Tuesday, March 17, 2009

patching up the hole

My mom's vitrectomy (eye surgery) is at 5:30 a.m. this morning. It is 1:05 a.m. and I'm bouncing off the walls because I made the mistake of inhaling a full-size Snickers bar at 9:45. Bad idea.

I've been at my parents' house for a few days and haven't been online. So now that there's little chance that someone will call my mother from other continents, I am attempting to check email, twitter and the blogs. On dialup. Dialup in general is very frustrating--Google Reader doesn't even register when you're checking gmail in basic HTML view--so I may just give up soon.

My mom's massage chair-like "Face-Down Recovery" apparatus arrived on Saturday. The delivery person adjusted it for her and showed her how they expected her to see anything when her face is planted into a pillow with a hole in it: A considerably warped "mirror" made of folded plastic that makes you feel like you're looking through your grandmother's bifocals. Horrid. H and I rigged up a much more effective one with a hand mirror, Velcro, electrical tape and my magnetic locker mirror from high school. Nothing's going to keep my momma from enjoying her Hindi soap operas in their full blingtastic-fashion glory.

Unfortunately, despite the badass viewing experience we created, the longest my mom could bear to sit in the chair was fifteen minutes. I even had to sit in it for half an hour to prove that it wasn't the most miserable activity in the universe, after which she accused me of "just saying that to make her feel better."

If you think it's insane that I can't watch tv without doing at least one other thing at the same time, you haven't seen my mother in action. It takes me a full day to accomplish what she does in a few hours. And if you lend a hand in her kitchen and don't hear some form of "move your hands and feet faster," either she's not feeling well or you're not in the right kitchen.

This surgery is supposed to repair the macular hole in the central part of her retina, which could leave her blind if it goes unsuccessfully treated.

During the operation, the surgeon first gently removes the vitreous gel with a procedure called vitrectomy. This eliminates any traction on the macula. A gas bubble is injected in the eye to place gentle pressure on the macula and help the hole to seal. In many cases, patients enjoy functional vision after the bubble has dissipated and the eye has healed.

To keep gravitational pressure on her macula, she has to sit face-down for "23 and a half hours a day for 10-15 days." So it's going to be torture for her to be stuck in a chair/lying-down contraption at the mercy of slower and more incompetent family members like myself. As I've described before, my mom is a nurse who can be a terrible patient. I've compiled a list of people to call when (not if) she gets unruly and doesn't follow orders. Top of the list? My brother, who has more than earned the right to yell at her about these matters. In fact, he can probably employ some of the lines she's used on him during all those months of open-heart-surgery recovery when he was stubborn and rude and cranky and in pain and unable to eat or even drink a thing. I'm sure the reminder of what she's had to watch him go through will be enough to keep her in line.

But in case that doesn't faze her, I'll play my trump card: Reminding her that if she wants to see what those future grandchildren look like, she needs to suck it up and make a full recovery.

14 comments:

cc said...

cc and co. hope your mom has a speedy recovery and that she listens to you!

SupaCoo said...

Best of luck to your mom on a quick and perfect surgery! That does not sound like fun AT ALL but I guess it is for a very important reason.

Anonymous said...

Blingtastic - I like that.

We are rooting for your Mom. I'm sure everything will work out fine - doctors aways peddle the worst case scenario to make them look better when it doesn't happen.

If your Mom needs any ideas for how to stay in one place for 23+ hours, we can send pictures of our cat.

omar said...

Hope it's going (or more likely, it went) well!!

sarahmk said...

Ah, yes, the grandchild card - the ultimate trump card.

I hope your Mom has a speedy recovery!

Jon said...

I certainly hope she listens! Maybe remind her that if she doesn't follow orders and they have to go back in, the second time will only be worse. Also, don't be afraid to duct tape her to the chair.

Good vibes being sent your way!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Why oh whyyyy are parents so stubborn? Want to hear a joke? My mother was chatting with someone today who complained that her father is a very stubborn old man.

Not long after that conversation, I had a min-fight with my mum to get her to eat healthy.

SIGHHHHHHHH.

I hope your mamma listens and takes good care so she heals well.

Anonymous said...

I hope your mom feels better soon. She should think of this down time (pun intended) as an opportunity to appreciate being able to multi-task.

Cool Cat said...

good vibes to your mom!!!

Willowtree said...

Hoping Mom feels better soon!

marty said...

Good luck with your mom! I agree that the grandchild card is your best bet!

Anonymous said...

You are an angel sent from heaven.
Your mom would not be able to do this without you..After talking to
her, while she had her 15mins off the chair she told me she could not
do this without you and that she now knows she did a good job raising you and your brother, like there was ever any doubt in my mind! I will continue to keep her
in my prayers! And you too!

Eclectic Bride said...

I like the trump card, sorry for the snickers....they are just so good though, no?

I'm going to link to the envelope posts since we sent out all the invites (before I took a picture of your beautiful work)This weekend has been nuts and it's not even over.

cadiz12 said...

thanks for your warm wishes, everyone! mom is doing better; expect a followup post shortly.