I think when you lose a parent, especially when you are young it can create a tether to the remaining parent, it certainly has in my case. Maybe it’s because I made a promise to my father right before he passed that I would always take care of her, maybe it’s because my mom is the best person I know and she deserves every ounce of support and care I can muster up. Mostly when the pain of my own illness is too much to bare, I push through, I dig deep, I keep going because of my love for her and the promise I made.
Monday June 6, 2016 – My 45th birthday.
The symptoms presented themselves indifferent at first kicking up with the seasons changing over and spring arriving in high fashion. The slightest tickle of the throat pranced right in, uninvited, as the tree pollen danced around, spreading its season funk all about us. The tickle turned into a cough, then a violent hack and finally when mom could no longer make excuses I insisted we make a stop at the local walk in clinic “just to be sure it was not serious.”
Ninety minuets later we arrived at the emergency room of the same hospital that my dad had his numerous surgeries,where I said goodbye to my gallbladder and where one of my best friends sister’s makes a mean cup of coffee in the new Starbucks like coffee hut.
It was swift and thorough, in olympic record time, mom was hooked up to heart monitors, IV’s began the meds coursing through her veins, oxygen tube went into her nose and Mom was admitted almost immediately with pneumonia stemming from a build up of fluid in her left lower lobe, but even more worrisome was her heart. It seemed to have converted itself to a crazy rate of 150-175 and the meds that normally worked to remedy the problem would not do the job. I was terrified. I excused myself to go to the restroom, grabbed my cane and hobbled down the hallway to find a hidden nook, someplace to make myself small, a place to let loose, cry like a baby and have an epic mini breakdown. My solace would come in a small individual bathroom, down a hallway, off the beaten path, which I can pretty much guarantee was not meant for me. I didn’t care. Ducking inside I propped my cane in the corner, ran the cold water and splashed my face, digging through my worn black bag for the bottle of pain pills for my knees, which where both a glowing ball of red hot agony from the amount of walking I had done in the short time I had been at the hospital. I am pretty sure the ER is about 20.8 miles away from every damn place else in the hospital. I slurped the metallic tasting water from the sink and swallowed the pills, maneuvering myself down with the help of the cold stainless steel handicap bars onto the toilet seat where I let my head rest against the comforting support of the cool, industrial beige painted wall. I closed my eyes, listened to the pounding of my head until everything has settled a bit, letting myself drift away from reality, even if for just a moment. I saw his face, those watery blue eyes, looking at me, trusting in the words I had said to him before he let go. I thought about the promise, I thought about my ability to keep the promise when I could barely move some days myself, how different my life seemed now then anything I might have imagined all those years ago.
Mom was admitted to the hospital and for four nights she remained there. I saw a different side to the woman who in my eyes is always a pillar of strength through every kind of ordeal you can imagine, holding our small family together when life gets rocky. Mom’s team of doctors ran tests and tried different medications, finally finding the right combination to get her heart back into a normal heart rhythm. She is a fighter, that one. In my 45 years, the very best birthday gift so far was having her released with a smile on her face and clean bill of health going forward.
So much more to tell you…