For most women the ‘Big Day’ refers to the one imagined by pimpled teenagers at the back of double math. You know the one. The one with the white gown, man of dreams and promise of happily ever after. For my mother, the ‘Big Day’ now refers to the one imagined by those living with Lymphoedema. You know the one. The one with white hospital gown, doctor of dreams and promise of ‘just as good as before’.
Today was that very day.
At 6am the alarm grabbed me by the collar and yanked me out of restful slumber. The screen flashed ‘MUM’S SURGERY’. I dialed her number with zombie precision thinking it would be really nice to catch her right before her surgery to giver her my love and forgetting that the use of mobile devices is generally frowned upon in the hospital setting. I got the answering service. “Hi ma, was hoping to catch you before your surgery… oh well… just wanted to tell you that…” BEEP! YOUR MESSAGE WILL BE FORWARDED AS A TEXT MESSAGE TO THE DIALED NUMBER. Grr.
I dialed Dads number. Success! Mum’s in pre-op. She will be in surgery for just over 7 hrs. 7 hrs… The very thought made my heart swell and my breath shudder. Not that this was new information. I knew. We all knew. It all just felt very different standing before it. Dad said he would keep me posted.
The day was longer than I expected. I kept glancing at the clock thinking, ‘Geeze… I have caught a bus, a train, another train, taught art and english, sung Happy Birthday, taught science, scolded students for not cleaning the kitchen and been scolded for not cleaning the classroom… and all the while Mum has been out cold, on the table.
It is 4.30pm and I am getting nervous. No news for 9 hrs. My hands are sweaty and I have had too much coffee.
5.30pm… 6.00pm… 6.30pm…
The phone rings. Its Dad. Mum’s in recovery.
The ‘Big Day’ is done.
I breathe for the first time today and cross my fingers for the promise of ‘just as good as before’. And maybe a honeymoon.
xo The Daughter.
Mum – What I was hoping to say this morning (when I was so rudely cut off by the 10 sec answering service… tutt tutt)… was… I am so incredibly proud to be your daughter. To have a strong and brave mother… who took a risk on uncertain outcomes… and recording it here so that others may better understand… I wanted to tell you that I love you and that my dream for you is to see you back at Clovelly, with your bevy of beauties, the sun bouncing off the ocean and lighting each of your smiling faces. To see you swim and walk without fear or bandages… and I promise to be with you all the way.