Friday, March 11, 2011
The second worst day of my life was in August of 1993. I don't remember the actual date but it was the summer right before I started my Senior year of high school. (Yes, I'm THAT old.) My parents and I were enjoying a relaxing summer evening in the basement of our home. I remember the picture so clearly: my dad was playing Solitaire on the computer and my mom was ironing. She and I liked to watch old black and white movies when there was a lot of ironing to be done. My brother wasn't home; he was actually running around somewhere with the man I ended up marrying.
The phone rang and my mother walked to the computer desk to answer it. I paused the movie to wait for her to finish her conversation. I wasn't really paying attention but I heard make a noise like she was laughing at a funny story. I looked at her, grinning, and said, "What?" She had an odd look on her face and she wasn't holding the phone next to her ear. The next thing I remember was her stiff body falling straight down on the ground. Her head hit the coffee table and shoved it against the couch where I was sitting. I remember screaming. My mother's body lay lifeless on the basement floor and I had no clue what to do. My dad was instantly next to her on the floor, assessing the situation. He called her name and gently shook her body. No response. I picked the phone up off the floor to call 911. But I didn't hang it up long enough for it to reset. So I placed it back on the receiver and ran upstairs to call for an ambulance. I remember the phone call:
- 911, what is your emergency?
- My mother just fell over, I don't know what's wrong with her.
- OK, we'll send somebody right over.
They didn't keep me on the line; they didn't ask if I was OK. Maybe they couldn't tell I was just a kid.
After I hung up, the phone instantly rang again. "Hello?" I quickly answered. It was the woman my mother had been talking to when she fell. I hung up on her and ran back downstairs. My mother was still lifeless and my dad was performing CPR. That was just more than I could handle. So I ran outside and tore across the yard. My grandparents lived two houses away (I told you we were all close). I noticed their garage door was just beginning to close so I started beating on it. My grandfather heard the noise and came out. I don't remember what I said to him but I remember running back across the yard. I took him downstairs where my dad was still working on my mom. I must have been somewhat hysterical because someone told me to go wait for the ambulance. In reality, I think it arrived in five minutes. But it felt like an eternity. My crazy old great-aunt (whose house I now live in) saw the commotion and stood outside to wait with me. She patted my hand. I had never been so thankful for my crazy great-aunt before.
When the emergency crew arrived, I took them downstairs where my mother was slowly regaining consciousness. She was helped upstairs and sat down in a kitchen chair. She had no memory of what happened. At first, she didn't even recognize me. She just cried into my dad's chest. Around this time, our back door slowly creaked open. The husband of my mom's friend appeared with a baseball bat. She heard a thud and then heard me scream. They assumed we were being robbed. How horrible is that?!?
They took my mom to the hospital via ambulance. They confirmed that she had a grand mal seizure. I was so affected by it and wouldn't leave her side. The next evening at almost the same time, she began seizing again. She stopped and then went right back into another seizure. It continued for more than twenty minutes and they flew out of the room to get her stabilized somewhere. She ended up staying in ICU for ten days.
She recovered, probably quicker than I did. For the next year or so, if I would come into the house after school, unable to find her, I would start looking around the house to see if she was collapsed on the floor somewhere. My hair began falling out in hunks and I had a hard time concentrating in school. My mother was put on medication that prohibited her from driving for six months. So I became the primary driver in our home. I drove her to the grocery store, to church, and drove my little brother to all his activities. Six months later, she took herself off the seizure medication because she just didn't feel right. That was six more months she couldn't drive. I worried about her for a long time after that. But she claimed a healing. She hasn't had one problem since that day in the hospital!
I'm so thankful for stories that have happy endings! But now you know The Second Worst Day of My Life.