" I’m so scared, “ she whispered between ragged breaths, her eyes pleading with me to help her.
“Mom, you are going to be okay,” I replied, stroking her arm. Although I was scared too, I believed my words.
“I’m not ready to leave your guys,”’ she said, her arthritic hand clutching Dylan’s with a strength I didn’t know she had.
“Mom, you are not going anywhere, “ I said adamantly as if she were a grounded teenager caught sneaking out of the house.
Earlier in the day, I was heading out to Brennan’s soccer game when my Dad called to tell me Mom had been rushed to the emergency room again. I wasn’t overly concerned as this had happened several times over the past couple of months, each time she was sent home with instructions to “take it easy.” They could find nothing wrong. Although my Mom had been having issues with her heart, she was under the care of a specialist, and we had been assured she was in no imminent danger.
“ I’ll meet you there,” I said to my dad, motioning for my husband to head on to the game without me. I had just seen Mom the night before at Dylan’s Lacrosse game and she seemed okay, although she left early due to feeling cold. Snow, rain, sweltering heat, my Mom never left a game early.
“Dylan, Grandma, is in the emergency room, will you come with me to the hospital? I asked, “it might cheer her up to see you.”
“Of course,“ Dylan said, his Grandma Sandra being one of his favorite people in the world.
“I’ll stop and buy you a sandwich on the way," I said believing she was not in crisis, and figuring it could be a lot of sitting and waiting.
Despite the crowded waiting room, there was no waiting.
“Put these on,” the receptionist said quickly as we checked in, handing us visitor passes. I searched her face for clues to Mom’s condition, the clenching sensation in my gut telling me I may have underestimated this trip.
The room was bustling with hospital personnel when we walked in, Mom hooked to wires that connected to machines bleeping like an orchestra playing off-key. Her breathing was labored, and tears rolled down her cheeks as she saw us walk in.
“We are here mom, it’s okay we are here,” I said with a calmness I did not feel.
"I’m not ready to leave you guys,” werethe last words I would hear her say.
Without warning, an alarm sounded overhead, catching me off guard like a fire drill during a yoga class. All available personnel to room four came
over the loudspeaker.
Room four? We are in room four.
Hospital staff rushed in as Dylan was ushered out, my Mom, a moment ago writhing in pain, was suddenly very still. Medical people surrounded her as chest compressions began, one, two, three, four, her body bouncing with each thrust, my Dad leaned over her pleading, “breathe Sandra breathe!” I watched praying that the next compression would bring her sputtering to life. I began making desperate deals with God; I would be a better daughter, I would nurse her back to health, I’d start going to church, and I'd tell her that I loved her everyday if he would help her come through this. It all was happening so fast, yet moving in slow motion. Five, six, seven eight. Nothing.
“Dad, I can’t watch anymore,” I said as I stepped outside the room, collapsing into a metal chair, my legs feeling like water.
I pulled out my phone and called my sister who was out of town visiting a friend, “Lisa, come home,” I choked, "it’s Mom.”
My Dad and I waited silently next to each other in those cold hard brown metal chairs, the frantic bustling in her room giving me hope she was still alive.
The doctor walked towards us, his scrubs drenched in sweat, and his eyes not meeting mine. I willed him not to speak, knowing the words would make it real.
My life was about to be forever changed.