The Consequences of Constant Pain–and other things that never change.

I haven’t done a venting post in quite some time. Today, I feel the need.

My mother is by no means an easy woman.

That, however, is nothing new, and I long ago resolved that I was not going to change her as she approached 80. What needed to change was how I respond to her. Being married to a therapist for 21 years certainly helps.

As challenging (notice I didn’t say “difficult”) as she can be, no one deserves to be in as much pain as this woman has lived with for most of her life.

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11, her life expectancy in 1946 was into her 50s at most. My father and I used to joke, however, that she would wave goodbye to all of us. Not so funny now.

She has endured six back surgeries, several breast cancer scares and a host of other medical issues.

She is no longer able to walk and cries herself to sleep most nights and in the morning because of the chronic pain from yet another pinched nerve. It’s heartbreaking to talk with her on the phone, and I can’t remember the last conversation when she didn’t cry.

This month, she saw the surgeon that has done her six back surgeries, and reluctantly, he told us that she needs another due to the crumbling condition of her spine. I was traveling the day of the appointment and unable to get to Ft. Myers, so dialed in. My sister–who has stepped up more since my dad died, was also there as was the aide who spends time with my mom for these appointments.

The surgeon would only do it if mom was cleared by her cardiologist and her diabetic doctor.

I am dead set against the surgery, as is my sister. Mom spent months in rehab last time, had a very hard time recovering from the anesthesia, and hasn’t been herself since. I’m not sure what another surgery–without the promise of walking again–will do to her. I worry that she will never return to her assisted living facility.

Admittedly, and ashamedly, I also worry what another surgery will do to my life.

God that worse looks in writing that it sounds in my head.

We are throwing mom an 80th Birthday lunch in July, and the cardiologist appointment has been scheduled for when I am down then. It was the first available appointment.

A side note on the party. We decided to make it a lunch rather than a dinner (lots of octogenarians) and opted to make it a non surprise–other than who’d be there. Mom’s questioned both of those decisions. 

“I would have preferred a dinner.”

“I’d rather it had been a surprise.”

I take it all in stride as she can’t remember the date and at times says she wants nothing to celebrate her 80th.

And so it goes.

She’s lost her will to live, and is not sure she can wait until July. She anxious about a decision we don’t yet need to make until she sees the cardiologist. He’ll either say she’s healthy enough (and then we’ll have to make a decision), or that her heart can’t take the surgery (at which point the decision will have been made for us–my preference).

I’ve stressed that there’s no use thinking about it until then.

She has no recollection of having had a heart attack last surgery and is certain we didn’t tell her–hiding to from her.

She begged me last night to move up the cardiologist appointment which I’m trying to do-against my better judgement.

Although I’ll be down in two weeks, it’s doubtful we can get in at that time.

She’s not sure how much longer she can go on.

My sister informed me that she couldn’t possibly go because she works (I’m not sure WHAT she thinks I do, yet I fly down 10 times a year).

I keep hearing my dad’s voice telling me to “let it go,” which I’m struggling to do.

It’s always been on me, and always will be. I lose sleep over it; I stress over it.

And so it goes. Some things never change and never will.

I wish her peace and no pain-whichever way it goes.

~ by Butch on May 16, 2015.

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