Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mama and My Birthday: Nothing is Ever Easy With Mama

It's 9:16 in the morning of my 51st birthday.  They've just taken her back for the first of several procedures.  We don't know exactly what procedures, only that they will or won't show her eligibility to have world-class cutting-edge-technology surgery at Ochsner's Heart and Vascular Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Favorite Child paid for me and Mama to come over Monday evening and stay in Southern Suites Marriott.  There was a ground floor accessible room.

We took it.  Our delight in finding the queen bed squishy comfortable was only dimmed by the affable and warmly friendly staff and easy access back to Ochsner's.

 Easy, that is, once google maps was re-consulted to make sure where we were was where I thought we should be. Joy!  We were closer!  It's amazing what a change in directional course can do for navigation!

Mama didn't eat this morning, her gut instinct of standard-fasting-before-testing proven true.  They're doing an angiogram now, three and a half hours after our arrival here.  We left the hotel at 8:11, arriving here at 8:37, almost an hour before her check-in time.

 "Well, you can never tell about weather or traffic."  I know she wanted to add "or your driving,"  but didn't.  It's my birthday, you know.  Less passive-aggressiveness is her special gift to me today.

This is not an easy trip for her osteo-arthritic bones to make.  Riding jostles her last good nerve that's managed to remain healthy enough to be considered 'good' some fifty years now.  She'll be stiff and stove up for sure going home tomorrow or Thursday afternoon. I'm glad Joe is coming over and she's riding back with him. Favorite Child always has an analgesic effect on that nerve.

She's difficult to live with when she's scared.  She wants me as close as possible here today.  She's glad there's no hotel room tonight.  She told me, "I won't have to be scared with you in the room."

 Scared?  No way...  It's a hospital with real security officers with real guns.  She's scared she will hurt beyond the normal hurts?  No. She's scared she can't be strong without me.

I'd like her healthy enough to not use me as an excuse for any negative thing in her life.  I'd love for her to be healthy enough that I don't use her as an excuse to not excel.  Joseph Heller's Catch 22 is everpresent as I find the very situation that can make my situation better can only make it worse.

Brrrrrr.... At 2:35 I'm sitting in room 309 on the short stay cardiac wing - waiting for Mama!  Some cute creole wearing scrubs and a sweater fetched me from the brightly lit CathLab waiting area to this cave-ish sort of room of maximum efficiency and minimal space.

Reba's come over with specialty birthdaycupcakes
and gumbo!  I had a little of each cupcake (the pralines are my favorite, devil's food with peanut butter cream icing a close second).    The gumbo is pretty good, too,
but I've had better closer to home.

The thermostat was on 68 when I walked in.  It was promptly dialed up to 80.  Mama can't stand the cold.  She's already going to be ill as a hornet from hunger; a cold room would certainly finish off that last remaining nerve.

At 3:30 Dr. Ramee comes in, her blood pressure is dropping, he'd like to put a stent in the coronary artery that's blocked.  He believes it will help.

At 4:30 Dr. Ramee's physician's assistant, Kristen, fetches me and Reba from the room, bringing us around the way, past the darkening walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, to the waiting area of the cardiac care unit.  There was no time for the stent, epinephrine was begun when Dr. Raymee went back to her side at 3:30, her blood pressure continuing to drop to critical levels from an anaphylactic reaction to the contrast used for the angiogram.

It's my concern, my fear, that something will go horribly wrong.  Something will happen and not only will I be left without Mama, I'll be at the end of creative energy.  The last of good deep thoughts will have come and gone and nothing innovative is left.  I'll be one of Those People.  You know the ones.  You shake your head and you say "Poor Thing, what will she do now?"

She has to fit the parameters of the trial study;  has to have this almost non-invasive surgery to fix the aortic stenosis.  We have to live...

And here I am, at 10:28 in the evening of my birth day, thankful to be another year older, even more thankful my mother's at a world class hospital and her cardiologist literally writes the text book on high-risk cardiac care.

It's been something else but I wouldn't expect anything less.  After all, nothing is ever easy with Mama...


  1. Oh, Honey...All I can do is offer you virtual support, good thoughts and a prayer kept in my heart that you have strength in this situation. I understand.

    With much love and hope for a good outcome for all,
    Deborah aka Miss Bee

  2. Mary, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your mama, I pray she gets through this ok and gets back to making her totes! I wish there was something else I could say to give you strength and courage but my mind is blank. A BIG hug to you and also one for mama!!

  3. Such a precious and sweet photo of you and Mama...Prayin' that you both can get some much needed rest and GOOD SLEEP! Asking that He will send His angels to minister to you both.
    Love you, Diane G. Rochester

  4. Mary u know your Mobile kin, sejva & dsva, are praying for a quick recovery and lots of comfort moments for you both. Our Lord Jesus is sending His special angels to you now...Love from Mobile folk.

  5. Mary, Tonight I am praying for strength and stamina for your Mama as she goes through this work, procedure, and healing time. I pray for rest for your body, soul, and spirit to strengthen you in all you need to be for Mama and for yourself through this.
    The photo of you and your Mama is priceless.
    Janie Upchurch

  6. Prayers to you for strength today and healing for your Mom. It is tough (for all) going through sickness, but just always remember the good Lord only puts on you what you can take.
    Look forward to you getting home and back to the sewing of tote bags!

  7. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Hope everything turns out good for you. Happy Birthday.

  8. Mary you and Mama are within the powers of our loving Savior and his Blessings will keep you going. I am putting her on our Prayer Chain for A little backup also. Even in the hardest of times your stories brighten my day and I feel A connection because of my Momma who is A lot like yours. Keep us all posted on her recovery. Love Jan

  9. I can honestly say I have been there. He wasn't my mother, but my journey with grandad was just as difficult and filled with love. As you know I moved home to help with my family. Grandad's failing heart was fixed but old age and the hardships that come with it were too much and I did have to say goodbye, and now my 100% unwavering attention is on my own father. A life I was just starting to get used to turned around quicker than I had time to mourn its loss. These words are not meant to make you sad or to scare you but to let you know I think of you and your struggles and I pray for you every day. I don't make new years resolutions, but I have a new life resolution and it is to have no regrets. And I know I will have no regrets about the time I am spending with the people who have supported me and given me life. Even if these are not the plans I thought I had made for myself, what I am doing and living is so much more important than any plans I could have ever made. I have found a strength in you in the short time I have known you and I hope I can be a little strength for you too. And remember I am just up I-10 so do NOT hesitate to ask me for anything you need while you are in New Orleans.

  10. Mary, praying for your MaMa God will take care of her. I need to read or at least check your blogs daily. Happy belated Birthday.

  11. Mama is very strong woman! And Mary is a wonderful daughter..... :o)