Thankfully my Mom came through her bilateral knee replacement surgery with flying colors. I almost hugged her surgeon when he approached us in the waiting room with the good news! She didn’t encounter any physical issues or setbacks during the surgery and he expected a full, albeit it painful, recovery.
We were prepared for her to be uncomfortable, but I don’t think anybody is ever ready to witness the suffering of somebody that they love. Seeing her grimace and hearing her moan from the slightest movements of her legs has been torturous. I wish that I could take on the recovery for her. Watching her I felt so helpless, but I’m sure that is how she felt as she stood by and supported me through all of my leg surgeries.
Since we couldn’t take away the pain, my sister and I took up residency in her room and vowed to make her as comfortable as possible. We employed all of teacher honed organizational skills keeping her medications charted and on track, along with making sure the various leg machines and pumps were being used at the prescribed intervals. Since pain medications are prescribed on an “as needed” basis, the onus fell to us to let the staff know when they were needed.
It turns out that my sister is an excellent timekeeper. She had everything programmed into her phone and within a few hours we were able to get my Mom’s pain under control. She kept all medications and therapy protocols implemented with precision timing.
I was delegated the “muscle” of our advocacy team. I was responsible for politely reminding the nurses and securing whatever my Mom needed. Not wanted to be perceived as an annoyance, and recognizing the power the staff yields over the comfort level afforded to my Mom, I decided to sweeten our favor by bringing in cookies and pastries each morning. After all, cookies and cupcakes make everybody a little more forgiving!
The past few days have been arduous, but I witnessed something amazing. I have always known that my Mom is a strong woman, but the past 72 hours have afforded me the opportunity to see the depths of her strength. Every therapist, nurse and physician who came in contact with her remarked that she has been doing phenomenally well. She is walking with more ease than the patients who are recovering from a single knee replacement. I know that her recovery will be painful, but all worries and doubts about the ultimate outcome have been erased. I know that she is going to be just fine!