Thursday, 25 July 2013

On being prepared

Yesterday I spent the day in town and found myself unexpectedly challenged when I ordered a simple coffee and a muffin for breakfast. Poor mum was fasting ready to check into hospital at 11am, and if I was a really good daughter I might have fasted with her, but I felt like I needed to have some breakfast if I was going to get through the day. It's not easy taking your mum into hospital. It must be harder when you are the one who is going in for surgery! Anyway, so that I didn't end up a jittery wreck I got myself that coffee and muffin while mum was off finding a loo and doing some window shopping. The challenge came when I had a look at what was delivered to the table. The other day I wrote about rubbish and plastic in the oceans and suddenly I was confronted with a coffee and a muffin that came with:

  • a plastic knife
  • a plastic spoon
  • a plastic packet with some butter in it

It's hard not to be caught like this. It reminded me that I'm part of the problem of rubbish too. I already knew that, but I wasn't ready to be reminded quite so soon; this was really confronting for me. I carefully wrapped up the spoon and the knife and put them in my bag to take home and wash and the plan is to put them in a box in the car for using when I'm on the road. What it really made me think is that if I thought about it a bit I could take a thermos and a snack with me when I head out. But the reality is that I probably wouldn't do that on a trip to the city. The other thing I can do is to be thoughtful about where I buy my coffee and muffin next time. If I look for a cafe that doesn't supply plastic implements then I can be making a choice that ultimately is better for the environment. If you know of any in Hobart, let me know. I am suddenly aware of the need to think ahead and be prepared. 

Mum had her surgery much later in the day than we expected and I'm pleased to share with you that all went well. It was my privilege to be able to be there to support her. We were all putting on relaxed and happy faces prior to her going off for the anaesthetic, and I did feel confident that all would be well, but still it is a little bit stressful when you consider that people can die during operations. I was so pleased when I could see her afterwards in the ward, but was a bit shocked to find a very pale and very shaky mum in the bed. She was cold and was shaking from that and probably a bit of shock. I held her hands. At the seniors First Aid session we had attended together last week, the man talked about the importance of touch for reassurance, and how patients' heart rates and breathing settle down when they have that human contact. It felt natural for me to do that anyway. I wanted to transfer my warmth and my love to her. She talked and dozed. A warmed blanket was brought in and placed underneath the other bed covers to help warm her too. Nurses came and checked her blood pressure and temperature every 15 or 20 minutes. I was a little bit worried, but then, she had only just come out of surgery and I think even though we are anaethetised, our brains are still aware of what has been done and is trying to make sense of it all and deal with it. No wonder we shake a little. Apart from warming our bodies, shaking helps to dissipate  stress. There is even shaking therapy out there somewhere for just that purpose. 

Thankfully after a little more sleep and a cup of tea and some analgesics, I saw the colour return to her face and I knew that my precious mum was going to be ok. It's funny because we really never know when someone heads out the door if we will ever see them again. Accidents happen. People can die very suddenly without warning, but most of the time we don't even think about it. Somehow when someone you love goes into hospital for an operation, even though they are surrounded by people watching every sign and every symptom, even though there is every whiz-bang piece of equipment to support them and all that vast knowledge of the human body and how to repair it and keep it going...somehow it brings it into sharp focus that you could lose that person today. It's a good reminder to be present and to enjoy the moments you have together. It's a reminder not to take people for granted. 

I appreciate each and every one of you who visit my blog. Thank you for taking the time to pop in. I hope you take something good and worthwhile away with you. Love to you all xox

1 comment:

  1. So glad your mum came thru the op ok Kerry and hope she continues to do well. I never got on with mine when we were younger, but i do remember her being ill and the possibility of losing her. Whatever you think of a parent, that can be quite frightening.
    I was quite interested in the 'touch for reassurance' comment, as i am not a touchy feely person, so i wonder if after an op that would have a good or bad affect on me. I will let you know!! Love to you and your parents, it must have been such a worrying time for your dad. As to the patient, i think they are normally the calmer ones in these situations and its those that love them that are left to worry! xx