As I sat there praying for my mother, I stopped for a minute. A wave of thoughts flooded through me. I was being selfish, wanting to keep my mom here so that I wouldn’t have to lose her, but she’s completely miserable, & no matter what choice she makes from here, she will still be completely miserable.
“God, if the only way to relieve my mother from this pain and suffering is for you to take her home, then please do so!”
Allow me to elaborate on how I finally came to the realization that after all my mother has been through, she deserves a life free of pain, even if that life is no longer here on earth.
My mom went in for her first knee replacement surgery on December 28th, 2011. The surgery was a success; she was put into subacute, and had loads of physical & occupational therapy ahead of her. Then things went south. My mother developed an infection called corny bacteria. The bacteria went into her new knee replacement and her knee cap actually separated from the joint. After numerous antibiotics & getting her infection under control, her surgeon went back in to attach the knee cap back to the joint, once again surgery went as expected, and everything was fine.
My mother was admitted into Garrett County Memorial Hospital for recovery. She was still on antibiotics and her surgeon came in every day to check on her. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, so she was sent to the subacute unit once again. After weeks of therapy, & antibiotics, everything seemed to be going smoothly & my mother was sent home. She still needed lots of therapy, but she was able to get around. My mom was able to walk around the block, she could get to the bathroom on her own, and things were looking up. Then, once again things went south. My mom started having pain in her knee and was unsteady. One day while walking to the bathroom, she fell.
We took her to the emergency room; her surgeon did x-rays, blood work, the whole nine yards. It looked like the infection was still gone, but something was wrong with the joint in her knee. Her surgeon was at a loss on what to do, so he referred her to a specialist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.
To make a very long story short, while in Baltimore they found that my mom did in fact have infection, but they didn’t catch it at first either, it had been hiding in her bones, who knew infection could do that?! The infection ate her extension mechanism. This is the part of the joint that allows your knee to bend and flex. Unfortunately, this was not able to be replaced. The surgeon in Baltimore fused my mom’s bones together, and placed a metal rod in her leg. My mom was no longer able to bend her knee. Her leg will always be straight. After having to open her up to clean out the infection, and having to rearrange the skin and do some plastic surgery my mom had 13 surgeries while in Baltimore, making this a total of 15 surgeries. My mom spent 3 months in Baltimore, in the hospital and in a nursing home, where she became malnourished & was still battling infection.
My mother did come home, but ended up back in the hospital this time at Ruby, in Morgantown.
They were able to clear her infection, the first time in years. She had two more surgeries. 17 total surgeries, on the same knee!! Her last surgery was performed December, 2013. My mom told her surgeon that something didn’t feel right. The surgeon told her he did everything correctly and that if she came back to him with any problems he would have no choice but to remove her leg. So my mom came home, still in pain, still not able to get around very well, but she was not going back to her surgeon, as he made it very clear that he would remove her leg.
My mom has had pain every day for the last 4 years. She is in worse shape now than she was before she had her first knee replacement. Last month, we called the ambulance to get my mother. The pain in her leg was so bad that she couldn’t stand on it. My mom has numerous problems going on. I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I know that no matter what she decides; which at this point in time is to keep the leg, stay on antibiotics, and deal with the pain, or lose the leg, possibly get fitted for a prosthetic, which also may not be a possibility, and still be in pain, she is going to be miserable no matter what.
This is what has led me to my conversation with God about taking my mother home to be with Him. My mother deserves to be at peace. She is not going to get that while she is still here. I defy anyone who judges me for that!