Like all mothers mine is truly amazing woman. A year ago tomorrow I was going about my morning chores doing laundry and watering the garden when a silly little thought came to the front of my mind and I thought I wonder what I would do if I lost my mother. I let it percolate a while and then pushed it away wondering where that nonsense came from. I felt my fear of flying slip into my body which was really odd, and decided I was nervous that my bestie was flying to Vegas that night. I came inside and changed Littles diaper and saw I had a message on my phone. I checked the message and it was dad and he sounded strange. He said there was an issue with mom and he was heading home (super strange) and would call and let me know what was going on. Dad called back and told me mom was being air lifted from where she was camping to the hospital. I told him by the time he got to my house I could pack up my stuff and Little and we could head out. I called the bestie at work and was only able to get out that mom was being air lifted and bless her big heart she left work and was here in minuets. I was freaked out but we managed to get the car packed. By then we had heard that because of the CT scan she was going to be transferred to either UCSF or Stanford. We headed up that way and by the time we were near Stanford we heard it would be UCSF. I remained completely freaked out but not in a hysterical way. I like to think I have the talent of managing crisis. We arrived at UCSF, my Sister-in-law watched Little and dad, my brother and I went in to see mom and talk to the doctors. She was out of it to say the lease. Being in her hospital room I felt dizzy and had to sit on the floor several time to stop myself from passing out. The doctors explained she had a brain aneurysm that had hemorrhage. Dad signed the papers to allow her to have a craniotomy the following day. This may seem a strange way to start my Friday five but I thought I would give you some background on what I am so thankful for today.
1. She lived. 40% of people who suffer the hemorrhage she did do not. 15% never even make it to the hospital. My mothers survival is partly due to luck and partly due to my mom being awesome. She had been camping with friends and they were just getting ready for their day when the rupture occurred. Mom got a splitting headache. She sat down and someone came to check on her. They asked if she was ok and she said “I think I have had a stroke I need to go to the hospital” She had been aware of stroke symptoms and was able to advocate for herself from the get go. Apparently many people think “oh its just a bad headache I will wait it out”. This statement from my mom may have saved her life.
2. UCSF. This is an amazing hospital. We are immensely lucky to have such a great facility close to us and that the Chico hospital sent her there. The surgeon that did her operation has literally preformed thousands of these type of operations. He is one of the top 3 in the whole world! The hospital case worker was fantastic. Moms insurance tried to say they wouldn’t pay for the second helicopter the air lift to UCSF because it wasn’t necessary. They also said she didn’t need so many days in the Nuro ICU. The case worker told the insurance company in no uncertain terms that it was not up to them to decided that the doctors are the ones that make those decisions. They paid for it. The entire staff that was wonderful and helpful throughout all of it.
3. speaking of the people moms nurses were wonderful. The were skilled and knowledgeable and had an endless supply of patients with all of our crazy. our Nuro ICU had its own waiting room filled with families camping out. All of us were in the same boat just at different stages of our journey. We shared stories and updates and lots of time. The first day we got there, we meet a family whose father was going through the same thing mom was. They were full of words of encouragement and what to expect. Having these other families around us was so helpful. Of course my family was great. Everyone really pulled together. I don’t think my dad left moms side except for when forced for the entire time she was there. My brother and sister-in-law life in the city and so they were there all the time. I communicate with two of my aunts who let the rest of the family know what was going on. My husband took time off work and came up to be with us and to watch Little while went to sit with mom. Being the information age or something like that I posted on Facebook that mom needed positive thoughts and prayers the first day before we even knew what the doctors would say. I will always remember the people who text, called immediately upon reading that message.
4. While we were in UCSF one nurse told us about http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/ What a wonderful site! we were able to set up a community for mom and all the people who wanted to help but didn’t know how could sign up for different things. Meals and walks and time spent just hanging out were a few of the things we asked for. For us it was great because we didn’t have to coordinate any of it. We just put time slots up and people signed up. Speaking of cool websites http://www.bafound.org/ is great for every thing brain aneurysm related. If you are curious about some basic facts check them out here.
5. Being part of a family that values family. Everyone pitched it and there was pretty much no complaining, just everyone asking what else can I do? A year later we are still working on recovery but not in a sever way. My parents marriage is actually stronger now then it ever has been in my memory. Our family makes even more of a point to spend time together and we get really cool extras like this
a trip to the beach after a trip to the doctors. Our lives are different now, and some things are still difficult, but mostly I am just so grateful for the outcome of this experience.