So a few weeks back, after taking the dogs for their morning walk, I was sitting in the kitchen enjoying my breakfast when I heard my phone ring whilst on silent upstairs (that thing really vibrates!). Curiosity got the better of me so I retrieved the phone and listened to the voice message:
It was mother. She was in the doctors surgery for an ECG appointment. They didn’t like what they saw. They had called an ambulance and she had to go to hospital. Oh, and could I collect her car from the surgery and take it home and also she had forgotten to pick up her mobile so could I call her friend to say she wouldn’t be able to call her later as promised.
The seriousness of the first half of the conversation was belied by the calm, matter of fact practicalities of the second half (this is a family trait) and also because she just didn’t sound ill. Not panicked, not sounding ill; how bad could it actually be? After assurances that I would take care of it all and come and find her in hospital that afternoon, and with messages of love and hugs (because I am sweet like that) I then decide to finish breakfast before making a plan and heading over.
You see; Mother lives four and half hours away from me – 10 minutes to finish breakfast wouldn’t be lost.
Skip forward a few hours and I walk into the CCU (Cardio Care Unit) of East Surrey Hospital and find mother laying in bed hooked up to drips, monitors, oxygen and with various other needles hanging out of wrist and arms.
I cant tell you know that almost stopped me dead in my tracks! Considering the Calm conversation this morning, mother was now out of breath, with a rocketing heart rate and very high blood pressure.
She ended up staying in hospital a week whilst the team monitored her and carried out tests, through which there was talk of the possible need for a pacemaker, but they ended up managing the situation with a few new drugs and a revision of the various drugs she already takes (which, when you actually start paying attention to these things, is an AMAZING amount of drugs every day).
Blood pressure. Diabetes, Arthritis. Pain related to the Arthritis and a few other things to boot. Now to add Cardiac Arrhythmia.
She is now back at home and pretty much back to normal. I stayed around for a couple of weeks to help out where needed and I was forced to watch countless soaps and endure a never ending stream of tea (most of which I made; very odd that I would torture myself this way) but it was good to be there, to talk, to take comfort that she is still here – because it so easily could have been different.
That first night when I visited her on the ward I left filled with worry, however, the next day she was visibly improved and thanks to the care and attention of the CCU staff she lives to tell the tale. I cant tell you how relieved I was that second day when I stepped into the CCU ward and saw her sitting up in the chair, without the oxygen and off the main monitor (she was actually wearing a mobile ECG kit under her gown).
My dad passed 11 years ago, very suddenly, whilst I was on the other side of the world (well, Thailand), so I know what it is to lose someone without warning. Since then I have been much closer to my mother – knowing how she needs me more, but also that I need her more than I had previously given credit. Your parents are gifts – treasure them and go out of your way to tell them how much you love them. Find ways to spend more time with them and enjoy them why you can
Because it could just as easily be you that one day dies without warning.
Take the time to say how you feel now. Enjoy the moment and share the time you have as best you can.
Mum, I love you. Don’t you dare go anywhere!*
*but feel free to not watch the soaps when I am around 🙂