Thursday, 5 June 2014

Being Cross

CROSS - definition: 

> annoyed.
"he seemed to be very cross about something"

We always have a giggle at the favourite phrase our teen's oldest and best friend uses to express anger.  He's said it since he was little and, at nineteen it's stuck. 

'I'm a little bit cross!'

And yesterday this term was very apt.  I was CROSS.  My mum was CROSS too.

It was to be a simple, routine cataract operation for my mother.  Of course there were a few nerves to begin with - only natural as we head into something unknown and medical - but she was big and brave and we went off to the hospital in our trademark family way of dealing with things.  Numb.

The nursing staff and consultant were lovely, she was seen fairly quickly and she set off to to the theatre.

Now, part of the reason why this was to be a more complicated procedure for my mum is because she is unable to lie flat.  This is mainly because of a long term ear problem but we also joke that she doesn't want to get her hair messed up!  Yes, she's the only woman I know who gets up looking exactly the same as she did when she went to bed.  So ... this made the surgeon's job a little tricky.  He had to jiggle, juggle and tilt for about 20 minutes until he got her in a position that suited them both.  By this time, my mum was CROSS.  Thankfully the surgeon wasn't.

The op took 25 minutes and she returned to me at the side ward in her blue paper hat (over her immaculate hair), hospital gown and massive eye patch looking terrified, in shock and CROSS. 

'No one told me it was a full-blown operation !  It was horrific!  Awful!  I'm not having the second one done.'

At which point, I became CROSS.

There were two elderly ladies in the adjoining cubicles awaiting their operations - they didn't need to hear the gruesome details.  I'm surprised they didn't grab their zimmers and hotfoot it out of there.  Hopefully they were deaf.

She then proceeded to complain about the eye patch which was to stay in place for 4 hours. 

'It's uncomfortable.  I can't see.  It's too big.  I'm taking it off.'

On and on it went - she was CROSS, I was getting CROSS. 

'I won't be a able to see to cook my dinner.'

ME:  'I'll cook it.  I'll do it before I leave and before I take the patch off at seven-thirty.'

'No.  Don't bother.  Oh, I'm such a nuisance!'

ME:  (CROSS)  'No you're not.  But you are when you moan.'

The CROSSNESS continued when we arrived home - even a glass of wine didn't help!  She was CROSS because she felt she'd been lied to about the simplicity of the operation, I was CROSS because others had found it a doddle and I had to deal with a mother who hadn't and it was like placating a petulant toddler.  I also became CROSS when I realised that I was dealing with this by myself when, strictly speaking, I shouldn't have to.  When hubbie turned up and soothed us both with his words of wisdom we both became less CROSS!

And when the eye-patch was removed, a relief settled over my mum.  The CROSSNESS left when she realised that she could see, she hadn't been blinded and she had no bruising.

It was at this point that I became CROSS with myself.  OK, I'd supported her, appeased her, calmed her and cared for her.  I'd kept my patience - to a point - but I hadn't put myself in her position of fear and panic.  I don't know what it's like to be her, to be a frightened 86 year old who hates change and I should have tried harder.  I'm not a bad daughter, but I'm human.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Getting old stinks.  To see someone you love with all your heart, gradually losing the ability to do things is awful but the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

I'm not sure if she'll go ahead and have the second eye done but if she does, I won't be CROSS and, hopefully now she knows what it entails, neither will she.  I've told her that it might be like having a baby.  Immediately after you've done it, you say, 'Never again' and then the memory wears off and you start to see the benefits so you go for it.

I just wish I didn't have to be her birthing partner if there is a next time!


  1. Tell her to have it done. I had my first three years ago..yes, it is scary and there's always something that phases my case, nobody had told me I would be encased in a plastic sheet (I am claustrophobic and get panic attacks..not good). But my eyesight is so much better. Am awaiting second op - and it will go better, as it will for your lovey mum, coz now I know what's going to happen. Hang on in. xxx

    1. Thanks Carol - yes I think fear and 'imagining' is far worse. The mind can do horrible things. I'll leave it to her but I'll work my subtle ways on her! :) xx

  2. She's not daft and will weigh up the pros and cons now she knows just what the op entails - and what the results will be. I know that you just love being with her, cross or not, and you can always find something to laugh about after. Keep enjoying her as much as you already do. xxxx

    1. Thanks Amanda, yes you're right. And every minute - even the cross ones! - are precious xx