The good news is that I’ve made Gold Status in the Hilton Rewards Program. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but according to Hilton it’s something to be celebrated.
The bad news is that my mother has suffered a “serious heart attack” (as opposed to the mild ones?!). She’s got a respirator down her throat helping her breathe because her heart isn’t currently strong enough for her to handle breathing.
There is also some question about brain activity. After her heart stopped the hospital defibrillated her for 20 minutes and we just don’t know the impact of what 20 minutes of defibrillation does to the body (aside from cracking “a number” of ribs). Science tells us that there will be some damage but no way to gauge right now.
Now, I don’t tell you this for your sympathy. If you are reading this, presumably you already care. I would only ask you throw a simple prayer or positive thought out into the ether for my mom.
So what happened?
I don’t really know. Heart attacks can happen at any age, but being 78 certainly doesn’t help.
Thursday afternoon I was on site for my job when my father called to tell me that my mother was currently being brought back to life. HUH?! Not quite the call I had expected but after a certain age phone calls from your parents can yield more anxiety than pleasure.
But I certainly wasn’t expecting that call. Who is?
Not knowing what was going to happen my Dad and I decided to take a wait and see approach on whether or not I should fly down. Ever the voice of reason he just said “What are you going to do if you’re here?” Fair point.
I gathered myself as best I could and went about the business of making TV happen.
About 90 minutes later my Dad called and we decided that I should come down. Down to my nemesis state. Florida.
So, I left work and went back to the hotel, made the necessary arrangements, packed, had some drinks and, like the scene from the movie, Snatch when Avi (Dennis Farina) flies from NY to London, I made my way south.
I arrived in Florida and immediately went to the hospital to meet my father. I walked into my mom’s room and lasted all of 30 seconds before breaking down. I had to step outside. A couple of minutes later I tried to come back in and this time I lasted maybe one minute. Progress.
Nothing can prepare you for seeing a loved one in an Intensive Care Unit with what looks like a control panel from a Star Wars space ship hanging next to them.
Nothing can prepare you for seeing a loved one with so many tubes coming out of them they resemble a Rand McNally map. I suppose I am dating myself with a Rand McNally reference…for you millennials out there, that’s a Google map…on paper.
Nothing can prepare you for seeing the woman who gave birth to you, yelled at you, grounded you, chased you around the house with a hair brush attempting to spank you (I was faster…she smoked), stayed up to watch The Exorcist with you when you were 18 because you were a giant ninny, kept flushing your weed down the toilet, the woman who painted your toenails after you passed out on you 21st birthday, the woman who defended you for every idiotic move or decision you ever made, the woman who, as best she could, taught you the importance of unconditional love. Nothing can prepare you for that person appearing to have no recognition of you.
Thankfully, my fathers stoicism remains in check. But somewhere underneath I suspect he shares the pain I so freely express. I’m the sensitive one. I guess.
Over the past few days my tolerance of seeing my mom has increased to where I can usually last a few minutes…until a doctor or nurse starts talking…and then…cue waterworks.
Here’s the funny thing about tragedy. People attempt to insert themselves into a narrative in which they don’t belong. Knowing their intentions are good it’s hard to be upset, but you want to scream “YOU’RE NOT ON THE CALL SHEET FOR THIS!”
In my case, some of the people who are actually part of the narrative are so wrapped up in their own narcissism (is that redundant?) that they can’t be bothered.
One, her son, a mere 40 minute drive away. Another, a daughter, 1500 miles away (marginally more understanding).
But some people just suck. No changing that.
My mission became finding a way to connect with my mom so I could find a way to last more than a couple minutes before breaking down. Thankfully, I inherited my love of music from my her.
Not her taste though. My mother’s love of Norweigan Death Metal did not transfer to me. Thankfully.
Nonetheless I thought it would be a good idea to get her a little boom box to play CD’s in her room. I type this in her room while we’re listening to Glen Miller. You can never ever go wrong with Glen Miller. Charlie Christian was the Eddie Van Halen of Swing and Jazz.
It’s hard to discern whether or not she hears the music let alone recognizes it but, at least in my head, it’s making it better. It makes it better for me (does that make me selfish?).
We’re still in the dark about what is next, but we are a strong lot, we Higgons.
Tragedy forces you to step up and outside of yourself and places things in a certain perspective. As hard as it is, there is a self-realization about the type of person you really are (now, that is selfish) and that’s not entirely bad.
Nonetheless, I think we’re eager for some more solid reports so we can begin to develop an after care plan.
Right now it’s a lot of waiting, and driving, with a lot of questions. Maybe that is why they call people in hospitals patients because the one thing that everybody needs in a hospital is patience (see what I did there…clever huh?).
But I know one thing is certain.
I can’t wait to tell my mom about my Gold Status as a Hilton Rewards Member. She’ll be so proud…but won’t pass up the opportunity to ask me why I’m not a Diamond Member.
I love you Mom.