Have you ever heard the saying, Your story is your testimony? This is mine. I am going to start at the beginning, because that is where I am today. I don’t know how my story is going to end.
On Thursday, I received a text from my sister, saying that she was in the ambulance taking my mom to the hospital. My sister had stopped by my mom’s house, and my mom was slurring her speech, so my sister was in the ambulance with my mom. I texted my husband and picked up my kids from camp. I packed a change of clothes and tooth brush, because you don’t usually get released the same day. The hospital in Maryland was an hour away. We paid all the expensive tolls to get there quickly. While we drove, I read text updates from my brother and sister. The hospital did a scan and found a mass on my mom’s brain. We arrived at the hospital. My mom looked the same, but she couldn’t seem to find the right words, which agitated her. The hospital didn’t have a neurologist, so they transferred her to Johns Hopkins Bayview in Baltimore. A few drive-thru Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets later, we headed to Baltimore.
It was dark when we arrived at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital. My sister and her husband were in the waiting room, while my mom was getting settled in her room. I looked at the lights in Baltimore. It looked so pretty. I wondered how many others have looked out the same window. The nurse brought us back into my mom’s room. As we walked in, my mom was trying to get out of bed. We rushed in and asked where she was going. She gave us a look. As the nurses asked her questions, it became clear that she could not communicate coherently. She said it was 1992. She couldn’t find the right words, which made her frustrated. We met one of the neurologists, and she talked to us. They wanted to do a MIR and CAT Scan to get more information.
Everyone went home, and I stayed there. My husband got home at 11 p.m., it was a 2 hour drive. My kids were an exhausted mess and didn’t understand why I wasn’t there. I was reminded that I can’t really sleep in a hospital. My mom was in a shared room, divided by a curtain. People come in all night long, taking vitals, giving medication, administering tests. My mom was constantly waking up with a look of fear and confusion in her eyes, then she saw me, her face relaxed, and she went went back to sleep. It was a long night. I didn’t sleep. The nurse asked me to fill out a form for my mom. I was so tired, I was having trouble thinking clearly.
My sister arrived. Then, a family friend arrived. Everybody tried to keep things light and positive. I really wanted to go home. I was starving. I needed a shower. I couldn’t think straight anymore. My sister started firing questions at me, and I asked her to ask me later, when I had some sleep and could think straight. And then, it happened. I started crying. Tears just kept leaking out. I walked downstairs and went outside. I took deep breaths. I got back on the elevator. A lady asked how I was, and I started crying again. Stupid emotions. I thought I had regained my composure, but I went back in my mom’s room. The tears kept falling silently. I walked out to the waiting room and grabbed tissues and blew my nose. Uhh, it had become a gross, ugly cry. Our family friend came out and talked to me. She said sometimes it happened to her too. I explained that I was tired, but I wanted to have composure in front of my mom. She made me laugh and finally, it was out, and I went back and could pretend everything was fine again.
My husband and kids came to pick me up. They gave me huge hugs, like they hadn’t seen me for days. My mom had big stickers on her head with surrounded by ink circles. I told my kids that Mimi had silly stickers on her head, but not to laugh, because they were needed for tests. They said ok. We said bye to my mom and headed home. Before bed, each of them came to me in their pajamas and asked why I spent the night at the hospital. I told them that when I was in kindergarten, I was in the hospital for a fractured skull. (I left out that a drunk driver hit our car). When I woke up, I was surrounded by doctors with clip boards taking notes. Before I woke up, I heard them talking about me. When I opened my eyes I saw bright lights and the huge circle of doctors. I started crying and asked for my mom. I thought I was all alone. My dad appeared with a teddy bear. I was so happy to see him. He told me that my mom was also in the hospital, and she was going to be ok. I told my kids that I didn’t want Mimi to feel scared and alone, so I stayed with her, just like I would stay with them in the hospital. They smiled and hugged me.
It was Friday night, and day 1 was over.
Best advice: It is a difficult time. Everybody handles things differently. Focus on your mom, you and your family. (Thank you, A)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
–Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
I am so weary. I am exhausted. I cannot keep it together. I am a mess. God, give me rest. Give my heart peace. I am going to trust in you to give me what I need, when I need it.