Yesterday morning felt good. The usual waking at the hour I am not wanting, realizing it is Saturday and I can sleep in a little bit. My job is a normal 9 to fiver for a juggernaut of a company in an industry I am fascinated by, but never saw myself in. I learn more and more everyday about who I am and am comfortable not wishing for a different life. But yesterday’s morning contents stripped all of my precious non-complacency away.
I attempted to call my mother. It wasn’t unusual for her not to answer her sporadically necessitated phone. No need to leave a voicemail or anything, Mom would see my name and certainly call me back when she was able. Not 5 minutes later, my cell phone rings and I can see the name on it from across the room. It’s my stepdad calling me.
I have thought about this moment before. I am incredibly anxious and neurotic about phone calls like these. It’s not that Mom has her hands full and asked my stepdad to call me back. That’s not it. Mom would have just missed the call and called back once all the groceries were in the trunk and she was on her way back home. My stepdad was calling me because my mother was not able to for some reason.
I was right. I hear my stepdad tell me that Mom had an episode the night before. The first time I am hearing of any kind of episode. She screamed for my stepdad from the bedroom and demanded he call 911 immediately. She felt “shaky” and “just not right” according to my stepdad. The paramedics arrived and performed the vitals. They recognized that her heart had shot passed 250 BPM. A resting, considered normal rate for a healthy human heart is between 60 to 80 beats per minute. This was trouble, big trouble. They defibrillated my mother’s heart right there on the spot. That was also something my mother had never experienced before. Lots of new things learned yesterday morning……………
A few days prior, Mom had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Somewhat common ailment for anyone really, think of it as a cold that didn’t quite get taken care of. I am told that this and a prior diagnosis of COPD are the culprits. Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease is basically an umbrella term for progressive lung diseases. And before you ask; yes, my mother is a current cigarette smoker.
Excluding all the off-hand knowledge I have of her illnesses and the hysterical, but self-enforced limited research I have done so far; I am terrified. What this means to me is for the rest of my mother’s existence; she will have to fight for air.
This is the beginning of a long and painful fight. And it’s one that I have to watch. I have to watch my mother dying. I am not equipped to do this. The circle of life gives me absolutely no comfort; I have no god to pray to (heathen atheist), and I love my mother more than I love myself.
This is not a call to action about smoking. I want to be clear about that. I use to be a smoker, I get it. Every single smoker wants to stop, but they don’t. They just don’t because there is not a good reason to.
I am preparing for someone monumentally important to me dying. It’s one of those things no one teaches you to do. Much less, talk about. If you know the feeling, my heart goes out to you.
There are so many things to get use to now that this has happened. I can envision a lot more un-missed phone calls to my mother. Because I will explain to her that when she doesn’t answer I will be panicking frantically. There will be loss of concentration at work because my mind will be meandering with motherless thoughts. Most likely a spike in lack of production due to my inability to stop reading about any kind of medication or magic trick that will save her. I am already a palm-sweaty, kinda awkward guy just walking around. Certainly the seething fear and overwhelming anxiety will be wrapped about my face like a surgical mask.
What do we do? Who do we go to? Is there a specialist in the area? Will she need an oxygen tank? Will she tote around the tank? Will she find an adorable way to accessorize her new pressurized companion?
In an online chat with a close friend, she immediately tells me it is too soon to be thinking about all this. When someone offers their two cents on a subject so grave, it’s hard to take their words into consideration. You can tell that within yourself the words “She will be fine” do not quite apply at the present moment. They might as well have said “hamster toaster couch farm.”
I do have one laurel to rest on in this fight. What is really giving me a sense of comfort is that I know my mother is a fighter. In my opinion, life was not very good to her. She is one of the kind-hearted souls that was dealt a more melancholy hand. Life really had a way of reminding her that she was a punching bag for other’s belief’s, insecurities and selfish indignations. She is the type to displace her own happiness for the sake of others. She has lived not for herself since before I was ever born. It’s sad to think that your mother suffered so much just being alive, but its her gentle tenacity and perseverance that has hoisted her up on the pedestal she so deserves. This woman is remarkable to say the least.
Yesterday morning carved a new path for us to walk. She will be non-chalant about it. She knows that I am petrified, stupefied and otherwise bubbling over with fear. But just like anything else I have endured, I had my mother standing right next to bear the brunt. This time around the brunt is not so trivial. Perhaps yesterday morning marked the point in which I will be standing next to her instead. For me to understand that means that my mother did a stellar job guiding and teaching me. I am more prepared than I first thought, and it’s solely due to her. In essence, she has set herself up to have the best possible outcome through me. I told you she was remarkable, but she is light years beyond that too.