Today was the day, a year ago, that my mom finally went to the doctor, which sent her to the ER, which sent her to the ICU. She had been sick for over two weeks and it wasn’t getting better. She’d spent the night before on my couch, trying to sleep propped up because the liquid in her lungs made it impossible. We were sure it was pneumonia. And we were sure she’d get better. We watched a Grammy special for Elton John and drank margaritas together. Mom wasn’t a drinker. She was having a hard time relaxing and the cold meds were making her throw up, so I swooped in with my favorite relaxer. I hadn’t realized just how bad it was until that night when she could barely walk into my house. I found her hunched over a pillow in the morning, and at first I didn’t think she was there, she was so small. Juan Luis convinced her to go to the doctor because it sounded just like when he’d had pneumonia. She listened to HIM, not us. We all laughed about that. Sometimes we still do. The ER agreed it looked like pneumonia and started pumping her with antibiotics. Found she had severe diabetes (didn’t know that) and started her on insulin. A doctor in the ER that was only up for the weekend on call from California was the one who noticed it was heart failure. After work I went and found her in the ER with Kim, and this leather-jacket-wearing, briefcase-carrying, awkwardly-human-interacting doctor was saying there were so many dead blood cells floating around her veins she’d clearly suffered a massive heart attack. “When?!” she was saying. “Before the liquid buildup…” So she’d had a heart attack weeks before, unknowingly, and just kept trudging on. We were in shock. My fucking badass warrior mom. She never even cried from pain during the whole ordeal. Heart pumps, extracting that damn lung liquid out through her back, inserting needles and ports into hands, elbows, armpit, groin. At one point I counted 32 medicine bags hanging on her IV stands. The eight days that followed were the most loud and haunting and short and surreal and scary and long and loving and sad sad sad days of our lives…
2 thoughts on “The beginning…”
Damn Krystal. You really should be a writer. It’s so beautiful and heartbreaking that I really feel like I was there with you. You have such a gift and talent with words. You’re amazing.