Patience is not my virtue

So if you’ve ever been in a waiting room, you know that it’s not the prettiest or most comfortable of places to wait on a loved one getting out of surgery. You’re usually surrounded by people who you don’t know; complete strangers who are experiencing some kind of stress, anxiety, and sadness on their own. I mean, usually you’re not jumping up and down for joy in a waiting room, let’s be honest, right?

We had already had a long day and we were tired, and we were hungry, again. And we were anxious to hear how it was going with mom. Time went by, the clock continued to tick, and the hours kept rolling on. We were getting really anxious about the progress and how everything was going.

My sister-in-law packs the best snacks. And always has the handiest of things! She had stocked up on snacks while she was at her sister’s house in Houston, and loaded us all up on crackers, chocolate covered fruit, and whatever else was in her magical bag. Despite the hospital food being good, I welcomed the idea of food from the outside world.

We had each brought either work on a laptop with us or a book to read, something just to pass the time and keep our mind off of what was really going on. Every now and then, we’d glance up at the tv talkshow, or the local hospital programming loop just for a change of scenery.

We would each go in and out to take calls in a separate waiting area, so as not to disturb the deafening silence of the waiting room.

Finally, after what felt like eons, a pound of snacks later, and the re-reading of client emails, the doctor came out and let us know that my mom had made it through surgery! It took quite a bit longer than they expected. I can’t remember how long exactly she was back there, but I know it was more than three or four hours.

We all breathed a sigh of relief.

The surgeon informed us they had had a really hard time getting the stent in to her liver because the tumors were so large. It was a complex and fragile surgery for them to perform, and for her body to undertake. Even so, the stent was in, she was recovering, and now her liver should start to drain the toxins from her body.

Goodbye, spray tan!

I have to say that we were all pretty relieved to hear that mom had done so well, given the bleak outcome just a day before. There had definitely been some moments when I myself wasn’t really sure if she was going to make it through the surgery. Her body was so weak and the cancer had taken over every part of her body that I just wasn’t sure how it would handle being sedated, opened up and worked on. It’s a true testament to my mom’s strength. She had a goal, and she wanted to see it through.

We tried to pick the surgeon’s brain on just how long he thought this newly placed stent would help mom survive. Just like everyone else, he wasn’t able to give an exact timeframe. Every situation is so different, and every body handles the stress and process differently. Two weeks to a few months. That’s all we really knew. Her body was so badly hurt from the Big C, and it had overtaken her and overstayed its welcome.

There really was no getting better, though. Unless you mean her skin returning to a peachy, flesh color versus a horrible spray tan color, then yeah, that’s better.

If you mean she’ll be able to eat a little bit here and there, then yeah, that’s better.

If you mean that the old Kay wit would return to her voice, and she would sound like herself for one small week, then yeah, that’s better.

If you mean that we get the chance to say good morning, mom, tomorrow, then yeah it’s better.

So, we left with a little bit of hope that she would be “better enough” to spend some quality days with all of us, and walk me down the aisle in her lacy green gown with dad.

We packed up our belongings from our stay in that oh-so-accomodating waiting room, and headed back up to one of the hospital floors to meet mom. We waited for her to arrive in the post-surgery room, and when we saw her, she was quite groggy. Actually, I can’t remember if she was alert at all – maybe for just a minute or two.

“You did great, mom,” one of us said.

Another one of us chimed in, “they were able to get the stent in, so that’s really great!”

While we waited (common theme here) for the nurses to run all the checks, my mind raced. We could have lost her today. The surgery had been pushed to the extreme of time limits, and her body almost didn’t make it. Just a day before, her toxicity levels were higher than should be for a person to be alive.

But for tonight, we had mom.