Friday, January 1, 2010


My mother is being operated on today for a couple of spinal tumors. I found out this morning via a phone call from my father. My mother fell a while back, and then they started finding more problems and prescribing things, and last night she was taken to the ER. An MRI showed what they think has been causing it, but I think no one was expecting this. I have been feeling for a while that she was declining pretty fast, but this is a shocking turn of events. They should know more this afternoon.

My mother is not a strong woman, and I have a lot of concern for the outcome. Depending on the results of the surgery, I also am really worried about her recovery. Ever since I saw the house that my parents bought for their retirement, I have had it in the back of my mind how much trouble they could potentially have as they get older. Their house is full of stairs. There are stairs going up to the front door. There are stairs between the garage and the kitchen, the living room, and their bedroom. There are stairs going up to the second floor, and more stairs leading to the deck out back, that is a maze of – you guessed it – more stairs. And then stairs down to the back of the house, and more going out to the garden area. To say that this layout didn’t strike me as the wisest choice for a couple of aging people is a gross understatement.

When my dear Labradors had to have cancer surgery themselves a few years ago, while we were living in that house, I struggled with this problem, and one had to stay longer at the Vet’s because she wasn’t able to negotiate the stairs with her stitches being where they were. That time is fresh in my mind, today, as I think about the stairs between my parents’ beds and their bathroom.

My father said that he has had to carry my mother. I imagine him falling with her in his arms. I know how stubborn they both are. I hope it won’t be as bad as that.

Ever the staunch atheist, he is asking people today to pray for my mother. I get that he is afraid, but I find this interesting, all the same. This must be his foxhole.

My thoughts keep going from a deep gratitude that I and my daughter are as healthy as we are, to wondering what the impact my mother’s future will have on the family. It is not a stable house of cards on a good day. It most likely will not be pretty. If I were still there, it wouldn’t be much help, judging by how my mother’s pneumonia went last year.

I’ve had a feeling for a while that something was coming. I’m glad we moved when we did. I hope there is better news from California soon.


  1. Oh I hope your Mother has a successful surgery and a speedy (and uncomplicated) recovery.


  2. I was going to pray no matter what you guys believed. :)

  3. Mala: Thank you so much. No news yet.

    Kate: I believe in the strength of the human spirit, and I am thankful for your good wishes!

  4. I am so so sorry! I can't imagine how you must be feeling.
    I'm not a practicing anything, but I send warm and loving thoughts to you in CO and to them in CA.
    Smooches to you :)

  5. Mary: Thank you for that - We are all just hoping for good news soon.

  6. The good news is that they've discovered what the problem was, now let's just hope that they've fixed it.

    Having been through this year with my own mother's problems, I know it's not easy when your folks get old.

    I'll be sending you and your folks good thoughts, as well.

  7. Frank: Our family has produced a lot of tough old ladies, but sadly, my mother isn't one of them. She isn't a fighter, and last year was really an eye opener when she had pneumonia. This may prove to be too much for her. I really appreciate that you know what it's like, Frank. Thank you.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I'm sending positive & healing thoughts her way, my friend.

    I lost my dad this year, so I know that sinking (and vague premonition) feeling all too well. If you ever need to talk, pls. let me know.

    Hopefully your mom will tough this out and have many more good years ahead!


  9. Bev: Good to know. Thank you so much.