In case you didn't already know, my mother's real name is Cinderella. (Yes, for real.) She was born in 1947 and the Disney movie came out in 1950. So, I'm guessing that my grandparents chose her name because of the classic folk tale. I think this is both awesome and perplexing that the same time. The original story about Cinderella was adulterated numerous times. It was not nearly as carefree as the Disney remake.
But I digress...Cinderella had a heart attack on May 6th--not the Disney one, my mom.
Don't be alarmed -- she's okay now! My brother called me at work shortly after my lunch hour ended. He informed me that he was in the ER with our mom and reassured me that she was stable. Apparently, she had been feeling chest pain all day at work and it finally got to the point where she couldn't ignore it any longer. She drove herself to the hospital. I immediately left work (after tying up some loose ends at work with G) and by the time I got to the hospital, my mom was doped up on morphine and IV Nitroglycerin.
Mom was coherent, but clearly out of it.
I'll tell you why I knew this. You see, shortly after I arrived, my mom needed to use a bedpan to go pee. So, I stayed for "moral support"
I responded with, "Mom, I wouldn't have four kids if I didn't keep my vagina clean." Lol! Yep, my mom was really doped up.
Lucky for me, I didn't have to focus on anything else other than my mom. I knew the cubs were being taken care of. Boo and Niki were with my MIL and I figured that I would just pick Kev up from school on my way to the hospital. My friend G was already planning to take Kevin, her daughter, and godchildren to the movies to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid after school. When my mom ended up in the ER, I figured that we would just cancel their plans given the circumstances. G offered to help me immensely that day. She insisted on picking Kev up from school, still taking him to the movies, and dropping him off at home. I was hesitant at first because I didn't want her to go out of her way, but she was very adamant about sticking to the plan. I wrote a note to the school and off he went with G to the movies. When she dropped him off that night she bought Happy Meals for Kev and Boo. What a sweetheart, huh?! I'm forever indebted to her.
Meanwhile, the nursing staff seemed tickled pink that their patient was "Cinderella". No one seemed to get over her name! Later that afternoon, they took Mom to the Cardiac Cath lab so the Cardiologist could take a gander at her heart. By that time, all four of her kids and my niece were hanging around waiting for the procedure to be over. After a few hours of waiting, we discovered that one of her main arteries was almost completed occluded! If she waited any longer she could have croaked or had a serious attack. The Cardiologist put a stent in and advised us kids that we need to make sure that our Mom was more diligent about her health. She's was non-compliant with her blood pressure and cholesterol medication for months which put her at high risk for complications.
Later that night, I lightheartedly told my Mom that I didn't care if she died, but the cubs did so she better take care of herself.
I was only half joking with her. I absolutely care if she dies, but I care even more about having to explain death yet again to the cubs. Processing Ethan's death is enough for them for now, ya know? I like to think that my scare tactic worked because as much as she can doubt my love for her, she knows that my cubs love her unconditionally.
I have no idea why though. (Lol...if you're reading this I'm kidding, Ma. Stop stalking me and get back to work!)
That's how I deal with scary things. I crack off-color jokes so I can wrangle with my internal emotions a little better. Becoming an instant comedian helps me feel like I have control of an uncontrollable situation. Life is tough, but we don't have to become engulfed in the stress, ya know? And injecting laughter and satire does wonders on my weary soul.
My mom ended up staying a week in the hospital.
John and my MIL were very supportive and took awesome care of the cubs during my absence. I visited my mom every day after work and spent a lot of time with my brothers, older cousin, and niece. It's funny how people come together during times of crisis. If there's one thing that I will *always* cherish about that week, it's the closer bond I developed with my older brothers and cousin. We've all grown up and have lives of our own so my family hardly spends time together. There was a time that I wouldn't dare curse in front of them. Now, I curse like a sailor and no one bats an eye. It feels good to be treated more like their peer than their pesky kid sister/cousin. We would hang out until the wee hours of the morning sharing stories.
I even got to tell them about all the cool, shocking, and interesting things that I learned and saw at school.
My mom was discharged from the hospital into a slew of newness. New medications. New relationships with her kids. And a new closeness between her children that she'll be able to witness in her final years. She's faaaaar from dying any time soon, but I'm glad we all walked away from this experience learning something new about ourselves.
Cinderella had a heart attack, but our family's new fairy tale is still being rewritten.