I’m glued to a chair in the corner of a hospital waiting room. I considered wearing a sign that reads “Do Not Even THINK About Sitting Anywhere Near Me” but I’m pretty sure the look on my face is conveying that just fine. I’m waiting for the surgeon to come back out and let me know that I can head back to recovery. Chris is at home rearranging the room downstairs that we use as an office or actually a more accurate description would be “kids art explosion area.” He’s tossing piles of art supplies and half completed works of grandeur into bins, breaking down the table and will then be moving Riley’s bed down into it. Thing is…it’s not for Riley. Riley is playing Barbies with Papi (Chris’s Dad)…she’s having a lovely day. We’re in emergency mode…I’m at the hospital, Chris is readying the house and it’s not for Riley. This is familiar ground for us…not hard to step back into these roles…these roles that according to our life events we were born and bred for.
My Mom fell yesterday…she was finishing a haircut and in one wrong move got tangled in the cord of a blow dryer that she’d clearly offended at some point because it took her down. Hard. She landed directly on her left leg on the tile floor. She couldn’t move…typical scene ensued. Paramedics were called, I was called. I ran into the salon and there she was…flat on the floor surrounded by a hoard of adorable medics who proceeded to pump her full of morphine and me full of questions. I followed the ambulance to the hospital, Chris met me there…ER, X-Rays, questions, consent, vitals, questions, nurses, doctors, information…all so familiar but this time I was advocating for my Mom the patient instead of my Daughter the patient. Quite the turn of events. My poor Mom. Of all the assholes on this planet that deserve the pain of a bone broken in two she is not one of them. Not even close. She had gotten tickets for me to take Presley to Mathilda last night and insisted I leave and not miss it…leaving a hospital is not my strong suit. I stay. I don’t leave. I stay. She was adamant and already feeling terrible that her tumble was the reason for me spending another moment surrounded by medical staff so I decided to let her win that battle. Chris stayed with her and I left while placing bets with them on who would be a bigger shit to the doctors in my absence. Riley stayed with Deena, I went to the play and Chris was at my moms side. Once again our little tribe of humans banded together to get through crisis one moment, one task, one person at a time. Presley loved the play and while my mind was elsewhere I did my best to focus every bit of my energy on being present with her…she needs that…she’s still stuck sitting in the backseat and the least I can do is strap in next to her sometimes.
Chris and I both got home around 10:30…he waited until her pain seemed better managed and she was able to drift off to a hospital version of sleep before he slipped away. We relieved Deena of her auntie duties, I laid Pres down for bed and then snuck in to give Riley her meds. At some point after that I took a deep breath. Another day down. Another plot twist. Another opportunity to persist. The next hour wasn’t so glamorous…I attempted to clean and tidy…or ignore and avoid, whatever you want to call it. I packed Presleys lunch so vigorously it was as though I was being chased by a battalion of soldiers brandishing weapons loaded with tears and if I didn’t get the grapes washed and in the bag in time they’d gun me down. They did. Those fuckers were fast. It was a flood, I was hit from all sides….just a mess of emotions…all the overwhelming events, facts, twists and turns in our world…mess. My daughter and now my Mom. Why? Ugh. Poor Chris. I recovered…well actually I just forced myself to go to bed. Same thing, right?
This morning I woke up and just knew I had to be calm. Today wasn’t a day to fix anything. Just breathe. Just ask for help when you need it and fucking breathe. I got Presley ready for the day and just as we walked into the classroom I knelt down to kiss her goodbye when suddenly her eyes welled up with tears.
“Pres…what is it kiddo?”
Her chin quivered.
“Mommy…I wanted to wear a special outfit today too like everybody else”
I turned and scanned the other students in her classroom…it wasn’t the usual sea of navy blue polos…there were frilly skirts and Pokemon t-shirts…Shit. It’s picture day…it’s free dress day. I forgot.
“Drop your backpack kid…we’re going home to change”
Tears. Gone. God I wish it was always that easy. She giggled as we sprinted all the way back to the car. There are so few days in her life where I can control her heartache but this one…this one I could fix and you bet your ass I took advantage of that gift and we fixed it. She was late…late donning a smile and a fuchsia dress. Maybe today was a day to fix.
I stayed glued to that chair all afternoon, scowling at any approaching humans until her surgery was completed. The surgeon came out, gave me the brief rundown which is basically that the injury which they expected to require a partial replacement ended up necessitating a complete hip replacement. My experience tells me I’ll get a full run down of what to expect in the coming days, weeks and months as far as recovery tomorrow. My experience also tells me that what I can realistically expect is that what they tell us may not be accurate to actual reality but we will get through it all the same.
As with every other situation our family has faced we will have ups and downs and spend a ridiculous amount of our waking hours re-framing our thinking and focusing on the positives. She is okay. The surgery went great. And while it seems timing couldn’t be worse in all reality with Chris and I’s immediate schedules cleared for Rileys care and my brother coming in with his family for a visit tomorrow it turns out that it’s just not that bad. If this had happened just a few weeks ago when Riley was still admitted, intubated…oh jeez…I can’t even. There I go with the re-framing…oh perspective…you rarely fail me. Riley is all sorts of ready to play nurse to Binky when she arrives here at compound Brown. I’m sure they’ll share some battle stories, swap strength and take turns bossing us all around.
I’m guessing it goes without saying but you know all that positive juju y’all have sent Riley’s way for years?…Shoot some my moms way as well. Many of you know and love her from here to the moon but for those who don’t…she’s dear to me and a really big deal to Miss Riley so we need her back in action pronto.