I didn’t think I would be staying with Aunt Lee as long as I ended up being there.
When she called, she said she was poorly and needed some help and would I mind helping her out for a spell, as she put it. Since it meant time with her, I was more than agreeable–even though she only had an old desk top computer that was running XP–packed up my stuff and DC and headed West.
When I arrived, she told me the full story…bad biopsy, operation scheduled, what may and may not happen. We spent two days in a flurry of doctor visits and lab tests being done and getting her Living Will updated. The night before we had a lovely meal early in the evening, went to bed and rose early to make the 60 minute trip to the hospital where her specialist practiced.
i don’t like hospitals. I don’t like the sounds or smells or the pain you can’t prevent your loved ones from suffering. Both Anne and Bud had a hospital stay when they were small…I remember fitting myself into the crib to hold them at night, forcing my love and will into a stream of energy that I hoped would make them better. Now, I had my beloved Aunt Lee in a bed in pre-op, stuck with tubes, looking terribly frail and suddenly old. I chatted with her, bringing up wicked family gossip that makes us both laugh, the curtain opened and she was wheeled away.
I did what I always do under stress–I ate. And read. And had a candy bar. And prayed. Sent text messages to the children. Waited. Played Candy Crush Saga on my iPad. Waited. When her surgeon came out, I did something you see in movies–I jumped up and the wrappers and my purse and the iPad and everything in my purse fell to the ground all around me.
“She’s fine.”, he said. ”We got everything, I took the surrounding tissue and it has been sent off, but, no sign in her nodes. Right now, I have no reason to have her do chemo or radiation.”
He was my hero. People (me) say surgeons have a God complex…at that point I was glad they do, for the two of them, God and the doctor, had saved my Aunt Lee.
I was there when she woke up, gave her sips of water, held her hand and kept a cool cloth on her forehead. She likes a cool cloth on her forehead when she is ill. She slept quite a bit…surgery is hard on you, and at her age, it is extremely difficult to recover. She advanced to regular food, with intermittent bouts of nausea. On the fifth day they sent her home. Fifteen miles from the hospital, I had to pull over so she could throw up.
It was the beginning of a long difficult recovery.