Monday, June 1, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Total Knee Replacement

Today my mom got a new knee. She's been struggling with intense pain for about a year. She finally couldn't stand it anymore, we found a great surgeon, and she signed up for a total knee replacement. My step-father, brother, sister-in-law, and I were there to see her off to surgery. I turned back after we said our good-byes and watched as the very capable nursing staff wheeled her down the hall. There was something frightening about seeing my mom head through those double doors. I wanted to watch the surgery, like I've seen so many times on Grey's Anatomy, but there was no gallery. So I was out in the waiting room with my family, just waiting.

There's something disconcerting about watching our parents get older, something so hard about watching how we begin to take care of them and worry about them the way that they cared for and worried about us for so long. I couldn't sleep much last night. I know that total knee replacement is a standard surgery. Over 400,000 Americans have them every year. But this one of the 400,000 was my mom and I only have 1 of her. And I was worried.

As it turns out the surgeon, Dr. Thompson, and the exceptional staff at Saint Francis Hospital took amazing care of her and she came through the surgery just fine. Better than fine. She woke up from the anesthesia smiling and asked the surgeon, "so how did it go?" That's my mom - optimistic almost to the point of delusion. And in this instance, that optimism was the very best thing she could have.

I hung around with my mom until she got her dinner and I was sure she was settled. We were watching the evening news in her hospital room as Katie Couric described the details of GM's bankruptcy filing. The government, meaning the tax payers, now own 70% of GM. Mom turned to me, smiling from ear to ear. "Christa, how great a day is this?! I got a new knee and I own General Motors."

I laughed out loud. "That's right, Mom. Today was a good day."

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