Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yet another family crisis

Monday night I had a really hard time sleeping. All night, I tossed and turned, having these incredibly weird dreams about my mom, of all people. When I finally managed to drag my butt out of bed Tuesday morning, I dismissed it as the product of an overworked and overtired brain, as any rational person would.

As luck would have it, my mom was really sick Monday night/Tuesday morning.* She ignored it and managed to get through most of the day, but Tuesday evening, she checked herself into the hospital. And no one told us kids. My sister lives 20 minutes away, and no one bothered to call her. The only reason we found out about it at all was because my brother called my Nana, where he found out about this and the fact that my Nana all but totaled her car on Friday. (I already knew about the car accident.)

Clearly, this is not a good year for my family.

I spent most of the day trying to find out from someone -- anyone -- what the hell was going on. No one was answering the house phone or my mother's cell phone, and my dad's cell phone went straight to voicemail -- which means that it wasn't on or wasn't charged. Go figure. So when I got home, I called my sister, who didn't even know my mom was sick, and I sent her into a panic. And then I called my Nana, who only knew the vaguest of information.

Eventually, my sister and I -- separately -- managed to get to talk to our father. (And then to each other, to our brother, and to Nana.) Turns out that my mom has some kind of infection and is septic. And now she's having complications -- she's having difficulty breathing, her kidneys aren't working, and her blood pressure is really low. And she's a diabetic who is allergic to a whole bunch of medicines.

I don't know anything about medicine, but I know this is bad -- and the doctors have pretty much confirmed my worst fears.

My entire family seems to understand the scope, but we all process it differently, I guess. Apart from failing to communicate with his children, my dad complained about how my mother was complaining, and about how she seemed so much better in the morning, before he left her to go to work. And then he decided that he would go to sleep early so he can deal with things tomorrow, with a clear head.

My brother, the baby of the family, is in some kind of denial, saying that, after the past couple of months, the fates "owe us one." My Nana is understandably worried about her eldest child.

My sister is a wreck. She called me to cry -- and I wasn't having any of it. In no uncertain terms, I told her to stop, that she could fall apart when it's over, but for now, she has to be a grown-up. She says she's not strong enough -- I told her that's bullshit -- people manage to get through what they need to get through, piece by piece, little by little. We're all worried and sad and scared about mom, but everyone else can't spend their limited energy making her feel better about it. She needs to find that strength for herself.

As for me, I'm listening to the rain pound against my window, and checking on flights to Florida for the weekend. I'm still kind of hoping to go next month, under better circumstances. But I'll decide tomorrow.

*This is not the first time such a thing has happened in my family. Half my life ago, when I was sixteen, my mom was scheduled to have foot surgery -- and I was really excited about getting to drive her car around while she recovered. But when she went to have the surgery, she had a panic attack when they tried to give her the anesthetic. Turns out, my Pop - her dad - was in the process of having emergency bypass surgery.

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