Three weeks ago I left for Pittsburgh to see my bestie for a few days before heading to Chicago for the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit. I wasn’t there even 24 hours before my dad called to say they were taking my mom to the hospital because she had a virus and her blood sugars (she’s a brittle Type 1 diabetic) were too high and they couldn’t get them down. He actually left a message as I didn’t hear the phone. It’s SOP in our family that they call me when this happens and I call the brothers who live out of state.
I wasn’t too concerned since this happens frequently when she gets sick and is usually quickly resolved.
A couple of hours later he called me in tears as the medical staff was “swarming her.” That’s not a phone call you ever want to get. He didn’t know what was going on but wanted me to call my brother’s right away. (He didn’t even remember that I was out of town.)
I did, and then waited what seemed like an excruciating 3o minutes for my dad to call back.
In the hours that followed I learned that my mother’s blood sugars skyrocketed into the 700s (normal is 80-120) and she had a heart attack (before arriving or after – we’re not entirely sure). That “swarming” was them actually shocking my mom when she coded. (Thank goodness I didn’t know that at the time!)
BTW, women, please know that symptoms of a heart attack may be different for women then they are for men. You may not experience chest pain, instead you might feel nauseous and sweaty or clammy. Who knows if my mom really had a virus or if those were warning signs of her heart attack.
When things had calmed down a bit I asked my dad if he wanted me to fly home. Of course there’s nothing really I could do there and one of my brother’s quickly volunteered to fly in so that I could continue on to CAFO where I was presenting two breakouts.
I still waffled back and forth in my plans. My mom ended up sedated and on a ventilator and at one point I had my flight home all picked out. But as soon as a heart cath was done and a stent put in the 100% blocked artery, she immediately began to show improvements in her blood sugars and all her other numbers.
Maybe the choice should have been easy. But yet there was a part of me that felt like this was also a very real spiritual battle and that Satan would have loved nothing more than to keep me from going to CAFO and leading the breakout on Post-Adoption Depression. And if you know me, you know how stubborn I am, especially when it comes to Satan.
My dad continued to insist I didn’t need to come home. As one brother left, the other flew in and stayed until the day I was getting home. So I continued on to Chicago.
I was near to tears for much of the two days, not because I felt like she was still in danger but just all those emotions were raw and on the surface. So every worship song made me cry and when Senator Mary Landrieu (talking about getting children into families) said “you never outgrow your need for a parent” I pretty much lost it.
Thankfully my mom came off the vent that same day and when I walked into her hospital room the next morning she woke up at my voice and gave me a groggy smile.
She croaked out the words “I wondered where you were,” and then I lost it all over her shoulder. (That statement is funny now because she doesn’t remember anything prior to the day before I arrived home and even then she only remembers my oldest brother’s voice but thought it was a dream.)
She’s 73, I’m 41. I still need my mom.
Thankful every day that God has chosen to give us more years together.
P.S. My mom is doing so much better. She was released from the hospital last Monday and is in a rehab facility. Besides regaining her strength she still cannot swallow correctly and so she has nasal feeding tube in. As soon as she can swallow without aspirating they’ll remove that and send her home.