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!