Friday afternoon, I was gearing up for a busy weekend. I had been having some minor health issues and had gotten behind on Christmas shopping and other holiday stuff. I finally went to the doctor Friday morning and was looking forward to feeling better and catching up on some things.
Around 6:30, Mom called and asked if I could come over and help her. She said her hand and lips were numb and she couldn't think straight. Her speech was a little slurred. She thought she was having a migraine. I grabbed some Excedrin Migraine and went over there.
After nearly an hour, we finally convinced her to go to the ER. They did a CAT scan which showed some abnormalities. The ER doctor said it appeared she'd had a minor stroke. Those are words that completely stop you in your tracks.
I don't know much about strokes, but I know they can be debilitating and cause permanent damage. How much damage had been done? Was she more likely to have another one? They transferred her to another hospital where a neurosurgeon could look at her. The next thirty-six hours were tense and anxious, worrying and wondering.
I think Mom probably got to her room around 11:00 Friday night. It filled my heart to see three of her sisters, one brother, two sisters-in-law, and one niece show up at the hospital at that hour. One aunt even spent the night at the hospital Friday night.
She spent Friday night and Saturday night in the hospital, undergoing a battery of tests. They released her this morning. The neurosurgeon said he thought her numbness and other symptoms were caused by scar tissue from a previous stroke. And she has to make an appointment with him to see if he can determine why these episodes are occurring and how to prevent them.
My thoughts are many and scattered. I'm not sure I'm making much sense. It was strange to be there without Dad. I mean, he visited for a few minutes on Saturday. But it was weird to realize for the first time the responsibilities that had been transferred to my sister and me.
On trips back and forth to the hospital this weekend,I kept passing places that reminded me of my childhood. I passed the preschool I attended. It closed a few months ago, but the building and sign are still there, along with some playground equipment. I remembered crying when Mom would drop me off. And thirty years seemed to have disappeared like a wisp of smoke.
For a time when I was very young, Mom and Dad cleaned the social security offices at night and cleaned up the parking lot of a shopping center on the weekend to make extra money. They would bring me along. I passed the shopping center on the way to the hospital this weekend. I thought about Mom and Dad when they were younger, trying to make ends meet. Oh, to be five again.
It just seemed things like that kept popping up and stirring memories of long ago. And I didn't mind at all. I was thankful to be reminded of things I hadn't thought about in years.
Friday afternoon, I was stressing about shopping and errands and Christmas and such. But sometimes life has its own plans. Tonight, I'm spending the night at Mom's, having been reminded of the things that are really important. All that other stuff... is just stuff.