A little clearer

The doctor searched the emergency room cubicle until she found my eyes. Then she took a quick breath. “We have the x-rays. Her hip is broken.”Seasons

I was holding my mother’s hand as she lay still on the examining table. The pain had escalated while we’d been at the hospital and she was now under the influence of morphine. She had no idea what the doctor had said.

I drew a longer breath than the doctor. “So what are our options?

“Hip replacement surgery. Or do nothing.” The doctor’s eyes were kind and she waited until I responded. “This is considered major surgery.”

Mom, at 83, was already trying to recuperate from a stroke nine months earlier. Could she withstand a surgery?

My sister stood across the table from me and our eyes met.

“How soon do we have to decide?” she said.

The doctor shrugged. “You can talk about it with family. The surgeon would do it as soon as possible. Probably this afternoon.” She stepped to the doorway. “I’ll check back in a few minutes.”

“This is an awful decision,” my sister said. “She might not survive the surgery.”

“I know.”

Mom was sleeping. Before the morphine had kicked in, she’d been in tremendous pain.

“We have to give her a chance.” My sister said the words that I was thinking.

Within two hours, our mother was wheeled away by a surgeon. We hugged her and prayed for her. We assured her of our love for her. She could respond to none of it.

Would we see her again?

Our brother arrived a little later.  “Any news?”

We explained our options. “She might not survive the surgery but we had to give her a chance for something better.”

He nodded. “What else could you do?”

We all knew Mom. And that made a hard decision a little clearer.


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