It’s snowing this morning. I sit at my desk, looking out the window and thinking. I don’t care for snow, even though it’s beautiful. I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to be anywhere today. I have the luxury of simply sitting and watching the snowflakes fall.
I find myself thinking about my mother. She recently had her hip replaced at age 63. It was a long, tough surgery. My suspicions that she had osteoporosis were confirmed. Her bones were thinner and more brittle than realized, but the surgeon was able to successfully complete the procedure.
I cried the first time I saw her post surgery. She didn’t look like my mother, but rather a haggard, diseased stranger. She was exhausted and in tremendous pain, but when I asked if she planned to walk soon, she nodded her head furiously.
She took her first steps the next morning, and when I saw her again two days post surgery, she looked like herself. She walked slowly down the hall, clutching her walker and grimacing. It hurt, but she was determined to walk. The quicker and farther she walked, the faster she could go home.
Her doctor was shocked by her progress. I wasn’t.
My mother was diagnosed with liver disease almost 10 years ago. One day she was fine and the next day she wasn’t. She was admitted to the hospital, and the doctors didn’t seem to have much hope. We were told to “prepare ourselves.”
My father was in denial, so my brothers and I stepped in. We made funeral arrangements. I bought a black dress and wrote her eulogy. We waited.
Then she did the one thing no one expected her to do. She started getting better. She fought back, determined to get out of the hospital by early May. My younger brother was graduating college then, and she wasn’t going to miss it.
When early May arrived, she asked her doctors about being discharged so she could attend graduation. They told her no, so she came up with “Plan B.” That involved me putting her in a wheelchair under the guise of going for a walk. We just failed to mention that the walk involved going out to the parking garage to my car, and then driving over to the university for the graduation ceremony. We were back at the hospital by early afternoon. No one even realized we were gone.
It was during this time when I realized just how strong and tough my mother is in times of crisis. She ended up being discharged from the hospital three months after she was admitted. The doctors who were so sure she would die ended up writing a medical paper on her case. She taught us an important lesson: never underestimate her.
My mother is home now, and she continues to walk a little more each day. She inspires me with each step she takes. She is fearless. I want to be, too.