Daddy is having knee replacement tomorrow, at 78, his second one. My husband has had two so this will be our fourth new knee in the family! I know under normal conditions that recovery from knee replacement is tough and factoring in Mama’s condition makes it… interesting. Mama was always a caregiver, taking pies and cakes and casseroles to people who were sick, visiting, taking friends out to lunch who couldn’t drive, just loving on people. After Daddy’s last surgery though, while at the hospital, she was so confused and out of sorts it was difficult to watch. She wouldn’t talk, she would reach to grab Daddy’s leg without thinking, she would take off down the hall without notice and we’d be off chasing her. When he came home, there was no peace for him or her. She became so flustered that he was not himself and this made him worse in more ways than one. She even threw his phone at him one day narrowly missing his new knee, just so not Mama. She required more watching than Daddy.
That was two years ago.
This time, Daddy is thankfully going away to rehab for about three weeks to get better. While he’ll be physically recovering, we are determined to make it a mental break for him in spite of his giving out instructions to bring his mail, his phone, his laptop. That’s just Daddy and I can’t imagine him any other way and if those things make him happy and keep him going, that’s fine by me. I’m going over today for further instructions:) All that being said, we are still hoping this will be a mental break from having someone waiting on him in the truck to GO, waiting in the driveway for him to get home, a break from the questions, the crying, the pacing, from watching the doors, from reminding Mama to chew and swallow, let alone eat, from hiding cookies and candy (at which he excels).
Daddy is trying not to act afraid but he is – his age, his heart condition, Mama, what would happen to her if something happens to him. He needs prayer for peace.
Mama needs prayer for peace too although she doesn’t know it. We’ve not told her about the surgery and we’re not sure if we will. We’re taking it one day at a time and know the break for her can go really well… or not. As I type this, I realize Daddy’s the one having surgery and recovery but almost 100% of our attention is focused on Mama’s care, rightfully and necessarily so, but what an odd reality. No matter what chaos is going on in the world around Mama though, her world is always safe and secure and she knows no difference, and that is a blessing.
Other blessings are getting to spend this time with Mama, times I know are fleeting while she remembers me. But also, her inability to grasp time will allow her to hopefully believe that Daddy’s just gone for a couple of days on a business trip. I know how time flies for me these days and for her it’s like lightning. When he gets back, her normal will likely return quickly and as terrible as this sounds, sadly, so will his normal.
My brother and I, and our families, will also gain a new perspective and appreciation for what Daddy experiences when we’re not there and I may become an expert cookie hider:) I can’t help but laugh at Daddy leaving her one cookie for the day on the counter and Lord knows, I mustn’t forget to do that! She’ll probably remember that!
I know this quick little chapter doesn’t start until tomorrow but I send a heartfelt thank you to all of you wonderful people who are constantly loving our family and saying, “What can I do to help?” and to dear Margaret Kelley with Home Instead. Margaret has become a lifeline for us and I don’t know what we’d do without her. She’s a new friend to Mama every time she comes to the door but Margaret loves Mama and we love her.
Despite it all, we are simply blessed.