So my mom is going in for knee replacement surgery a week from today. She chose to do it now, while I am ‘home for the winter’ so that I could care for her while she is recovering. She asked if I was willing, and I said ‘sure thing’.
Now, people who know me are probably scratching their heads right now. On one hand, why wouldn’t I agree to help? Out of her seven kids, I’m an obvious choice since I work from home and ‘home’ can be wherever I have an internet connection. But on the other hand, I am the kind of person who says “How can I support you without actually having to, you know, be there, near you?”
In general, I don’t do caregiving.
It’s not a lack of compassion. It is...well. It's a kind of terror. My first instinct is to run away. Pain makes me uncomfortable. Other people’s pain, that is. I have a fairly high pain threshold myself, as long as I’m allowed to whine about it. But other people’s pain?
When Mom was in hospital after her colon cancer surgery, I visited before her pain was really under control. I thought I was going to throw up, I was so upset. I wanted to drag a nurse into her room to give her drugs immediately. And I wanted drugs of my own to calm me down.
As her knee surgery approaches, I have moments of wondering what on earth I was thinking.
Now, I know she will have ~3 days in hospital before she comes home, and nurses and therapists coming to the house to change dressings and that sort of thing. So really all I will be doing is running errands and being her go-fer. Walking the dog. Being there in case she needs help. Being a companion. Actually being there really will be fine.
It is the anticipation that makes me wonder, and worry, and question the decision that led to me being ‘the one.’ That is a lack of confidence. I worry I will say or do the wrong thing, something to make matters worse. That I won't be in the right place to stop a fall. That I won't notice a serious problem....
I guess the bottom line is that I don’t want to let Mom down. She has always been rock solid, and to have her wellbeing in any way dependent on me is rather frightening.
But it will be fine. A fine, stretchy experience for me. Really.