My mom nearly died yesterday due to a ticking time bomb that exploded in her head, which resulted in a subarachnoid hemorrhage, brain surgery, and a ventriculostomy to relieve fluid pressure surrounding her brain. I was by her side within a minute or two after her aneurysm detonated and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. As the physicians surrounded her, I could only stroke her hair and tell her repeatedly that I loved her and she was going to be okay, despite the fact that she was completely unresponsive and, in fact, most definitely not okay.
The truth: I wasn’t sure she was going to survive the next fifteen minutes. I kept thinking, if she’s in there somewhere and can hear me, even if she won’t remember, I need to let her know I’m right here and I love her and she means the world to me.
The physicians placed IVs and caths and intubated her as I provided all the information I could about her (basically nonexistent) medical history. I just wanted to be useful in some way and keep my shit together. I knew that if I fell apart, I would be of no use to anyone. I certainly would be of no use to my mom, who, despite the doctors and nurses caring for her, would need me to be strong and level-headed during this difficult time.
A neurologist would later tell me that 1/3 of the people who have this medical catastrophe never even make it to the emergency room. Her thunderbolt struck her as she stood outside behind our medical clinic where we both work, within about 100 feet of the ER doors, and she had the best doctors by her side within minutes. A stroke of luck, as one would say. (My mom would find the terminology amusing, so it’s not in bad taste.) Had it occurred at home or while driving to her dentist appointment she was supposed to have that same afternoon, she would not be with us right now. She has a long, bumpy road ahead, but she’s alive.
I wanted to write something poignant and beautiful, but all I can say right now, after lack of sleep and trips into Vegas and the knowledge that she’s not out of the woods yet, is that I almost lost my mom, and I am most thankful that she is still with us here today.
I love you, mom. Stay strong so that you can have many of these moments with us.
A huge thanks to the physicians and staff at Mesa View Medical Group and Mesa View Regional Hospital for your immediate response and fantastic care. We are so blessed to have you in our lives and we love you. I honestly do not believe my mom would be alive right now had it not been for your dedication and utmost care. I can’t think about it too much because it makes me cry like a baby.
Also, thank you to the fine Neurologists, nurses, and staff at the Stroke Center at Sunrise Hospital. We will be seeing your faces a lot during the next month.