Tales from the ICU // Life // Laughs
Last Wednesday my Mum had a pretty serious accident at work. I'm not gonna lie. I've had better weeks. It's been a roller-coaster ride, from one extreme to the next, and it probably won't stop anytime soon. But as they say, if you don't laugh you'll cry, so I am choosing to laugh (and run when I can), and it's true. Laughter really is the best medicine.
I waited for what felt like forever to finally get some news. Both feet smashed. Fractured spine in three places. Severe head cuts (but thankfully no long-term brain trauma) and a veritable world-map of other cuts, scrapes and bruises.
When I arrived at the emergency department it was a bit of a shock. I walked in to find Mum strapped to a gurney, lying there with a blood-soaked bandage wrapped around her head and a huge neck brace. I walked over and said hi, she was conscious and had apparently been talking and making jokes. I took a photo. Which, if you knew my Mum, is exactly what she would have wanted me to do. Heaven forbid this one thing in our lives go undocumented just because she couldn't be the one holding the camera!
The nurses were setting her up with a button to push to get morphine when she needed it. After they explained to her how it worked she asked me how the girls were. I told her they were fine. I asked her how her pain was and told her to make sure she pushed the morphine button when she needed to.
She said she didn't want to. I asked her why. She said she didn't want to get addicted!
|Despite the clean-up, walking in to find this in the lounge room gave me a much needed laugh on Saturday morning. |
Could they look more impressed with themselves?!
My good friend B, who also works with Mum, was there and made a remark about this being the reason why you should always wear good undies when you leave the house. She turned to Mum and said "You were wearing your good undies right?"
Mum said no.
B told her that instead of bringing flowers she was going to buy her good undies instead, so the next time she felt like taking a nap under a pile of falling, 50kg pallets, she'd have good undies on.
Mum told her she'd need to go to the tent department for them.
After Mum had been moved to the ICU on the first night, my sister E, my brother and I, were very sneakily allowed in together to see her (usually only 2 visitors at a time in ICU). We were standing talking to her and she asked about N's work and if they were ok with him leaving. N said that the other apprentice, who had previously been a bit mean to him, had actually come up and gave him a hug and told him that he hoped he was doing ok.
Mum misheard what was being said and thought N had mentioned something about a boyfriend and after the confusion was cleared up she said "Oh good. I thought it was an odd time for you to be coming out to me now!".
|My sisters took this photo on my phone when I asked|
them to mind it for me while I went to the bathroom.
On Friday after her first surgery, to anchor her spine and repair one of the smashed vertebra, my sister A and I were the first ones to be allowed in to see her when she was brought back from recovery. We gave her a kiss, and I told her that A was finally here (she and her husband had been in the States when the accident happened and had gotten the first flight back available and had only landed in the country 6 hours earlier).
A asked her how she was feeling after the surgery and Mum looked at her and said "Can you get these bloody boots off my feet?!". She was wearing plaster casts!
On Sunday night, after Mum had been moved to a ward and in to her own room, we were all finally reunited again: Mum, Dad, our step-Dad, sisters, husbands, brother and my girls. I can't tell you how good it felt to be in that room at that moment, all of us together.
My Step-Dad read out one of the cards to Mum, and it made mention of her being a "Princess in the kingdom of The Lord". She let out a snort and said "I'm more like Shrek", meaning Princess Fiona. I think it was the first really good laugh we'd all had in days.
|I told Mum last night that with her Betadine-covered legs she was more like one of The Simpsons than Princess Fiona from Shrek!|
Without a doubt, one of the things I love about my family so much is our ability to laugh and find the humour in any situation. Sure, it might sometimes be blacker than black sometimes, but without laughter it would all just be too much to deal with. Laughter can be a salve for the soul, especially in times of high emotion, and I'm so glad that despite her pain, my Mum was still able to hold on to her sense of humour.
Sure, some of it may have been directly related to the morphine and/or anaesthetic, but who cares. She was laughing and that's what matters. She has a long road ahead of her in terms of recovery. It's gonna take a lot of work on her behalf, and massive amounts of support from the rest of us, but we will get her there in the end.
And the best medicine we can give her at the moment is our laughter and smiles. And our love.
I love you Mum. You've certainly taken extreme measures to get out of cooking us Family Dinner for a while, but you can't get away from us that easily. If anyone can take on 50kg pallets and win, it's you. Can't wait to turn those buggers in to firewood for you!
Do you agree that laughter really is the best medicine?
P.S. I just wanted to again say a massive thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes and prayers to my Mum and family. It has meant more than you could know, to know that so many people are thinking of us and praying for a swift recovery. Mum was blown away that so many people she doesn't know cared enough to say a prayer for her and I know it has helped lift her spirits. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart xxx