I just came across this lovely quote by Chuck Palaniuk and it made me think about what I’m afraid of. To look within yourself to find your fears and confront them is HARD! I have several fears, but the worst fear of all is how do you go live with the loss of someone? The change that is so severe that it is a loss? How is that possible?
My wonderful, strong, get on my last nerve Mom is a survivor of 3 brain aneurysms. That in and of itself is a medical miracle. There is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. http://www.bafound.org/Statistics_and_Facts
- Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths from subarachnoid hemorrhage are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding which is not correctable by medical and surgical interventions.
20 years ago, when I was a senior in High School, my Grandpa came and picked me up from school. This VERY unusual since I had track practice after school. He told me mom was at the hospital and we had to go. I was like, ‘Ok, bye y’all I gots to go!’ Now I’m thinking that she broke her hand roughhousing with our 115 pound Doberman, but the whole family was at the hospital so I knew it was serious. The doctor comes in and says ‘she’s stable but there’s a problem. She has not one, but two aneurysms. One has ruptured and the other is the size of a gold ball.’ The world dropped out from under my feet!
The year before, a high school classmate died from an aneurysm. He was 18 years old, a star soccer and lacrosse player who was alive and laughing at 1st period, in the hospital at lunch, and dead by 6th period. HE WAS 18!! This doctor just told me that my mom had 2!! I thought that at 18 years old, I was about to lose my mom. If that happened, I knew I’d lose my Dad not long after. Needless to say, she went straight into surgery and had the ruptured one clamped real quick, and then they dealt with the other.
Now for a little schooling. A aneurysm is when a blood vessel fills with blood and blows up like a balloon. They are cousins to strokes, and ruptured aneurysms are called hemorrhagic stroke, whereas in a stroke, the blood vessel collapse on itself. So here is a golf ball;
and the human skull:
My mother had that size aneurysm in that skill size! I was freaked! Two surgeries, I.C.U, an escape attempt to get to my graduation (out of a drug induced coma no less) so physical therapy and my Mommy was home! There was a little bit of memory loss and some other issues, but she was good as new.
Fast forward to September 11, 2005. After a long day at work at the airport ,where the memories of 9/11 are still fresh, I got home and was just getting comfy when my grandma called in hysterics. She kept screaming ‘he’s gone, he left me!’ My Dad and I go rushing to their house. We run in and there on the bed was my grandpa. My dad gave him CPR, but it was to late, he was gone. My best friend, my hero, my partner in crime was laying there lifeless. I didn’t know how to go on and I still don’t. Almost 10 years later and I still cry for him. I still miss him. I still need him. The strongest man I know was gone. He wasn’t supposed to die. Ever.
Now, It’s December 2005. We had one of the worst winters in years. In its 13 years of operation DIA closed for the 2nd time due to snow. You couldn’t tell a snow drift from an airplane. It was just too dangerous to have our guys out there trying to clear all of that. We got something like 23 inches in 24 hours. We were stuck at work for 36 hours, fielding phone calls and trying to take care of the 2000+ people stranded in the airport. NOT. EASY. Finally, they let me and Mom go home (she needed her meds and I was her ride. YEA!)
January 1, 2006. Moms in a cast because our 115 pond rottweiler stepped on her foot and broke her baby toe. Shes getting around and all is good. After work, we needed to stop at wal-mart. We spent about an hour or so wandering the aisles getting what we needed. We head back out to the below zero weather and mom comments ‘Ooh, brain freeze’. Because of the cold, we didn’t think anything of it and I drove off. Just outside of the exit driveway mom had a massive seizure. Her she is, shaking in the passenger seat of my car looking at me saying ‘not again, not again’. I found a calm I didn’t know I possessed and kept her calm. Called 911. The ambulance showed. My 110 pound mother beating the crap out of the firemen and paramedics with a cast on her foot! I told the paramedic taking her info from me to go tell her I said STOP! He walked the the back of the rig, and knew the moment he told her, because she stopped and looked up at me. She’s safe. I lose it. Called Dad, and in that voice that no parent wants to here, I tell him. Rush to University hospital. Transferred to main hospital because this is still under construction and isn’t equipped to handle mom. They got her stable.
There they got her stable, contacted her previous Neurologist and took her to surgery. I collapsed. I was spent. I feel into one of the last good nights of sleep I’ll ever have. I woke up with my best friend, cousins, and several other friends sitting around me making sure I was ok. I found my Dad. He looked like death. His wife, his love, his world, was again in brain surgery. We thought that was over, in the past. But no, life wanted to kick us in the teeth again.
Mom’s home, but this one damaged her. She’s in a wheelchair. They say we’ll walk again. I hope so.
So here I sit, thinking about a perfectly nice quote, thinking about trying to go live with a fear so profound that it gave me PTSD, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think I’ll pass on going to live with my fears.