Adulting, Family

The Longest Day Ever.

This is a repost from last year:

Around 9am Central time. Two THREE years ago today. Answering a call at work.

Me: This is Zoot.
Caller: (in tears) Zoot, This is Lisa from your mom’s office. I don’t want you to freak out.
Me: What? What’s wrong with my mom?
Lisa: We don’t know yet. She’s on her way to the hospital.
Me: Oh my god. What’s going on?
Lisa: She didn’t come into work this morning. We kept calling on no one would answer.
Me: Is she okay? IS. SHE. OKAY?
Lisa: I thinks she’s conscious. The guys from the warehouse went over to her apartment. They forced themselves in and she was unconscious on the floor. They called the ambulance. We have no idea yet what’s wrong with her.
Me: (freaking – freaking and freaking some more) Oh my god. What should I do. Should I hit the road? Should I wait for a call?
Lisa: I don’t know hon. But I’ll let you know if we hear anything. I’m so sorry.
Me: I’m coming in town. Even if it turns out to be nothing. I’m coming in. Here’s my cell number. Call me with ANY news. ANY news.

I call MrZ. I tell him what was going on and that I am heading to Knoxville. I ask if he would meet me at home and help me pack. I decide to wait and call my brother when I know more. He was in Seattle at the time, he would have to fly in.

MrZ follows me around the house while I frantically throw items of clothing into a suitcase for myself and LilZoot. I’m trying to concentrate on not forgetting anything while giving MrZ instructions. He is writing down phone numbers and names of family members he hasn’t even met. I am giving him strict instructions to call my mom’s brothers and sisters and let them know what was going on. I throw LilZoot and my stuff in the car and we head north.

About 10 miles out of town, I get a call on my cell phone. Mom had an aneurysm. She’s stable, but unwell. Blood in the brain. Possible heart attack. The doctor will be calling you soon.

About 50 miles out of town. My phone rings again. This is Doctor So-In-So. We need you to give consent to perform an angiogram on your mom so we can survey the damage. I pull over. I listen to the doctor tell me the risks. I give him my consent. He transfers me to a legal person who asks that I repeat my consent. I do. It is very surreal. I’m watching cars pass me on the road, I’m pulled off on the shoulder giving consent on a procedure to be done on my sick mom. Very surreal.

About halfway. Doctor calls again. She’s had an aneurysm. I know that. But its in a space in the tissue. We may have caught it in time before permanent damage to the brain was sustained. But, we must stop the bleeding. She’s in ICU. When will you be here? 2 hours? We’ll discuss options then.

I call my Dad. He’s in Knoxville. He and Mom divorced years ago – but he needs to know. I tell him I’m on my way. I’ll go straight to the hospital.

I call my brother. He has a freak out session similar to mine. He’s flying in. As soon as possible. He’ll fly into Nashville, rent a car, and drive to Knoxville, it’s the quickest way.

MrZ calls me. Crying. I’m a bit confused. Why is he crying now? He just talked to his Dad. His Nana died in her sleep that morning. They had been trying to call him at work, but he was home calling my family. I gave him my sympathy and apologized for not being able to help him, and he felt bad for not helping me. The next few weeks we would both go through some rough times, but separately. It was tough on us. Bad luck to say the least. Please don’t let this day get any worse.

Theres a huge cross on the hill on the outskirts of Knoxville. It’s been there for awhile, I’ve seen it before. I take that time and pray to a god I’ve not spoken to in years. Please. Let her be okay.

I get to the hospital. I’m still in my work clothes. Funny how I’ll always remember what I wore that day.

I get to ICU. I can’t bring LilZ in, he’s too young. The nurses offer to watch him while I go see Mom. She recognizes me but I’m terrified when I see her hooked up. It shocks me so much I almost freeze. I was scared to touch her. She smiles at me and says hello. She calls me by my full first name, which no one ever does. This calms me a bit. It will be last time I hear her say my name for over four weeks. She’s out of it, but cheerful, oddly enough. I hold her hand. I wipe the sweat off her face. Mom always gets hot before anyone else does. I ask the nurse if there is a fan they can bring in. They are already on it.

They are calling the doctor. He will be here shortly.

My cousin John is driving my mom’s brother in from Nashville. My mom’s sister Patty will be here too. I reassure them it?s not needed, but I’m glad they are coming. My Dad meets me at the hospital to watch over LilZoot while I meet with doctors and nurses. I’m feeling like a child all of the sudden. Scared. Overwhelmed.

I speak to nurses. I get the full story from mom’s coworkers. I am now an adult. Having a son didnt make me feel grown up. Discussing procedures and vitals with my mom’s nurses? That made me feel too adult. I wanted to be a child again. I cant. My mom needs me.

I go see mom again. Now she thinks I’m her sister Sara. She’s asleep again. The fan is here, she’s not sweating anymore. When is this damn doctor going to be here?

Back to the waiting room to check on Dad and LilZ. My aunt and uncle and cousin are here. We hug.

The doctor tells us the best option is coil embolization where they place titanium coils in the aneurysm to stop the bleeding. Needs to be done at Vanderbilt in Nashville. They don’t want to drive her – its too long of a ride, she may not make it. They don’t want to chopper her, it will be too bumpy. We’ll fly her in a jet. Sign this waiver saying that’s okay. My mom boards her own personal jet.

Aunt Patty will fly with mom in the jet. I will drive LilZ to Nashville in my car. Cousin John will drive uncle Jay back as well. Someone in Nashville starts calling the airline to page my brother so he STAYS in Nashville.

We hit the road late. About 10pm or so. Mom’s is flying overhead. We all meet up at Jay’s and Angie’s. My brother and I hug and laugh and prepare ourselves for a long emotional journey. We drive downtown to Vanderbilt. They let us in to see mom and meet the nursing staff. She’s been intubated. I remember fearing that we might lose her and wishing my brother could have heard her voice again. We went down to the main lobby and got an hour or so sleep before the next day began.

July 22, 2002. The longest day of my life.

As you all know now. Mom is fine. 110% even; since today is also her anniversary of quitting smoking! I’ll share the story of the following seven weeks some other day. It was a challenging time for all of us. But it brought us closer as a family and we got a second chance. We’ve made the most of it, I believe. Here’s to all of her coworkers who actually thought to check on her when she didn’t show up. I don’t know about you guys, but my office would NOT go to my home to check on ME! And they saved her life by doing that. Had she been left there much longer, she would have died.

I love you mom. Here’s to having a better day this year!

55 thoughts on “The Longest Day Ever.”

  1. wow. 2 things:

    1. that story should have a disclaimer at the beginning that it’s going to make you cry, or at the very least tear up.

    2. that was one of the MOST moving stories i’ve ever read.

    i’m so glad that you and your family got a second chance. a lot of people don’t, and it haunts them for the rest of their lives.

    and to mrz? belated condolences on your nana’s passing.

  2. You’re an incredibly strong woman — though I bet you don’t see yourself that way.

    I am personally thanking God right now, for your mom’s amazing co-workers — *I* am touched at the lengths they went to to make sure she was ok. I mean, someone doesn’t show up for work one day… most people wouldn’t blink.

    It’s really something. Thanks for the story, Zoot — and thank God for your Mom being a-ok. (As you know, I just went through a similar although less-dangerous situation with my Dad, and it was hell. So I know very well what you ewre feeilng that day.)

  3. You had me seriously freaked out and crying!! THANK GOD THAT WAS TWO YEARS AGO. Here’s to great health this year and years to follow!! ( KA-CHING)

  4. Thank you for sharing such an intimate and personal story. I’m very glad to hear your mom is well now, and offer condolences to Mr.Z for the loss of his Nana. God bless you all.

  5. I’m so happy for you and your family. That sounds so scary and awful. Give your mom a big hug from all of us readers for being as strong as you and pulling through.

    A hug to Mr. Zoot, as well. Nanas are wonderful ladies.

  6. I can’t believe that it’s already been two years. Remembering that day really puts everything else in perspective for me. Was I really that stressed out over some stupid presentation. Is anything work-related ever worth worrying that much over? I mean come on, things could be much worse. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that I’ve been given to become even better friends w/ Zoots mom. .. and congratulations to her on no smoking for 2 years 🙂

  7. God. I didn’t even think about how your mother’s coworkers probably saved her life. So glad you guys got through all that okay.

  8. Whoh! What a scary time, I’m glad everything turned out for the best for your mom. I felt the same way when my dad had a heart attack and six-way bypass. I was talking to him when he was in ICU and he was trying to tell me something. I went to get a nurse and promptly fell apart. Nothing like seeing your parents in a position of physical weakness to put things in perspective.

    And Mr. Zoot, my condolences on your Nana. I lost one too, the world is a smaller place without her.

  9. What a day, unbelievable. I’m so glad that everything turned out how it did.

    Hope Mr. Zoot’s presentation went well, btw.

  10. Jesus, Zoot. I feel like someone just kicked me in the chest for you. If that’s possible. But I am 100% grateful that you have been given the second chance with your mother. Here is to many more days with her and her 110% health. **clinks cosmo glass**

    p.s. hope the presentation for Mr. Zoot went well. I tried to post but I think I screwed it up.

  11. Where is my brain? And I have also lost a Nana. My heart breaks for Mr. Zoot as well.

  12. That is an incredable story. So many things happening at once and so many people comming together to help save a life. I work at a hospital and I see it from the other perspective all the time. We all try to be as supportive as we can while doing our jobs but it is stories like this that remind me that it isn’t just a job to our patients. I am glad everything worked out and kudos to your mom for quiting smoking.

  13. It is amazing that you post this TODAY. On Sunday, (my moving day) my Mom will be dead 17 years. She was young, healthy and had a massive heart attack with no apparent forewarning. She died within 2 minutes while I was at a wedding. They came and got me from the reception. You are right, you grow up quick for sure. My dad had died when I was 17, so she was all I had left. I am glad that your story had a happy ending, give her a hug next time you see her – from me.

  14. Hugs to all the Zoots! Thank you for posting these stories about your lives. As MrZoot said, it puts the little things into perspective.

  15. Wow, very glad she’s OK (and you, too)

    It certainly puts things in perspective, as y’all have said.

  16. wow, how strong you were to have made those decisions and be there for you mother. I know I dread the day when I will have to do something like that, I want to stay the little girl!

    Your mom was very lucky to have you that day (and every day!). You are amazing!

  17. i had goosebumps the entire time i was reading – and then tears reading mr. zoot’s comment.

    hugs, hugs to all the zoots!

  18. Wow, that was something else. I have not teared up like that for about two years. I am reading this at about the same time I got that call. Here’s to all of us knowing how strong we are and how strong we can be when the things we love most are threatened.

    C

  19. Oh Zoot, I am sitting here in tears. What an amazing story and how beautifully remembered and retold.. thank you for sharing *Sniff*

  20. Glad all is well and glad your mom is smoke-free ! Congrats to her and congrats to you for making it through probably the scariest day of your life. Your mom is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have her !

  21. What a story…. I’m so glad to hear that she’s ok. I too am impressed that her office found her. Angels where watching over her that day, wow.

    Thanks for sharing. Incredible story…

  22. Ye gods, Zoot. What a terrifying journey for you and your family. I’m glad you came out on the other side, all well and happy.

  23. msmaryb – Oklahoma – I'm a native Californian who lives in Oklahoma. I'm a full-time student, pursuing a Bachelors in Anthropology, following which I hope to attain a Masters in Archaeology. I have three kids, one husband, no pets, and a lot of friends - most of whom live inside my computer. I love to read, write, watch tv (shut up, we can't all be brain surgeons), shop, and travel. I'm trying to set foot in all 50 states before I die. I have 38, so far. I love the Beatles and Maroon 5, and if you think those two things are incongruous, well, they are. But that's me. When I love something, I love it 100%. I don't do anything halfway. I want to know everything there is to know, so I'm trying to cram as much into my brain as I can in the short amount of time I'm allotted in this dimension.
    Mary says:

    I’m all teary-eyed…that was quite a story, and it had my favorite kind of ending — happy! What awesome coworkers your mom has. I’m so happy that she is fine and you are getting more time with her.

  24. Yeah, those days are coming up for me here pretty quick. Well done describing them, and I’m glad you had a better ending. And MrZ? It’s trite and I always hate having to say it for that very purpose, but sorry for your loss.

  25. What a hard day that must have been. You’re all very lucky to have made it through. As for Mr. Zoot’s nana, at least she passed on in her sleep, that’s got to be the best way to go. Much love to all of you on the anniversary of such a trying day.

  26. *sniff* I’m in tears, Zoot. But so happy your mom is okay. And no smoking? Well, that just rocks.
    I’m so happy that you have this day to remember all of the good things! Yay! *sniff*

  27. I remember that day for you Zoots…hating that you were having to go through it. Reading this just now has me in tears and ready to call my mom to tell her just how much I love and appreciate her. Thank you for the reminder of what’s really important. You know I’m so proud of your mom…and you…I hope one day soon Ariel will be able to speak proudly of her mom quitting smoking! And much love to MrZoot on the anniversary of the loss of his Nana.

  28. I’m so glad that your part of the story turned out with a good ending – what a harrowing experience! I don’t look forward to my own time to deal with parental illness – just pray that I’ll be able to handle it! So glad you had MrZoot to help you through it. And sorry about his Nana.

  29. I’m not online for about a day and you write an entry that is so beautiful and sad and ultimtely triumphant. Thanks for sharing that. My good thoughts are with all of the Zoots always!

  30. Not only is it wonderful that things turned out well, your story reminded me of how much I love my own family. Yay, Zoot!

  31. My mom suffered an aneurysm when I was twelve. That was also the scariest day of my life. Reading this reminded me a lot of that, of everything that we’ve been through as a family since, and of how lucky I am to still have my mom. Thank you so much for posting!

  32. Wow! In tears here! You tell stories so well! I love to read them. I am glad your Mom is still okay fter tha awful ordeal! Hugs!

  33. GAH! Am so sorry I missed this post! I’m glad she’s doing better, but sorry she (and you) had to go through all that.

  34. My mother died from an aneurysm 12 years ago, so I understand how sudden and frightening it was. I’m so glad your mother pulled through okay – it’s good to see how much better treatment has gotten over the last decade or so.

  35. Kim, you’re the best writer. It made everything seem real all over again – which was hard and tearful – but it also reminded me of the great blessings we have – a family who comes together when there’s trouble – and most of all – the very best blessing of all – is still having your mom and my sister with us.

    I love you
    Patty

  36. Zoot, even knowing how that entry was going to turn out in the end, it still made me all teary-eyed and scared.. I think the style in which you wrote it made such a terrifying experience even more powerful…I’m glad your mom made it through everything. Thanks for sharing that experience…on a day when I’m feeling like so much in my life is falling apart, that reminds me that there are things more important and more irreparable than anything I’m dealing with.

  37. Wow, that is amazing. I am so happy everybody is now happy and healthy!! xxx

  38. Wow. That post has me all choked up. Whenever a phone conversation starts with “…don’t freak out,” it can’t be good. Glad it turned out well, though.

    And belated hugs to MrZoot on the anniversary of his Nana’s passing. that’s can be a tough situation to face on its own, and you’re a great guy to be able to support Zoot while having your own struggles at the same time.

  39. Wow. That post has me all choked up. Whenever a phone conversation starts with “…don’t freak out,” it can’t be good. Glad it turned out well, though.

    And belated hugs to MrZoot on the anniversary of his Nana’s passing. that can be a tough situation to face on its own, and you’re a great guy to be able to support Zoot while having your own struggles at the same time.

  40. Wow, I read this last year, and I still cried. You’re so right – dealing with the catastrophic illness of a parent makes you realize that you’re an adult and how the roles of parent and child can change in an instant. I am so glad that your mother’s story has a happy ending and that we all have a chance to know her.

  41. How scary… being nearly the same age as you, I can understand the shock at having to be the adult and make the big decisions…very scary. I’m so glad everything is fine and that her co-workers had the forethoguht to check on her. What a miracle. 🙂

  42. oh zoot!! i am SO glad that everything turned out okay. that made me cry!
    i love your mom’s site and i love your site too!!
    i’ve not had to make grown-up decisions about my parents yet, but have had to for myself and ever since then, i’ve always made my mom come with me to the doctor’s office.

  43. Dammit,

    I cried when I read that last year, and I cried again when I read it this year. That story affects me so much. Mothers are universal, and that story taps into my fear of losing my own. You have always been a fountain of strength, and this post shows just how strong you really are.

    By the way, I really start to lose it when you pull of the road, speak into a cellular phone, and become an adult.

    I love you, sweetie.

    Scott

  44. Wow… I missed the original post, and I’m so sorry to hear you all had to go through that. I’m so happy for you that things worked out well.

  45. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 This is so touching and you are such a wonderful daughter. I really adore your mom (even though I have never met her in person), she’s amazing!

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