Queen of Pillows on Mother’s Day

Today the calendar dictates families to honor mothers. Florists, candy makers, restaurant owners and department stores anticipate a spring surge in sales as husbands and children – young and old – scramble to find a way to show their love and appreciation for the family matriarch.
Not in our family. Not this year. I gave them all an easy clue what they could do this year. I fell down a couple steps, smashed my tibia and broke my wrist while up North visiting family. Three lived close enough to drive a couple hours and visit me after the initial surgery to stabilize my leg. A couple others, further East and West, have called and checked my status. The youngest, back home in Arkansas, took a deep breath and opened the door to my husband and I taking over the main floor of her home while I awaited surgery and the initial follow-up care.
Hubby wheeled me into the Schulte residence about midnight with walker, luggage, five pillows, suitcase filled with wound care items and a package of pre-loaded hypodermic needles. We moved into the den where a twin bed and bedside commode awaited me.
“Do you want to sleep upstairs or down?” Sharon Joy asked her dad.
“I’ll go up,” he started to say.
“You need to sleep here,” I interrupted indicating the couch, “So you can hear me if I need you.”
He helped me into bed, arranged 14 pillows around me and wearily made a bed on the couch.
The next morning, I smiled and waved from my bed as first one child or another peaked around the curtain to see that I had arrived as they slept. Two had to go to school. The four-year-old greeted me and went to play with a girl her age who comes for care during the week. The baby rode on her mom’s hip as we discussed breakfast options and my care before surgery.
I sat patiently as my husband showed our daughter the steps for cleaning the skin near the leg fixator. “Also, she has to have a shot in the abdomen every day to prevent blood clots,” he said shuttering. “I can’t do it” he voice trembled. Hypodermics scare him.
“I don’t want to give my mom a shot but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do,” she said. She found an instructional video on the Internet, watched it, picked up the hypodermic, swapped my skin and gave me the shot. She flicked the protective sheath over the needle and stuck it in the red plastic box for sharps.
Hubby helped with the sponge bath. She figured out a way to wash my hair with warm water and lots of towels. It felt marvelous.
My period of confinement did not, does not feel marvelous. I like to be doing, instead I am confined to lay, sit or recline with leg propped. I like to cook and fuss with food. The cast for my left arm hampers that. Someone prepares and brings me food. I always need Someone to help me do the simplest of daily activities. Simply going from bed to chair requires Someone to bring me the walker, Someone to ease my leg gently down as I slide forward, Someone to stand by as I pull myself upright, Someone to prop the foot after I turn and sit and Someone to move the walker away.
I need Someone to bring me pills, meals, cold water and clean clothes. As Queen of the Pillows, I need Someone to adjust my 14 pillows. “It needs to be a bit less to the left. The sciatica pillow is smidge off center. I need another pillow. I have too many pillows. I’m cold. I’m hot.”
My husband and daughter share the name Someone. They have learned the art of pillow placement, anticipate basic needs and discuss problems. Both have gotten to know me more intimately than they ever imagined or wanted. Yet, one morning as my husband placed a pair of my socks on my feet, he said, “I am glad I am taking care of you and not you taking care of me.”
I do understand.
Sharon and her husband, Jacob, had already realized years ago they would have to take care of one or more of their parents. No one realized they would be doing just that this year in time for Mother’s Day.
Next year I’ll be happy to receive a greeting card or a phone call. Anything, anything will be just great if I can just abdicate my reign as Queen of the Pillows.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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