31 January 2009

The Thing About My Folks - Mom Edition

My parents have been married for fifty-two years. I wish I could say theirs was a fairy tale marriage but it's more along the lines of Archie & Edith Bunker without the affection. It's not like they hate each other, they are just functionally dysfunctional.

Anyway, the reason for the definition of my parents marriage is to put the following into perspective. I've told stories about my dad previously, so you might already have a preconceived notion.

Friday nights are what Kevin & I call Forced Family Fun. It's dinner out with the Fam (the in-laws) because, really, we just don't spend enough time together being as we all live together. What? me? bitter? No, why do you ask?

We were on the way to dinner last night when my cell rang. It was my parents cell number on the ID so something was up. They always call on the land line and they never use their cell phone. I answered and it was my dad, whom never calls me. *warning! warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!*

It turns out that my mom is in the hospital and is going to have her gall bladder removed. Wait, what??? My mom never gets sick. I actually thought "This is new..."

I asked him if he/she/they wanted me to come down and he said no. He said that I could just come down "sometime tomorrow."
Um, okay...
Usually I rely on Mom giving out the instructions & pertinent information but now Mom's on pain meds and, of course, doesn't want to talk, so I have to rely on my Dad: Mr. I Don't Listen To Anything Anyone Says Because I Don't Want To, to relay important information.

*deep Breath*

He tells me that she'll see the doctor in the morning and then they'll know when the surgery will be. Gall bladder surgery, all-in-all, is not a big deal. My mom is 73 and in relatively good health so this really isn't a freak-out kind of a situation. I get that.


My dad non-challantly says "Yeah, we've been sitting in the ER since 1:00 pm"

It's now 6:30 pm.

WTF is up with that? This is how my parents are. We are kept on a need-to-know basis and five and one half hours later is apparently when we need to know.

*deep breath*

So, we still go to dinner, as per my dads instructions, with the in-laws who were momentarily concerned upon hearing my mom was in the hospital. Then they flipped into that Old Person Attitude thing where they say "Oh, that? I've had THAT. That's no big deal At All."

*whatever* Life goes on...

Kevin and I have a routine Saturday mornings. He gets up early, I do not. Usually he will come wake me up around 8:30 and we'll take Missy to go get a mocha around 10. Kevin didn't turn my cell on this morning and I didn't think about it.

When I turned on my cell at 9:50 am, I had a waiting voicemail. It was my dad leaving a message (at 9:47 am) that Mom was going into surgery in a few minutes and I could come down whenever I wanted.

oh. my. God. seriously. He called the cell and left a message. Not the landline. And he called with minutes to spare prior to the surgery because apparently... I don't even know what to say at this point...

*deep breath*

I realize that it's now been almost a day since she went to the hospital and I don't know which hospital she is even IN. Luckily, there are only two in the county so my odds of finding her are pretty good.

I called Dad back and he said "They're taking her right now. There's no hurry."

*deep breath*

"Well, how long is the surgery going to last?"
"I don't know. Dear? How long is your surgery going to take?"
Oh, for the love of God and all things holy....
There's muffled conversation in the background and the nurse is saying that it should take an hour to two hours.

They are literally getting ready to wheel her out.

*deep breath and trying to use my big girl words*

"Tell Mom I'll see her when she gets out and I'll be there in a little bit"

It's not like hanging out with my dad is even in the top 10 of my most favorite things to do but this definitely falls into the "Things You Must Do With Your Parents" category. I told him I would be down (I live about 30 minutes from the hospital, btw) soon. "Oh, your brother is going to sit with me. You don't really have to come down if you don't want to."

*deep breath*

So, I admit, I do take the scenic route. I can't get there in time to say "see ya" to my mom so I picked up our mail at the post office and took the truck through the car wash because I couldn't tell what color it was anymore.

I get there about an hour later and Dad and Brother Dear are in the waiting room watching television. It's been about an hour since they took her and so it shouldn't be long now for the surgeon to come tell us how it went. No sign of Little Brother (the one who doesn't cope well) and I didn't ask as to his whereabouts because I've had just about all the fun I can stand at this point.

We're sitting there about thirty minutes and Dad starts fiddling with his cell phone. "Dad, what do you need?"

Are you sitting for this next part? Because, really, you should be.

"I have to call the Legion and tell them I might be late for my pinochle game."


*Deep breath*


"I have a pinochle game at 1:00 pm and I want to let them know that I might be late."

At this point, I looked at my brother who crooks an eyebrow and smiles.

Gritting my teeth, I dial 411 on my cell and ask for the Legions telephone number. They give it and it dials. I hand my phone to my dad.

"Hi, Stephanie? I'm in the hospital but I'll be there a few minutes late for my game."
I stage-whisper "DAD, you didn't say Who You Were and YOU'RE not in the hospital."

At this point, Brother Dear and I can't even look at each other. He's clearly trying not to laugh.

Dad hangs up and sits down, satisfied.

Sure enough, the surgeon comes a few minutes later to give us an update. This is the same surgeon that did the five-way bypass on my dad, pre-cancer diagnosis, so he's aware of the family dynamic. (defined as "Non-demonstrative, non-communicative, Functionally Dysfunctional ")

Mom's doing great and she'll be discharged tomorrow, no worries, the surgeon says. Then he asks how Dad is doing.
"I'm fine. I have cancer still."

Now, is it bad when the surgeon actually blanches? Yeah? Okay, I thought so too.

Dr. Mark the Wonder Surgeon rolls with the punches and acknowledges what my dad said and then steers the subject back to my mom. He advises that we go get something to eat as it will be an hour until we can see her.

"Oh, I have a card game in an hour" he says "I'll see her later today."

Again, my brother and I Do. Not. Make. Eye. Contact.

Brother Dear, the saint that he is with my parents, convinces Dad to go get something to eat at the cafeteria. Dad is in between chemo treatments right now (thank God for that) and so he's still fussy about eating.

We go down to the cafeteria and I obnoxiously point out "See, Dad? they have fruit and a salad bar!"
What does he get? a danish.
Sigh...at least he is eating something. "Choosing My Battles", I am singing in my head.

Brother Dear eats a salad and I had just drank Bucket O' Mocha so I didnt' eat anything. They finish and Dad is clearly watching the clock. "Well" he finally says "I have to go so I can be on time."

*deep breath*

Brother Dear offers to walk him to the truck and I head upstairs to Mom's hospital room.

We met a few minutes later and he's shaking his head. "It is what it is." has become his standard statement.

Not much time passes and they wheel my mom in. Now, this is a little disconcerting because my mom is rarely sick. And never has had any health emergencies. But we rolled with it. It's all good.

Oh, and Little Brother, freaking Prince of Darkness "I hope the gall bladder is all that's wrong", has made an appearance.

Brother Dear, very gently, says "Dad went to play cards. He said he'd be back in a little while to check on you." (I know, Brother Dear is such a sweetheart. I just love him)

My mom, post surgery groggy, says "Oh, I know. He asked earlier if he could go..."

That sound? Oh, that's me banging my head on the desk....

Brother Dear just looks at me and shrugs. I guess we should be glad that he asked (?)

It is what it is. And they're not going to change.


Not Your Aunt Bea said...

They remind me of my parents. And hopefully they didn't call you earlier because hospitals are notorious for not letting you know what is going on until the last minute. The hurry up and wait game. Hope she is doing well. I am glad you are there with her.

Dynamita said...

I hope your Mom is doing better! If it's any consolation, I only know one non-dysfunctional family in real life and it's not mine. ;-)

Swistle said...

Deep. Breath.