My own brand of TLC
I come from a long line of “glass is half empty” kind of people. I am sure, if I tried, I would be able to trace this trait waaaaay back to some Italian ancestors living back in the Old Country. It’s not like we are Debbie Downers with everything, we like babies, weddings and a good sale as much as the next person. However, doctors, tests or sickness bring out our very best negative energy.
Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when my mom whispered to me that she saw “spots” when she closed her left eye. Mom was convinced she had a tumor while I told her to just keep her eyes open (compared to my immediate family I am Suzy Sunshine). Mom ignored my advise and saw an eye doctor – who referred her to an eye specialist who sent her to the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
Not good. Mom’s negative thoughts were out in full force and it didn’t take long before she had self-diagnosed herself – she had a tumor, would die AND go blind. I calmly explained that if she died it wouldn’t matter if she were blind but that was met with a death stare.
Well Mom’s “spots” were actually a melanoma that would require the insertion of radiation “seeds” IN her eye. In know, W-T-F right? The only plus to this situation was that Mom’s hypocondriac-ness got the melanoma caught early and she would be fine. Still the words melanoma and my mom did not go well together so we waited (with a dark cloud over our heads) until the day of Mom’s procedure.
Mom needed to be in Philadelphia at 6am this past Thursday, so at 5am me, mom and bro piled into his Jeep Cherokee and made the trip into the city. Mom and bro were very nervous and attempted some tense small talk in the car and before long we were at Wills. As Mom filled out paperwork I chatted about the break up of KPatt and asked Mom if she wanted me to take pictures with my phone to document her “trip” in Phila.
Before long Mom was called back for pre-op and it was my job to distract her while the nurse and doctors prepped her. For most daughters this would probably entail holding their mom’s hand, being really nice and telling her it was all going to be ok. For me, however, it meant making fun of her to the nurse, asking where all the McDreamys and McSteamys were and advising the anesthesiologist that Mom’s fear of anesthesia stemmed from watching too many episodes of ER and Chicago Hope.
When Mom was in recovery and me and bro went to see her the first thing I did was make fun of her pirate bandage and ask if I could take her picture. Later on when she was settled at her hotel (insurance won’t pay for a hospital stay) I propped Mom up in her bed and let her watch HGTV all day. I brought her meds and ginger ale and offered her all the Percocet and Ativan a girl could ask for (she refused both).
This morning I made Mom go to breakfast in the hotel restaurant (with her pirate patch) and even got her to take a walk to the Readington Terminal Market (even though the “rules” said she was not to leave the room). We ate candy and ice cream and watched Baby Story all afternoon and every once in a while I would even make fun of her hair.
I have to leave Mom tomorrow and go back to my chaotic, crazed life. My aunt will be taking over my “nursing” duties and watching Mom until her second procedure on Monday. Some people may not agree with my “nursing” style. They may think hugs and back rubs work better than sarcasm and jokes but not for me and not for us.
Mom is in much better spirits today and I would like to think my nursing skills are to thank. I will have to call and send her sarcastic texts so it will be like I am still here with her. After all, isn’t that what daughters are for?