Ladies and gents, it is high time that I sat myself down and wrote something before I lose all 22 of my readers and Jill withdraws that Stylish Blogger Award. So, let me talk about something I really wasn’t sure I wanted to write about.
For those of you who know me personally, you already know that my mum suffered a stroke on Sunday morning. When the phone rang, I was sat on the couch finishing up breakfast and giving myself a motivational speech about getting my ass to the gym that morning. The talk was going very well and I was about to get dressed when I heard the phone. As most of you know, I am severely allergic to the telephone; so much so, that I never actually answer it. I prefer to let my voicemail do all the work, mostly because I’m sick and tired of telemarketers harassing me. So when I picked up the phone and heard my dad on the other end, I was somewhat perplexed – it was only 10:30 a.m. Dad sounded abnormally calm, which was my first clue that something was off. I could hear the dog in the background, and dad trying to calm her down. Then he said “Your mom’s not feeling well and the First Respondents are on their way.” At that moment, I think my heart skipped a beat and panic set in. Dad had time to tell me that mom was experiencing facial paralysis – and that was about it. He had no time to say anything else except “Don’t panic” because the FRs were knocking at the door. Well, too late for that.
I paced from one end of the condo to the other until dad called me back. To sum it up, mom was having a stroke and the FRs immediately called for an ambulance. Mom was graced with two instances of good fortune right then and there: first, the FRs had been less then five minutes away when they were called to the scene (hmm, that sounds like they’re going to investigate a homicide, doesn’t it?) so they arrived very quickly. Second, the ambulance wasted no time getting to my parents’ place and whisking mom off to the hospital. Oh, and let’s not forget dad’s quick thinking – he gave mom an Aspirin before the FRs even arrived. While dad was in hot pursuit of the ambulance, I was in the process of getting my crap together and going home (as in mom & dad’s). Let me just say that my drive home involved a lot of cursing and fist banging on the steering wheel. My mind was in overdrive and I kept sporadically shouting things like “Fuck! She’s not even 60!” and “Grandma – you better fucking take care of her!” Yes, I surely looked like a nut case, shouting and gesticulating as I barreled down the 15N. This was in-between weeping fits too, so I hope that none of the traffic cameras caught me on film because there might be a warrant out for my arrest.
At some point in time, we all think about losing a parent; it’s not something that any of us want to think about despite knowing that this is a normal fact of life. I’ve given my mom shit on numerous occasions for bringing up the subject of what will happen “when.” She always laughs it off and agrees that these conversations are a little on the morbid side. Anyway, if I’m being honest, even though I’ve briefly thought about this, I don’t think I’ve ever taken the possibility of losing one or both parents seriously before. Tell me, who does? They’re our parents – they’re like super-heroes aren’t they? They’re going to live forever! Bad shit doesn’t happen to our parents. But on Sunday, as I drove along life’s crazy highway, cursing and gesticulating, I felt scared. I mean, truly scared for the first time, at the possibility of losing my mum. This would be bad shit indeed. As luck would have it, this was not her time. Mom has been in hospital all week, under observation and she’s undergone a slew of tests. Thus far, all of them are coming back negative (To clarify: by ‘negative’ I mean that the MDs have found nothing wrong so far. I have to clarify this because when my brother read dad’s email, he freaked out, panicked and called home in the middle of the night. He thought ‘negative’ meant that mom was on the brink of death!). Anyway, at this stage, the MDs are very intent on determining whether or not she has a clot floating around in her body. Two scans have shown nothing, and she is now waiting for an MRI and an ultrasound of her heart. It is necessary for the MD to determine where the clot stems from. We don’t know when she will be released from the hospital.
True to form, the stroke hasn’t phased mom. First, she called me on Monday morning and told me she wanted to take a shower but couldn’t. When I arrived at the hospital, the first thing she told me was that she was bored. This was followed by a complaint about her hair not being washed, which she informed me, was what she was just about to do that when she had the stroke. Alrighty then. She then looked at me and smiled – to demonstrate that only the left side of her face could move, while the right side remained frozen in place. She made a few faces to demonstrate this as well (where’s the camera when you need it?). In addition to the facial paralysis, she cannot feel her right eye at all. This is very strange to see – because when she blinks, it’s only with her left eye. Her right eye is sort of frozen in a wide-eyed expression. It almost looks like she’s got a bionic glass eyeball instead. Mom has informed me of two things since the stroke: first, she’s decided that treadmills suck and there’s no point in using them. I quickly informed her that had it not been for her walks on said treadmill, things could have been a lot worse! This probably helped diminish the effects of the stroke. So, knowing that mom can be a little stubborn, I told her to check with her doctor to see if he had any concerns about her using the treadmill. I am pleased to report that he does not – Thank you! Mom then informed me that if she’d had her bag of chips on Saturday night, she probably would’ve avoid the stroke altogether. Well, at least she’s got a sense of humor.
As cliché as this will sound, it’s at times like these that you discover who your real friends are. Your true friends will reach out to you and be there for you, even if it’s only to check in to ask how you’re doing. They’ll be there for you when you need to unload your anger and frustration or when you just need a shoulder to lean on. However, this is also a time when people will show you their true colors by demonstrating indifference as well as their lack of compassion. So, to all of my friends who have been there for me this week, and who continue to be here – thank you – you guys rock! And to the ass-trotting prick that I dated very briefly, and who hasn’t contacted me since I told him that my mother had a stroke: please look up the definition of the word ‘Asshole‘ in the Webster dictionary, because you will surely find a picture of yourself right below it. Thank you, and have a NICE day!