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It’s Raining Down in Texas

It was foggy and drizzling when I left the house this morning, unusual weather for Austin. Sunrise was still a few hours away, and this Stevie Ray Vaughn lyric popped into my mind…

Well there’s floodin’ down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down.

I was driving to the hospital to sit in the waiting room with my dad while my mother had knee replacement surgery. Months before, she’s made me promise to sit with him at the hospital. Nearly 60 years ago, her father had sat alone in another hospital waiting room while she had her wisdom teeth removed. He’d heard the doctors hammering on her bone and suffered a minor heart attack, as I found out last night for the first time.

 Well there’s floodin’ down in Texas
All of the telephone lines are down.

Later, when I was sitting next to her hospital bed, the thought crossed my mind that she’d been remarkably brave in the days leading up to this operation. If anything, her biggest fear wasn’t the knife or surgical complications, but the loss of freedom that she’ll experience during the intense rehabilitation phase of a knee replacement.

Well dark clouds are rollin’ in
Man I’m standin’ out in the rain

Despite being asleep, her leg is already attached to a machine which simulates a walking motion, slowly opening and closing the knee joint. It’s weird sitting here listening to her softly snoring and seeing that phantom limb moving back and forth. She seems so small and fragile, wired up to the heart monitor and IV line, nothing like the feisty, ball of fire that’s my mom.

 Well dark clouds are rollin’ in
Man I’m standin’ out in the rain

Back home, I made dinner for my exhausted father, a rich potato soup, that I knew would perk him up. My mother’d become nauseous as her anesthesia wore off in the afternoon, but she was sleeping when he’d left her side to drive home. Amazingly, she had already started walking on the new knee; the sign of our times.

Well I’m leavin’ you baby
Lord and I’m goin’ back home to stay

Getting ready for this operation has been a big strain on my dad.  He’s still as bright as ever, but he’s not as resilient or strong as he was 10 years ago. Despite outside help and huge network of friends, they’ll be alone in a few weeks after I fly home. They’ll manage, they always have. But I wonder when the day will come when their zest to remain so independent will wain.

Well I’m leavin’ you baby
Lord and I’m goin’ back home to stay

This trip has restored more than my mother’s knee. My father, mother and I have rekindled our lasting, lifetime of devotion to each other. I am hopeful that there will be a happy ending to this story, but we are still in the first chapter of a long tale.

Well back home are no floods or tornados
Baby and the sun shines every day

6 comments

  1. Nice share Philip. You are blessed to have such great folks and your care for them comes through loud and clear. I wish a speedy recovery for your Mom and a peaceful space for you and your Dad to support her.

  2. Philip,

    I wish you and your family the best on this. Your mom will likely be back to her feisty self (and even feistier) soon.

    My wife had knee replacement about four years ago. The second day after surgery, she said the pain from the operation was less than what she’d been dealing with on a day to day basis before. Eight days after surgery, I caught her out mowing the lawn. When she had the second knee replaced a couple months later, we read her the riot act about doing too much too soon. It wasn’t until the ninth day that I caught her mowing the lawn.

    • Great story about your wife – I told it to my mom and she had a good laugh. She’s doing much better today and back to her normal overachieving self. Thanks for the good wishes.

  3. Phil,

    If your parent’s new the song they’d be singing Pride and Joy because of you.

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