« Currently reading... | Home | Work update... »

September 9, 2004

My Mortality...

The house phone call rang at about noon, while I was talking to my sister on my cell phone.

"I think I'm having a heart attack. I just called 911."

In the split-second of silence, thoughts swarmed through my head.

She's dying.

I need to get dressed.

There goes my Saturday.

I told her to call the doctor but did she listen?? Noooo ...

I didn't even take a shower this morning ... I look like shit!

I can't do this alone.

Holy crap, she's dying.

Then I said "I'll be right there. Relax. Everything will be alright, Mom."
I hung up with her and told my sister what was happening. She said she would call her and keep her calm until I got there, which made me feel better as I was frantically trying to find something to wear. I threw on a white t-shirt and black yoga pants with a black hoodie, grabbed my purse and my cell phone and we were out the door. It wasn't until I got in the car that I noticed my daughter was crying.

In my internal crazed panic mode, I had totally forgotten how this would effect her.

Since I couldn't think of any positive placations, I just said, "I know, honey, I'm scared too." and hugged her before strapping myself in for the seemingly endless drive across town.

When we got to her house (after hitting every single blessed light in the freakin' city, thank you very much!), the ambulance was still there. The driver came around to meet me as I got out of the van and immediately tried to put me at ease. Yes, she had chest pains but they were thinking it might be more of a muscular problem rather than cardiac. To be on the safe side, they needed to take her to the hospital for tests and could I go ahead of them and get her registered? I leaned into the back of the ambulance, said hi to mom, told her I'd race them (I can't help it), and went back to the van. It wasn't until I pulled out of her driveway and was on my way to the hospital that I realized I better make some calls.

I had to leave a message for my son, letting him know what was happening with his grandmother and why his sister and I weren't at the house when they came to pick her up for the fair. I called my sister back to update her and promised to call her back again when I knew something. I called T for moral support but it wasn't until I got his voicemail and had to leave a message that I felt the tears coming. I left a rambling, weepy message letting him know where I was going to be and that I would call him when I knew something.

The phone rang less than a block after I hung up.

"Do you need me to come down?"

YES (!!!!) ... but ... I said no, not knowing whether I may need him here more in a few days. It meant the world to me that he offered and left the offer open even when I said no. It calmed me, knowing that I didn't have to go through this alone.

When we finally got to the hospital (the second longest 5 miles I've ever driven, the first being the 5 miles to her house we had just driven), we began the long, convoluted process to get her registered and sat in the triage waiting room until we were allowed back. Jazz had a book with her and I thought it would help us both pass the time if I read it to her. When I turned to the page she was reading in "The Diary of Anne Franke", it was the entry in which Anne realizes that she has been unfair to her mother and she decided she will start repairing their relationship. Just shoot me. I tried but I couldn't get through the passage so she read it to me.

Finally, it was time for us to go back see her but, as we got up, the receptionist asked how old Jazz was and she wasn't old enough to be allowed in the ER ... so I had to leave her alone in the waiting room. I spent the next 3 hours going back and forth between my mother and my daughter, making sure they were both comfortable. When they gave Mom morphine and she settled down for a nap, I took Jazz out to lunch, made and returned a million calls, including one to her dad to coordinate a pick-up so they could all go to the fair. Lord knows she needed something to cheer her up.

After they picked her up, I ran across town to pick up some supplies from Mom's since it looked like she would be staying at least overnight. Neighbors slowed me down a bit, coming over to ask after her and I told the same story another hundred times (at least it felt like that) before I was able to pack her overnight bag and get out of there.

On the way back to the hospital, I called T again, really the only person I wanted to talk to, to let him know what was up. He let me talk then made me laugh, something I hadn't done all day, and I felt ready to face the unknown again.

When I got back to Mom, they were getting ready to move her to a room so we packed up what she had and what I had brought and began the long walk to the East Tower and up to her itty bitty room.

The kids came up to her room after the fair and that cheered her up but it also wore her out. My son left with his father (I think the fact that my x came up was a bit too much for all of us but it was a means to an end) and there we girls sat, three generations together ... Me firmly squished between my daughter and my mother.

It was almost 9 before we left, after fixing the TV right and making sure she had the phone and food and pain meds she needed. She promised to call if she needed anything and we started home to wait.

More calls to family members, promises to call again when more is known ... and we came home to dark house that was the same as it was when we left it in the morning. For some reason, I expected that the outside world would have changed as much as my insides had.

Sleep didn't come last night, though I tried as hard as I could to rest. I stayed in bed but I couldn't seem to get comfortable or still my thoughts. I resisted the urge to pick up the phone, though, so I'm proud of me. I also didn't get up and come back on this thing, which was smart, too.

When my mom called at 9 this morning, I was still in bed, having just fallen asleep. I've showered now, had breakfast, taken several calls and are planning to go out to do everything we were supposed to do yesterday before our lives were turned upside down.

The doctors are still trying to figure out whether it was a heart attack or something called costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage connecting muscle tissue to the ribcage and breastbone ... the former would suck, the latter will just take a while to recover from ... but she is still in the hospital and waiting for us to visit so ... we are off for another day of "hurry up and wait".

Facing your parents possible mortality really is a slap in the face, especially if you've been taking them for granted for a long time ... and especially when there are so many things left unsaid. Time to clean out the closets and get our affairs in order. This could get ugly but, hopefully, we'll be better off for it.

Just another instance of appreciating what you have and watering the grass on your side. Yup ... still watering.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on September 9, 2004 11:05 AM.

Currently reading... was the previous entry in this blog.

Work update... is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.