As Mama Hop reclined in her hospital bed, watching the illuminated sky bursting with 4th of July fireworks, she knew what the next day would bring: an amputation of her left leg, below the knee. The whole summer seems like such a blur of uncertainty, stress, pain, and misery. Who would have thought that undergoing an amputation would put it all to an end? Mama Hop emerged from surgery with a new lease on life; her pain was over. She was ready to move forward.
Recovery from surgery flew by with physicians coming in every day to examine and compliment her "beautiful stump" (I can't make this stuff up. Of all of the lovely features that woman possesses, no one could see past the marvel of a stump she donned).
With lots of love, attention, and handmade cards, Mama Hop quickly graduated to rehabilitation - and not just any rehabilitation - the vigorous inpatient rehab that required up to six therapy sessions per day!
This beauty was up for the challenge!
Now, I've known Mama Hop my whole life (she is my mom, after all) and she even amazed me with her unwavering positivity and work ethic.
For two weeks, she spent her days learning how to navigate the world with her newly adapted physique (somehow, calling it a 'disability' just doesn't seem to fit considering Mama Hop's optimistic attitude). Heck, she even climbed that tree! Just kidding - that was kind of an inside joke during her stay.
Mama Hop's soaring spirits and commitment to success was so endearing to the staff that nurses brought her flowers, baked goods, and fine chocolates. Between that and downright mind-boggling supply of gorgeous doctors feeling up her stump (it really felt like we were on the set of Grey's Anatomy with the beauty and brains they staffed that place with), it was difficult to leave.
But, all good things must come to an end so we packed up and got Mama Hop settled in her new residence. Those that have followed on social media know that Mama Hop and I have a long-running "Shady Pines" (Golden Girls reference) joke. So when I was tasked with finding her a retirement community that could accommodate her new wheels, I did a little research and settled on this joint. It's okay I guess...as long as you don't mind waterfalls, lovely landscaping, fine dining, five-star resort accommodations, and the friendliest neighbors around.
And the most important thing by far: it's pet friendly! Special thanks to Mama Hop's neighbors who took care of her two Siamese cats while she was
getting back on her feet...eh...recovering (hey, if you can't joke about it, what fun is that?) and to Travis who traveled the great distance to pick the cats up and transport them back here. So Mama Hop has a wheel-in shower with a seat and her two favorite felines to snuggle up to and frequent visits with the grandbabies; what more could you want?
Here's where it gets funny...Mama Hop hadn't been in her new community one week when there came a knock at her door from the director of her residence and the director of marketing, asking her to please be available to partake in the photo shoot for their new marketing materials. That's right, Folks: you're looking at the new face of retirement! That's my mom, senior supermodel extraordinaire!
As soon as those brochures hit the market, the phone will be ringing off the hook with eligible senior bachelors trying to reserve their unit, right next to Mama Hop's! We laughed about that for days and days...She is, indeed, a beautiful lady both inside and out.
And even though Mama Hop has everything she could possibly need in her new community, we still bust her out every now and then so she can remember how the rest of us peons live. Remember this place, Mama Hop? It's called Target. It's for those of us who don't have a concierge to call. LOL!
Mama Hop did insist on leaving the community to get beautified.
She was even able to join us while this little wonder got her ears beautified.
It took some convincing but Dad finally gave Merryn his blessing to get her ears pierced in honor of her seventh birthday. Mama Hop joined us for this monumental occasion.
We are hopeful that Mama Hop will get fitted for a prosthetic soon so that she can amp up her activity level even more. She's already practicing getting in and out of the Mama Hopmobile with her wheelchair and walker. She can't wait to drive again while blaring the Sirius XM "Watercolors" radio station.
There will come a time in all of our lives where we experience illness, injury, and limitations either personally, or with a loved one. Mama Hop certainly serves as an inspiration for how to embrace adversity with determination, grace, and humor. Regardless of what storms lie ahead, Mama Hop is determined to "keep the faith," and that, right there, is her secret. It always has been (I'm going to convince her to write a book because her life story is fascinating).
We'd like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of the wonderful people who kept Mama Hop in their thoughts and prayers. Your messages of support have been so encouraging.