May 9, 2010
May 4, 2009 - Mom had returned from Rush the previous evening after another bout of what we had named "mad cow". Her liver was failing, ammonia was building up in her brain and causing dementia-like symptoms, and she only slept in her own bed six nights throughout the month of April. She was shaky, weak, the constant back-and-forth from hospital stays resulting in a series of purple blotches along her arms that were casually referred to as "Rush tattoos"
What my mother, my aunt, and I did not know at the time was that they had released her to "be with loved ones"...and that Mom's chances were not very good.
The morning of May 4, I was uploading MP3s into my Blackberry, preparing for another day at work. While holding it, I felt it vibrate in my hand, and saw an unfamiliar number. Reading it, I saw it was the hospital, and answered.
"This is your mother's social worker. We have a transplant opportunity, and we want to know if she's interested"
Yes, I can see Mom saying no I thought to myself sarcastically.
"We've not been able to get in touch with her - the phone keeps ringing."
I asked her to wait five minutes, and then called my aunt's cell, informing her of the news. Within minutes, we coordinated - my mom, aunt, cousin (up from Pennsylvania) would head up first; I would need to contact my employer and let them know that I would not be in. Packed my laptop, a book or two, and then drove off in another aunt's smaller car.
On my way, the cell phone rang. It was my cousin.
"How long will you be?"
"I'm at Archer and Ashland - should be about twenty minutes."
"We'll hold off so you can see Mom into surgery."
"Don't wait" I asserted. "If she needs to go, send her."
Fortunately making it on time, I arrived in the emergency room to see Mom carted off into surgery.
The wait itself was...well, unbearable. Worrying, waiting, listening to my cousin and her brother complain about needing to smoke outside...,most of the time, admittedly, I spent lying down with my eyes closed, attempting to sleep but in a vague state of semi-consciousness.
At 3:30 pm, we were informed that surgery went well. Mom would need to rest and recuperate for awhile, but that her prognosis was good. And so, we left, and visited when appropriate.
It's easy to forget that, one year ago, I was close to losing my mother. My father went quickly, the result of heart failure due to smoking and poor living. My mother chose the opposite - amending her diet, doing what she needed to do in order to prolong her life, and took much better care of herself. Being with one parent is tough; being an orphan is even tougher.
That's what makes Mother's Day especially sweet this year.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
From Gordon D at 11:21 AM