Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Since I moved away to go to grad school, Mom has written an email every weekday morning. I reply to them each evening and so we communicate every day. We generally speak on the phone during the weekends, though lately she takes advantage of her cable internet to send notes on days she doesn’t work.

It’s how she begins her day and how I end mine, though I’m sometimes scolded if I forget to reply. We trade stories and complaints and weather reports, but as they years have gone by and we’ve both acclimated to being apart, the notes often are reduced to, “Very tired and busy. Love you lots.”

I mention this not because it’s particularly important - though it is a nice facet of our relationship, I think - but because my heart tugged when I realized something last night. I’d puzzled over my decision to title this week of posts with days of the week. I was worried, tired and distracted when I filled in the blank at the top of the composition screen, and picked “Monday” when I first started to journal the events of being home.

The subject line of each email Mom sends me is the day of the week on which the message is written. Which, again, isn’t necessarily important (and makes it hard as hell to find a note because I have thousands of the suckers that are noted by Thursday rather than some description of the information they contain), but it’s one of those small quirks that has crossed generations and incorporated itself into my little brain. I know you, my brain thinks when I look at her with varying degrees of exasperation or worry but constant love, and you’re not normal or right at the moment.

But her word choices and tones are ones I often employ. Events that make her smile and programs that have her reaching to change the channel are also largely shared. We giggle together, and I cried a little when we laughed this morning – loud enough to wake my sleeping father – upon hearing that my dog was the new owner of a harness so as to avoid independent movements through the neighborhood. Mom is impressed with Friend’s idea and hopes it works, though I’ll require an update at some point since she remains curious about the outcome.

The theme of the day seems to be Compazine is a Godsend. After she takes it, there is peace and the ability to eat and sleep and laugh. She took it at midnight and we spent the hours from 1-2AM going through her work email on the laptop she brought home. She made decisions and I took dictation and was profoundly relieved that she was remembering passwords and order numbers and comfortably handling the professional problems that have cropped up in her absence. Also, when the sickness recedes, it is possible for her to focus on her knees and she keeps up with pain meds very well and is moving more comfortably. We have three more of the precious anti-nausea miracles and we’re not quite making it 12 hours before I give her another. So my goal for tomorrow will be obtaining more from the surgeon. I’m up for it.

“Does she sleep 20 hours a day?” I heard Dad grouse this morning. After being up again with Mom at 4, I told him it was all him at 6.

“Do you want me to get up?” He mumbled, having gone to bed around 8 the night before.

“No.” I offered. “She’s sleeping now, but if she pages, you go.”

I didn’t hear him rise and make coffee, though I do remember them talking as they walked together. The wheels on the walker make a distinctive sound. And I did consider getting up, but morning storms lulled me back to slumber each time. But when I heard the 20 hours a day comment, I started to wonder how late it was. I’d rested for 5 hours and scowled when I heard him coming down the hall.

“Are you OK?” He asked even as Mom called for him to leave me alone.

“Fine.” I huffed, then took my glasses from where they hang on the headboard, slipped them on my nose and wandered down the hall to sit next to Mom. I rubbed her back while she smiled weakly and asked if I’d rested enough. I nodded, went to check the chart of medications we have going, then came back to cuddle some more.

“Well, since you’re up, I’m going to go clean the floor of the new garage!” Dad announced, waiting nervously for one of us to refuse. We both waved him away, so he happily scampered off to freedom, moving cars and dragging out hoses so he can finally put down the epoxy finish on his new floor.

“Jackass.” I said after I heard the garage door close. “20 hours. He’s the one who sleeps all the time!”

“He wanted to go outside.” Mom explained, and I rolled my eyes.

“You’re getting sick again.” I noted, checking the time and deciding it was fine to have more Compazine. Within 10 minutes afterward, she was asleep, knees carefully elevated and iced (I’m getting good at the routine), new water obtained and old dishes cleared away.

I could work – she’s resting a lot and just likes to wake to see someone around. But I find I’m unfocused, rewriting even these sentences because they don’t quite make sense on the first try. I’m not sure if my psyche – so connected to and adoring of my mother – is disturbed that she’s not well and can’t quite get it together, or if I’m just tired. Work seems very far away, but my list wasn’t short or unimportant. So I should try to get to a few pieces of it.


I did make it through an abstract for the dreaded retreat. I struggled to write just a few sentences. We have continued to struggle with nausea - hers triggers mine - but she has tried mightily to move around today. She's out of the couch for the first time since I got home (apart from trips to the bathroom) and is situated in the recliner. I hope that helps with the inevitable soreness when one is in one position for too long. She's eaten a couple times and gets another Compazine at 11PM. This will - as Friend informed me - knock her out so she should sleep for several hours then.

We did giggle again at Friend and Chienne's story of the day and Mom does ask after my animals and Friend's accomplishments. We're watching Matilda for a distraction and I've considered and discarded the idea of working some more. It's just too hard to focus right now. I will instead sip water and watch a girl with magical powers. It is, after all, what my mom is doing.


EA said...

Thank goodness for Compazine!!
Four, or five days now into recovery? You guys are getting there...

Amelie said...

Sounds like you're doing a great job! I hope the nausea vanishes soon, and that the knees get better as well. Take care.

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