Don’t Hurt My Mommy!

Something finally clicked for me: I don’t trust the healthcare system, especially not hospitals. I don’t. They do horrible things. They take babies away from new mothers. They might cut you without your permission. They don’t give you the information you need. They poke and prod you. They make you sit around naked for hours not knowing why you’re waiting. They don’t let you eat or drink after midnight. IVs – enough said. They might send you home while you still need help. They might prescribe you something that gives you hallucinations and delusions and keeps you from eating, and talk your caregiver into giving it to you against her best instincts.

Worst of all, they keep taking people away from me! They took my grandfather when I was only 4. They took my dad. They took my grandmother, and my great-aunt who was like a grandmother to me. Most recently, they took my uncle. The logical part of me knows these loved ones were in the hospital because they were sick, and died because the medical interventions available weren’t enough to keep them alive. But the irrational part of me sees my loved ones walking into hospitals and coming out of them in coffins.

And now my mother is in the hospital. Her double knee replacement surgery went well. She’s recovering just fine. I even got to talk to her; she was groggy but using complete sentences and already able to move her legs a little bit. But they made her wait 3 extra hours before doing the surgery and they’re not feeding her or even letting her drink water. And they poked her with lots of painful needles.

Grr!!! I’m feeling very protective of her, very angry. I don’t like that she’s over there and I’m over here and even if I were there I’d be powerless to protect or help her. I can smuggle in clothes and food she likes and other things she deems necessary. I can keep her company. But I can’t do anything about her condition and I can’t prevent them from causing her more discomfort. I have to be caregiver but I don’t know how to give care.

And I’m afraid that the same thing will happen to her that happened with Dad. The last time I saw him, I was overwhelmed by my own painful emotions. I had trouble getting past all the stuff he was hooked up to, the appearance of his failing health, and interacting with him. I was horrified and very, very sad. It put a wall between us. He didn’t want me to see him like that; he didn’t want to see me like that. I feel guilty – in his hour of greatest need I betrayed him. I feel angry – in my hour of greatest need, I was betrayed. Whether by him or by the system that didn’t provide us the support we needed to come together as a family, to interact with love instead of fear and death … that moment remains seared in my memory and on my heart, a painful scar that can never be healed.

Tomorrow I have to visit my mother in the hospital. She’ll probably be bedridden, both her knees still bandaged. Possibly still groggy, with tubes coming out of her. A dreaded IV. *shudders* The hospital look. Smell. Sounds. All of which I’ve grown to hate and fear. If I could I would puff myself up to 10 times my size, put out my claws, bare my teeth, and give everyone death glares. I would growl so loudly the earth would tremble. YOU WILL NOT HURT MY MOTHER!!! YOU WILL NOT TAKE HER FROM ME!!! SHE IS MINE!!!

mama-bear

But I can’t really do anything. This was her choice. It’s something she needed. It’s done. She needs to be in their care, and I need her to be there too because I wouldn’t know the first thing to do for her and frankly I couldn’t deal with it. But I’m worried about her and I’m worried because I haven’t been able to work on the paper due Thursday. Somehow I doubt I’ll be able to do much on it tomorrow, either. The biggest distraction: everyone is turning to me to find out how she’s doing. I can’t handle all the phone calls.

At least they’re concerned about me, too. It helps to know that people care. I just wish my aunt hadn’t told me to “enjoy tonight, because tomorrow all hell breaks loose.”

PANIC!!!

This is it. Mom’s surgery is tomorrow; I have to get her to the hospital precisely 12 hours from the time I’m writing this! She needs me to do about a million things! Take care of the dog. Bring her clothes and food. Do her laundry and grocery shopping. Check on things. Possibly pay bills. Put out her garbage (I have a hard enough time remembering to put mine out!). Drive her places until she’s able to drive herself. Call everyone to let them know how the surgery went. I’m probably forgetting something.

I have to juggle all this with my own shit. Schoolwork; I have a paper due Thursday and I really don’t think I’m going to be able to work on it much before then. I tried the past couple days but the reading was too much for me. And for some reason my mother having DOUBLE KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY didn’t register as a scheduling conflict that I should report to my instructor in advance. *facepalm*

I can’t really tell if it’s meds or lack of sleep or strong emotions or dehydration or someone has a voodoo doll but my muscles keep tensing up. Sometimes they hold me in one position for a long time (during which I usually feel overwhelmed by or swept away in random, disjointed thoughts, but sometimes I’m hyper aware of the outside world with not much going on inside). Sometimes they cause my limbs to jerk. Sometimes I think I initiate a spasm to get myself out of being stuck. That was me “this morning” – aka 2:00pm when I finally became awake enough to contemplate getting out of bed. Talking to Fox on the phone helped, but soon after we hung up I was stuck again (for a short time).

And then … I had to cut my conversation with Mom short because I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack. I needed to get away, I needed to ground myself. I knew then that I wasn’t going to get any work done on the paper tonight. Damnit!!! Mental images: a knife slashing my left arm. Possibly my neck.

WHY?!!!

I’m surprised my hair is still capable of looking normal after all the times I’ve run my fingers through it in frustration and anxiety. I can’t scream and I can’t cry. The light is too bright and the sound of my computer fan is driving me crazy! No amount of water can ever quench my thirst.

I want to let go but I’m too afraid to. To relax. To cry. To play music. Something. I’m suspended in space and time, forever exploding, fragmented, in pain, a silent scream.  I can’t live and I can’t die. And I can’t sleep.