring for herself, which was nice.  I needed the break.  Seriously needed the break.  I knew she was feeling better when she was able to get my goat one night, and I packed up all my stuff, and stormed out.

So now, I will be going back over a couple times a day to make sure BGW (Big.  Gaping.  Wound.) is being treated okay, and is in fact not becoming EVEN BIGGER GAPING WOUND.  We go back next Monday for another check.  Doc didn’t make me feel better, kept asking her if she had been smoking (no way, I’d know) or been around smokers (nope).  He can’t figure out why her skin is not doing so well (in my head I was screaming, “um, maybe because she smoked for 50+ years????”).  He’s only seen this happen TWICE during his career.  Of course!

Before the surgery, I had been a bit concerned about Mom’s mental acuity.  She was asking the same questions, always forgetting things I told her, etc.  Since my grandmother died of dementia, I am scared shitless the same thing will befall Mom.  It’s pretty much guaranteed because of drinking.   You see, I come from a ling line of alcoholics.  Lady alcoholics too!  Mom would outright deny it (of course, don't we all?  HA!), but normal drinkers don't drink EVERY day.  Just a little something I picked up at AA.  Or in my addiction classes.  I'm no expert, oh wait...I AM.  Anyway, Mom is a prime candidate for alcohol induced dementia. Grandma had quit YEARS before she started suffering from it, but Mom still drinks.   Not since the surgery though, or so she says.  Haven't seen any evidence of it, but I am not going to go searching the trash can for empty wine bottles either.

Anyway, since the surgery, something has been just nagging me.   She SWEARS she hasn’t had pain meds in well over a week.  Her gait is very slow, she’s not real steady on her feet, she kinda sounds like she’s slurring at times, but mostly has a firm grip on reality.  Mostly.  Doc told me to watch her, and take her to her General Practitioner if I think something is amiss.  Now, Mom was in the room when I asked the doc about her mental fitness last week.  So she knows I am worried.  Today, out of thin air she says “I wish they had told me about how badly the anesthesia would affect my body, I still don’t feel right.”  Then she noted the grim look I had on my face, and started saying she was fine, everything was okay.  So I told her I didn’t think anesthesia stayed in your body more than a few days, and again, she was all dismissive and joking around about her old body (she's 68).

I took Mom to her see her therapist a little later in the week, and was a little surprised when she asked if I could sit in. I took the opportunity to bring up the slurred speech, and was very happy to hear that the therapist had noticed it too. Well, not HAPPY, but you know, glad someone else is hearing it too. So chat resumed, and therapist asked me at the end about any concerns, and she said she didn't think it was a stroke, because she noticed it BEFORE the surgery. Man, I about jumped out of my chair and hugged her.

I was just profoundly uncomfortable thinking about having this whole conversation with Mom about her memory, the slurring, which would inevitably end up with the drinking. So when her therapist said she had been noticing it, and she didn't think it was stroke related, that door had been broached for me. Good news is I don't feel all sneaky now, looking for corroboration, and also that Mom really trusts and likes this lady (known her for 25 years!).

Therapist told Mom she is worried she is not eating enough (more backup for me, since I have been nagging her about food for 2.5 weeks now), has told her to stay away from people smoking(not just me saying it!), and has given her the third degree about taking her vitamins and making an appointment to do her follow up physical therapy (that Mom had been pooh-poohing to me).

Felt glad and sad leaving, poor Mom was all quiet and said "I didn't know I had been slurring, no one has said anything to me about it."

I am so thankful a health care professional (she's a nurse too) sees what I see too. She also told me to call her any time with concerns. Poor woman has no idea what she just opened herself up to.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"You're just like your mother." SAY THAT TO MY FACE!

I love my Mom very, very much.  We've had a bumpy but loving relationship my whole life.  She has a salty mouth, a wicked, morbid  sense of humor and is very charming.  She has very little patience, will complain about a beautiful day, can manipulate like a champ, and is stubborn as all get out.  She loves the finer things in life, but can get down and dirty on a farm frighteningly quick.  Mom is an unrepentant feminist, but pines over an asshole who treats her like complete and utter shit. Cam thinks her Grammie is the Bee's Knees.  First smile?  For Grammie.  First laugh?  For Grammie.  I don't know what it is, but children love Mom.  Can't get enough of her.  I know she keeps kibble in her pocket for her Pug, maybe she keeps cookies in her other pocket for babies....

She's an enigma of sorts, being able to go from one extreme to the next and back again in the blink of an eye.  We argue frequently, and no one can get my Irish up faster.  She's a button pusher, and being that all my buttons are placed where SHE put them, she gets me good.  On good days I am proud to be my mother's daughter, on others, I curse the universe for dumping me in the wrong family.  But it can't be the wrong family, because we are too damn alike.  I have never met a stronger, more stoic woman.  Still, watching her for 7.5 weeks while my Dad lay dying, I was struck by how childlike my mother could be.  Almost unbelievable optimism...which then just became denial.  Mom wasn't who she had always been.  She was vulnerable, and unsure of everything.  It was a very ugly and messy grieving period.  One day black with grief, the next bright and optimistic, ready to move on.  And she did.  Then Breast Cancer rolled back in after a 25 year retreat.

The last several weeks have been exhausting for me.  For the first 10 days I was with her everyday.  Spent the night every night when she came home, save for one.  We had a blow up after a week, and I haven't spent the night since.  I learned a valuable lesson: don't hide pain meds from your mother.  I did it out of concern.  I wasn't being a COMPLETE asshole.  Last thing I wanted to do was come back to find her laid out like Heath Ledger with empty pill and wine bottles.

I went home to have dinner with Rob, she had been off pain meds for 24 hours, so she was pretty lucid.  I called to check up on her after dinner (we live less than 1/2 a mile away from each other), and she was fine, going back to bed.  Cool...I could watch some TV with my husband, relax a little.  Went back to her place around 10 that night, and saw an angrily scrawled note asking about her meds.  Just as I was about to settle into the sofa, I heard the clipped, angry voice of my mother from a darkened room.  I was instantly 15 again.  "Where are my pain pills?" as she then started grumbling under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear "I birthed two children"..."I am not 12 years old".  I fessed up that I took the pills with me, but with a 15 year old's attitude, and slammed them back on the table.  I had hit my limit.  Patience gone, I started stalking around her place collecting all my goods.  I start looking for my blanket.  Yes, I am almost 40, and have a "special" blanket.  That is an issue for another day.  I see my blankey, on the floor, splayed out in front of the sofa.  I am pretty sure I screamed "WHY IS MY BLANKET ON THE FLOOR LIKE THAT?!?!?", as I stood there indignant and shaking with rage.  She said quietly, with no emotion in her voice: "I spilled something."  Sweet jesus.  She spilled something?  And used BLANKEY to clean it up????  My mind was reeling as she said "I thought it was you sisters."  Damn you woman, that was another button pushed, this time one meant to make me laugh?  Probably.

Righteous in anger (NOBODY puts blankey on the floor!!), her parting shot was "why are you so upset?  You're acting like a little baby."  I literally choked on my words, but managed to spit out "YOUR WELCOME!!!" with as much venom as I could muster, and slammed the door on my way out.

Not my finest hour.  As I was descending the stairs from her condo, I was awash with shame and guilt, but was also still extremely pissed.  By the time I hit the front door (a mere minutes later), I was seething.  Rob, not so good with deciphering moods, started laughing and said "Back so soon?".  It was then I broke down and started sobbing.  Anger, anxiety, frustration, fear, all came tumbling out in the form of a very snotty nose and leaky eyes.  Rob was a very good husband that night.

The next morning, I bit the bullet, and called to apologize for my behavior.  History has shown me, Mom does not EVER apologize.  And will only make the first move if a big-ass bottle of wine is involved.  All was okay between us again, or maybe not.  She has a very long memory, and a bank FULL of resentments.

One day I will tell her how the first night I slept over with her she insisted someone else was in the house.  Luckily she now lives in a small condo and I had secured all the doors moments before, and was confident that was nonsense, or I would have freaked the fuck OUT.  Or how she was constantly asking me every two hours for more pain meds, in the middle of the night, then getting highly incensed when I refused.  How she became so constipated from the Oxycodone that she begged me to find the turkey baster(?!?!?!?) to, in her words, "help your old mother out".  How for at least 7 days, she slept nearly 24/7, and talked through most of it. 

So yes, I love my mother dearly, but it's complicated. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Too many times to count.

I am a loser.  Again.  I tried donating blood yet again today, only to be turned away fro low iron.  AGAIN.  In the last week I made it my business to eat as much red meat as possible, ate enough spinach last night to make Popeye jealous, and have been down Raisinettes, all in vain.  Not sure why my blood has decided to betray me, but I am growing increasingly frustrated. Come Monday morning I will be ringing up my General Practitioner to find out what is wrong with me.

I normally have such a love/hate relationship with the American Red Cross, I love what they do, but usually find their screeners and vampires to be lacking in the social skills set.  Today was different though.  The young woman who screened me was very friendly, and felt bad that I couldn't donate.  Empathy, thy name is not usually Red Cross worker!  So I gave them a shout out by contacting the coordinator to let them know how helpful and nice she was. 

Since I am a tip-toe away from turning 40, I have started writing all sorts of letters to people:  hospital administrators, senators & congressmen, editor at our hometown newspaper, etc.  I may have to re-think what age I am turning, I may be becoming an angry 75 year old man.  ;)  Anyway, it occurred to me that always writing complaints was focusing a little too much on the negative, even if they were polished and professional, so I am going to start writing letters that acknowledge good service and the like. 

So if I cannot donate my honorable veteran O- blood, at least I will be giving something positive back to my community. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is it too much to ask? Really?

When I am speaking to you, dear husband, is it really that hard to look away form your computer?  Definitely one of my top 5 Pet Peeves.  Yes, I know I was only regaling you with a story of how I totally kicked ass at an online Boggle competition, but it is a fascinating story, because I AM THE ONE TELLING IT.  Sheesh.

Tonight is Bingo night.  I didn't go last week, because it was Cam's birthday.  So it feels like forever since I was out of the house for anything other than doctors appointments, errands, and AA meetings.  Okay, the AA meetings are way more fun than I let on to Rob; playing the martyr has it's privileges.  And yes, I do know how sad it sounds that I am looking so forward to a night out of the house playing Bingo.   Admitting it is the first step, after all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Cam is all decked out for the day of love.  We are going to participate in a rally at our State Capital this evening for gay marriage, as our legislature is about to vote on it this week.  We were asked to wear red, I think Cam has it covered.  :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthday pain.

We had Cam's birthday party today.  We invited my siblings, their spouses and kids, my mother, Rob's father, and our four really good friends and their kids.  So a small party of 18 (including wee ones), with just an ice cream cake and beverages.  I am not a huge fan of throwing parties and our house is really just a doll house, so this was perfect.  We waited until the last people arrived, waited about five minutes and then got the cake ready.

Important note:  If you have a Bruster's around you, make sure you get the vanilla and strawberry with yellow cake.  It is to die for.  I have been dreaming of this birthday cake since November when my best friend had one for her daughter's third birthday.  So good.  Nom nom nom. And I ordered one for 25 people so I would have plenty left-over.  I now have half a delicious ice cream cake waiting for me in our freezer.  It brings me the kind of joy that having a full liquor cabinet used to bring me:  immeasurable.

While everyone is making small talk, I go get the cake, plop the "1" candle down on it, place the cake in front of Cam, light the candle, start singing....and that's right about the time Cam grabs the candle.  In all my life, I have never seen a baby grab the candle, which might explain my slow reflexes in grabbing her hand.  At that point, it's the open-mouthed silent scream, followed by the saddest wail I have ever heard.  Tears are literally shooting out of her eyes landing on me and the tray, and she's trapped in her seat, with everyone still singing...and laughing.  Because that's what adults do in our family, we laugh at your pain.  I cannot wait to see the video.  I try shoving Cam's offended fingers into the cold ice cream, but she is now flailing her arms and looking at me like "What the FUCK, mother!?!" while screaming louder.

I lick enough of the purple icing and ice cream off, to see no red mark, no blister, nothing, but still she cries.  I wrangle her out of the seat, and do what any good mother would:  I found a cookie and gave it to her, effectively teaching her that emotional AND physical pain is overcome with delicious baked goods.  When she develops an eating disorder, I can come back to this post and see where it all began.  Cam calmed down immediately.  I mean, who wouldn't, it was a Raspberry Milano by Pepperidge Farm?  Back in her seat, cookie in hand, tears assuaged.  My poor sister-in-law tried in vain to get the obligatory baby-devours-and-becomes-sticky-mess picture, but Cam wouldn't touch the trauma-inducing cake.  She nibbled the cookie to death, then begrudgingly touched the melted puddle, and realized it was tasty.  You could see the surprise on her face, eyebrows shot up, and she smacked her lips.

My fervent hope is that my kid doesn't now associate birthday cakes as sugary masses of pain, because that would just SUCK.  For me, her birthday cake -loving-mother.  Happy Birthday Campbell, next year I promise I won't try to burn you.  :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cam is ONE!!!

Today our beautiful, funny, feisty baby girl is a year old.  This past year has flown by in a way that is hard for me to fathom.  Every day this kid does something that makes me smile, laugh, shake my head in amazement, and puts a tear in my eye.  She's been healthy, and has met almost all milestones on time, or more often than not, early.  It was her first milestone, smiling, that caused me some grief and panic.  Cam didn't give a hint of a smile for what seemed like an eternity, but now thinking back, I cannot remember how long it took.  It wasn't long after what the books say is "normal", but like the new mother I was, I thought her not smiling was some huge issue.

My baby girl is walking now.  After months and months of cruising the furniture she let go and has been a walking machine since.  She loves to bounce, "dance", bop her head to the music, clap, and wiggle.  She is not crazy about stairs, and will not climb anything.  She had one run-in with the stairs, and that was enough for her.  Cam loves to brush her teeth, and will hold her head still and open wide for me to brush, as long as I let her take the brush when I am done.  She clearly understands simple commands, and loves our Pugs and cats.  She squeals with delight when she sees Zelda (female Pug), and is learning what "gentle" means.

Cam has, generally, a very sweet nature.  She smiles brightly and loves to engage those around her.  When thwarted or frustrated, she will let us know FAST, but will calm down very quickly when soothed.  To me, this means she knows what she likes, and what she doesn't, but will accommodate accordingly.

I love this little baby girl more than I ever thought was possible.  It's corny and it's predictable: this child changed my life for the better, in every way.  She is the Cat's Pajamas, the Bees Knees.  I hope I am a good mother to her, and that she always knows she is loved beyond measure and that no matter what, she will always be my little Babycakes.

Happy birthday Cam!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Coming home.

I typed this while waiting for the nurse to come show me how to attend my mother's drains, because today she got booted from the hospital.

Mom is being released from the hospital today.   On one hand I am pissed that she’s being forced out, when she clearly needs 24 hour care, but on the other hand at least I will KNOW she is being taken care of at home (by me and a few of her very good friends).  

Got to her room this morning to find her drugged out of her mind, alone, and trying to change into her clothes.  She has three drains from her wounds, to manage them, they safety-pinned them into her hospital gown.  Had I been just a minute later she would have yanked all three of them out of her body.  Gag.  I’ve been here over an hour, and the only staff I have seen is the damn lunch lady.  I am extremely pissed, but it would do me no good, so I will save my energy for a scathing letter to the hospital letting them know I find their services lacking.  I confirmed my slide into old-lady-hood last year when I became a letter-writer.  Correction: angry letter writer.

Getting Mom dressed was a piece of cake compared to getting the rat’s nest that is her hair under control.  It’s just past shoulder length, and evidently has not been taken care of by the fantastic nursing staff here.  I am most assuredly NOT a girly-girl, so standing for 25 minutes trying to get the knots out of my drugged mother’s hair without having her yelp in pain WHILE having her pepper me with nonsensical questions was a challenge.  I gave up completely when it was time to use accessories to pull it back.   Soon as I was down brushing, she snapped back to reality to get the hair done, then asked if I’d let the cat back out.  Um, okay.   And no, she does not, and has never had, a cat.

Back to real time.  It's now, thankfully, Thursday night.  I have had time to reflect on the day, and am appalled at a new low in cell phone use:  nurses attending one patient (MY MOTHER!!) while attending to another’s needs over the phone.  There is no way that can be safe.  Or ethical.  Or good CUSTOMER SERVICE.

So while the nurse was trying to show me how to clean my mother's drains (something I won't burden y'all with), that fucking phone rang three times.  Three times that nurse stopped what we were doing to talk about another patient.  Not once did that nurse apologize for being so damn rude.  Seriously: how can you be focused on your patient when you are talking about another??  That letter to the hospital is just getting longer, and longer.

I am just so happy she is home, and safely tucked in her bed.  Her very dear friend of 30 + years is on duty right now.  If you can, I highly recommend befriending an LPN who also happens to be a retired Colonel in the Air Force, because they rock.  As I was leaving this afternoon she had threatened my mother with no more pain meds til she ate, and I know she meant it.  Unfortunately for her, the Valium that Mom had taken 20 minutes earlier had kicked in, so her threats fell flat as my mother wondered why she needed to know what venue Jimmy Buffett was playing.  That was my cue to leave to get some time in with Cam and Rob.  I go back at 2100 for night duty.

Valuable lesson I learned today: don't leave the Valium and Oxycodone where the patient can easily find them, because they really aren't the best judge of time and consumption.  "Really.  Grandpa, you need to get in know what will happen if you don't..."  

I'd really like to know what would happen to poor Grandpa.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Must be feeling inspired.

Twelve hours is a long time to be in a hospital.  Waiting.  If I believed in Hell, hospital waiting rooms would most certainly qualify as a special section.  The Loud Family.  The man coughing up that phlegm for two hours, sitting directly behind me.  I may be deaf in one ear from trying to drown out the sound. 

Anyone that knows me knows I am a little OCD about cleanliness.  You can probably see how being in a hospital waiting room might drive me over the edge.  Just a little bit.  I had forgotten just how gross I used to feel after coming home from the hospital when my Dad was sick.  It all came rushing back last night when I came home and wanted to throw all my clothes in a bag and burn them.  As it were, I used a goodly amount of Lysol wipes to wipe down my laptop and everything else I had with me. 

My poor mother, in her drugged state, looked around her room and said "this is pretty nice.....and it's really clean."  Um, okay.  I had been in the room for five minutes and had made a mental note of all the things not to touch, and what the cleaning crew needed to pay attention to. 

Mom is doing well today.  Breasts don't hurt, but her stomach sure as hell does.  She and I both have a very high tolerance to pain, so when she was getting a little snippy about a pain pill this afternoon, I stood over the nurse until she promised to bring one in RIGHT AWAY.  The plastic surgeon came in to check her out this morning, and he was pleased with his work, and had the very demeanor of what I would expect a plastic surgeon to have: haughty and dismissive.  I bet there are tons of nurses who would like to see him as one of their patients, if you know what I mean. 

I normally have a very strong stomach, and love watching shows on surgical procedures.  But when the doctor took back the bandages and started poking the "new" flesh my stomach lurched.  I hope the fake smile I had plastered on my face didn't make me look like a serial killer, but I was struggling to maintain composure.  I thank the universe for making Mom's best friend a nurse, a nurse who has volunteered to change her bandages and empty her drains.  I cannot even go into the drains right now.  Must be because it's my mother, because I don't ever remember feeling nauseous when looking at the MANY horrors that afflicted my dad when he was in the hospital.

Mom is the last parent I have.  As a kid and young adult, I had spares.  First, my step-mother died from a very rare form of cancer when she was just 32.  My bio Dad (whom I was estranged from) was 62 (I think...) when he died from diabetes/Hep C/alcoholism/who knows what else.  Now his death was particularly hard on Mom.  Even though they had been divorced for YEARS (since I was about a year old), it really killed a little piece of her.  Didn't help that my sister, who had been kind of keeping tabs on him let her duty slip, until one day she couldn't reach him.  She called Mom, and Mom found him dead on the floor of his apartment.  He'd been there a few days.  By the way, that stench does NOT come out after they clean the carpets.  Just sayin'.  Emptying that apartment goes down on my list of five least favorite days of my life.  When my Dad died (actually, step-dad), it was long and awful.  Ended up being multiple organ failure, but started out as a heart attack.  Really, it was alcoholism and a heart weakened by it.  A truly horrific, ugly way to die.

So Mom is IT.  It REALLY hit me last night.  It used to stress me out, being a kid with extra parents, and now I am down to one.  It was tough watching her sleep last night, her face contorted in pain.  Mom and I have MANY differences, but our personalities are exactly the same, so we annoy the shit out of each other, but love each other fiercely.  My Mom is the strongest woman I know, and today I am very proud of her, but a little scared too.
I wrote this yesterday while waiting for my Mom's surgery to conclude.  The hospital network blocks blogs, evidently, because I wasn't able to get into mine, or any of the others I always read...

My Mom is undergoing a mastectomy today.  She is a 25 year survivor of breast cancer, having undergone a lumpectomy and radiation back in the 80’s.  She is strong, ornery, funny, and possibly the only person I know who could roll on back for a mastectomy laughing and cracking up the nurses.

Because Mom was only 42 when she first had the cancer, I have been getting mammograms twice a year now for at least four years, if not longer.   So, ladies, do your self-exams AND get a DIGITAL mammogram.  Do it for yourself, but also do it for all those that love you and count on you to be here a while. 
So while Mom is getting one removed, she is getting the other lifted, and the removed breast reconstructed.  Oh, and a tummy tuck.  Hells yeah, while you have the plastic surgeon in there mucking about, WHY NOT got the extra mile and get the stomach tuned up?  I have to admit, I am a little jealous.  Of my mother…who has breast cancer.  That sounds callous, but she’d understand and laugh.  Nothing I haven’t said to her face.  Once we get her a new hip, Mom will be a new and improved model, and she might be able to find me a new Daddy!  

That is our little joke.  Mom has been married twice.  One ended in divorce (my bio dad) and one in death (my step-dad, my beloved Pop).  When Pop died almost two years ago, it was traumatic of course, but we are not the maudlin type.  Mom and I were out to lunch a week or so later, and the waiter was a very nice older gentleman.  Mom recognized this in him, and I asked “will he be my new Daddy??”  She cracked up, and since then she always points out potential “Daddys” to me. 
While Mom has been in surgery I have been sitting in the family lobby, treating it as my own personal office.  Free Wi-Fi!  Comfy chairs to set up camp in.  The sprawl of my stuff, grows by the hour.  Stacks of magazines (untouched), iTouch, cell phone, tea mug, back pack, snacks.  No one knows me here.  I have been left alone ALL day, except for when the surgeon came out to let me know how removal went.  It’s been a glorious day free of any and all responsibility, well except to call about 20 people on her list of “must” calls.  Saving that for later, I loathe the telephone.

Which leads me to a funny story involving a lobby full of tense people waiting on surgical outcomes of loved ones, and one old lady on a cell phone.  She was considerate enough to walk away from the waiting area, but loud enough that people on floors 3, 4, 5, and 6 probably know about the potty habits of her daughter’s dog.  She talked for a good 45 minutes, perhaps longer, because I didn’t hear Regis’ annoying voice in the background any more.  Anyway, I would normally be the first one to start mumbling like a sociopath about ignorant cell phone users, but this time I was blissfully engrossed with Facebook when I heard other people bitching and joking about her.  Caught one woman’s eye and gave her the knowing nod, and left it at that.  Some old guy between us seem bewildered, like he had no idea what any of were talking about.  Until…

…she came and sat down right next to him.  I literally spit some of my tea out.  The woman I exchanged the nod with (the loudest of the bitchers) went immediately rigid, red, and stared silently in front of her.  The guy next to me got up and actually left (no empty seats to move to…he he), and everything was awkwardly quiet.  Of course it was then that the nurse came back to get me, interrupting what was sure to be more awkward fun to behold.

Where Mom was prepped was a long corridor of little rooms with just thin curtains separating rooms.  I sat down, got all comfy and heard a very  booming male voice start to tell a story about a pregnant mule.  When I caught Mom’s eye, she clucked her tongue and said “that guy hasn’t shut the hell up since I got back here”.   It was then that my SIL texted me to ask how things were going, and what time surgery was supposed to be.  I answered her back saying that I hope they are on time, because Mom is also notoriously impatient.  SIL’s reply:  “they’d be smart to drug her now.”  I love my family.