The Day Everything Changed

>On November 11, 2010, I was at work having a reasonably normal day until around noon. I was sitting at my desk and I saw my dad was calling. I grabbed my phone and walked out into the hallway to take the call, thinking he was reminding me to come pick up my laundry after work. When I answered, he sounded pretty calm. He said that the neighbor had called him — my mom had been “throwing up blood” and the neighbor called 911. He said he was on his way but asked if I could go to the house since I could get there faster than him.

I went back inside, told my boss I had to go because my mom was being rushed to the hospital, and left. I wasn’t overly worried at this point, especially since she had been taken to the hospital by ambulance back in September. I expected to walk in the house and find her sitting on the muffet in the living room, upset but ok.

When I pulled up to the house, there were two ambulances outside. I walked into the house and was not at all prepared for what I saw. I opened the door and my mom was lying on the floor right there by the front door. She was in the fetal position and appeared to be unconscious. Her glasses had been taken off. The pot that she carried around with her (in case she needed to throw up) was sitting near her head, full of blood. I could make out at least three dark red clots in it. There was a pool of blood on the carpet next to her face, and there was blood on her pajamas. There was a paramedic kneeling on the floor next to her with a box of equipment. He wasn’t moving all that quickly, and in that split second, I took that to be a good sign. After all, if this was an emergency, he’d be moving much faster and doing more, right?

The other paramedic was sitting at the dining room table filling out paperwork. The neighbor was standing in between the living room and dining room just watching what was happening.

I put my purse down on the couch and walked over to the dining room. I didn’t freak out, although I was getting very shaky and nervous. I don’t know why, but I didn’t ask anyone what had happened, what was going on, how she was, or anything. I didn’t go to her and tell her I was there. I didn’t ask her if she could hear me. Nothing. Instead, I tried to help the paperwork paramedic find her insurance card. Then I decided I needed to call my husband. I knew deep down this was serious and that he should be there. I went into the computer room and tried texting him and calling him. No answer. I went back to the living room and they were takin her out to the ambulance. The neighbor pulled me into a hug and we just stood there for a minute.

I decided I wanted to go in the ambulance so I grabbed my purse and the neighbor said she would clean up and take care of the cats. The paramedic put me in the front seat and started asking me questions about living wills and DNRs. I couldn’t think straight and had no idea what he was talking about. Just then, my dad pulled up and parked in the neighbor’s driveway and walked over. I got out and met him and the paramedic filled him in. He went in the back of the ambulance to see my mom, but they were working on her. I told him to go with them and I would drive my car. I couldn’t find my keys — did I lock them in the car? I found them on the couch and went and sat in my car, waiting.

The neighbor came running out and handed me my mom’s glasses. She said she took them off because she didn’t want her to hurt herself. I don’t really know what that comment meant and I haven’t asked her.

I sat there and decided to call my husband’s school and have him paged. I told him what was going on and to meet us at the hospital. It seemed like it took forever for things to get moving. After a few minutes, a nice female paramedic came over and said they would be leaving in about 5 minutes and that I should go ahead and meet them at the ER.

I didn’t know it at the time, but what was taking so long was that they had to intubate and stabilize her. From what I know now, she was almost dead at this point and it was a miracle she made it to the hospital.

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