I apologize in advance if I am getting my facts mixed up. This is how I remember the day my mother nearly met her fate.
10 years ago today on December 31st 2003, my mom was rapidly breathing in her bedroom. I asked her if she was okay, as we were both getting ready for work. Her answer didn’t indicate that it was serious but rather she was feeling a little weak, tired and under the weather. Although, she did have to lean on me when walking down the hallway. I admit that this was a little bit unusual but I simply just had my breakfast, made sure she took cold medicine or whatever and kissed her goodbye, hoping that she had a good day at work and to drive safely. I try to not to overreact to things and to keep cool. After a few hours at my job, the phone rings at my desk. It’s my sister. She asked me if mom was ok and if I have heard from her. She called mom several times with no answer. Then I called her. Nothing. A friend of hers down the street came by to check on her. I believe it was Pam. She opened the garage door and went into the family room. My mom was just laying on the couch sleeping, still panting heavily. Pam asked her if she was okay, or something like that. I think then she drove her to work perhaps? I say this because it was revealed that at some point she was at work but resting in the lounge and not at her desk. A co-worker, Cindy, drove her home but asked if she wanted to go to Urgent Care. My mom refused. So I think my mom drove herself to work.
What I know for certain is that my sister called back and in a seriously crying tone said, “You need to come quickly to the hospital.” I tried to pull myself together. What happened? Perhaps her friend Cindy took it upon herself to take her to the ER. Something wasn’t right. I excused myself from work and drove to the hospital. I was fighting back tears and my head was spinning as if I was in a nightmare and everything was distorted. What on earth happened? The doctor indicated some kind of blood infection. Perhaps it was pneumonia. Some of the signs were there. Chest pains when she breathed deeply or coughed, shortness of breath and fatigue with muscle aches.But whats all this with the blood infection? She had red spots all over her body, almost like chicken pox. Cognitively she wasn’t making any sense really. Her memory bank was randomly mentioning things out of the clear blue in a slurred speech pattern. My sister, Jessica and I were starting to freak out. Another friend, Yvonne was there, supporting us and trying to make sense out of this. In addition, Pam and Cindy came to see my poor mom in this unusual state. In my entire life up until I was 27 years old, my mother never went to the doctor or spent any time at the ER. This was serious and sudden.
The ER staff ran EKG tests, ultrasound tests and Cat Scans. All we knew is that she was very sick and would be admitted to the hospital for a long time. We also found out that she had diabetes. But what was the main culprit? The answer came as a sever shock! Bacterial Meningitis!! Woa! This was a deadly problem especially for a woman at age 52, at the time. How did she contract this horrible disease? Why was my mom being contained behind a glass wall? Why did we have to wear gloves and a mask suddenly, in order to see her? WHY? Her fever was high! 106 degrees! The stiff neck, the fluid in the lungs and the red spots were all present symptoms. This became a touch and go process. Family had to be contacted. With it being New Years Eve, many people were out of town and unavailable. How can I go to sleep? What’s going to happen?
days, weeks, and 2 months of; induced coma, a ventilator down her throat, neurologists, pulmonary specialists, therapists, 100’s of friends, family (distant ones from out of state), prayers and patience; my mother made it through these incredible odds. We dealt with social workers, late night headaches and tears. I battled a soar throat and fatgue of my own with the constant talking to employees and sharing stories with my relatives. We did what we needed to do in order to let the doctors and nurses do their thing. Honestly, I don’t know how she made it alive. A nurse once told me that she is a miracle. They never saw anyone fight so hard. Her not being able to talk and full of bed soars and the 50/50 odds of survival were all speaking doom.
Laughter, smiles, jokes and prayers is what ultimately did it, for me. I prayed to the Virgin Mary to help me get through this. I called her answering machine on her cell phone just to hear her voice until that day came when she was released to go home which wasn’t until the end of February of 2004. We helped her get stronger and encouraged her to see a physical therapist. She takes medicine for the diabetes and uses a cane to walk around. She managed to even return to work, although it was for a different company because her previous employer let her go, due to cutbacks. Even though it was unfair, she still was persistant and found employment elsewhere and continued to drive herself to and from work everyday.
Life can surprise you everyday. We all manage to endure a lot of pain and when we think the world around us is shattered, life reveals to us the truth. We can survive. It’s a miracle everyday when we take that first breath. Thank you mom for pulling through and being my miracle mom. I love you and HAPPY NEW YEAR