TITLE: Second Chances
By Karen Story
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“Mom is in route to the hospital. She collapsed in church while decorating for Christmas Eve services”, my sister Margaret said hurriedly. “I’m following the ambulance and she’s going to Trident Emergency. I’ll meet you there”.
Quickly getting dressed, jumping into my car, pulling out of the driveway, I called Margaret back on my cell phone.
“Margaret, what happened?”
“All I know is that she woke up this morning with a headache and was feeling sick to her stomach. She’s throwing up blood and Mary had to get a trash can. Mom gave her my phone number. I got to hang up now. I’m driving, I need to call Matt.”
“Oh Jesus, Father God, Holy Spirit, please, please be with my mom right now. She can’t leave me yet. This is in your hands God. I feel you near me, thank you”, I prayed and drove as fast as I could to Trident. I phoned Craig, my husband, and let him know about Mom and asked him to find Bill, my brother, and bring him to the hospital. I also asked Craig to call the church and get mom on the prayer list.
I parked and ran into the emergency room. Margaret was standing in the hallway. “They have taken her to x-ray, let’s sit in the hallway outside where they have her now”, Margaret spoke while walking towards wherever. I was in la-la land. “This is happening, this is real, just go with the flow”, I told myself as Margaret repeated what had happened at St. Luke’s.
Very soon, it felt, we where able to see Mom. She was sitting up in bed telling us she felt nauseated and has a bad headache. Nurses where around her checking this and doing whatever nurses do. A man appeared and introduced himself as a neurosurgeon. His name was Dr. Tyler and behind him stood mom’s family doctor, Dr. Levinthal. They directed and walked us to a sitting area room across the hall. My brother and husband where coming through the big double doors, spotted us and came into the room.
Dr. Levinthal closed the door and we all found a seat and Dr. Tyler spoke first. “Your mom has had a brain aneurism, that’s why she’s throwing up and her head hurts. We need to stop the bleeding and we are scheduling surgery for tomorrow morning or sooner.”
I remember questions being asked and answered but most of all I recall Dr. Levinthal saying, “We are not sure how well your mother may recover from this, she may have some personality changes”. My sister’s eyes and mind locked together for a moment, and then we both asked as we turned to the doctors, “What do you mean by personality change?”
“Well, it could be for the bad or good. She may not remember things, or she may be sad or moody”. “Oh God” I thought and whispered to Margaret, “Could she be meaner or nicer?”
My mother had surgery on December 24, 2003 and the time now is April 2008. Spring is in bloom in Charleston as I reflect back on the past five years. Mom isn’t the same person she was before the aneurism and neither am I. It’s like God, through the surgeons’ hands, fixed the bleeding but He also took some memories. The bad ones like all those terrible things I did because I was acting out from being sexually assaulted by a Great Uncle, or the instance of when my father touched me inappropriately, or the time I was a victim of date rape, or ….. I believe that’s enough for now.
God gave me back my Mom. All those wasted years of bitterness between us vanished. During her recovery, I was able to hold her and sit next to her and pray. I helped her learn to dress and walk. Mom would tell me how sweet a girl I was. The look in her eyes reflected that she loved me. Now longer do I get the look of disappointment, no longer does she say things that upset me. She nurtures me. I thank God every day for giving us a second chance.
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