As a resident of the east coast with my entire family living on the west coast, I've traversed this country more times than I can count. The cross-country trip is never easy, but some times are harder than others. 

After struggling for two years with debilitating back pain, my mom needed surgery. I went home to be by her side through the process and help with her first couple of weeks at home.

 Waiting in pre-op.

Waiting in pre-op.

 The anesthesiologist talks us through details of the procedure.

The anesthesiologist talks us through details of the procedure.

 Mom's all smiles at the idea of living without pain.

Mom's all smiles at the idea of living without pain.

 We wait.

We wait.

 I distract myself.

I distract myself.

 I walk.

I walk.

 And then it's over.  The waiting is over, anyway. But the hard part is just beginning.  Nobody told us how much it would hurt. I was not prepared for what came next.

And then it's over.

The waiting is over, anyway. But the hard part is just beginning.

Nobody told us how much it would hurt. I was not prepared for what came next.

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The ensuing pain was unimaginable—I've never witnessed anyone in such agony, and I never imagined how much support my mom would need in addition to what the nursing staff was able to provide. I stayed by her bedside day and night.

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 After a few days she was up and about. The recovery was slow and painful, but mom kept her spirits up and her sassy attitude kept the nursing staff entertained for the duration of our stay.  ;)

After a few days she was up and about. The recovery was slow and painful, but mom kept her spirits up and her sassy attitude kept the nursing staff entertained for the duration of our stay. ;)