Just a few weeks ago my world came crashing down with one phone call. I looked at the caller ID and knew the number, what came out of the other line was not what I was anticipating it being.
“Hi Carrie, This is doctor ______ and your mother has had a heart attack”, Utter disbelieve and shock quickly coursed through my body. I literally told the doctor to fuck off. Then in the next breath the doctor finally tells me “but she is ok”
As I anxiously awaited the call back from the doctor to tell me what was happening and where to meet them, I aimlessly packed the diaper bag and things I needed for the baby. I had to call my brother who doesn’t live here and tell him the news.
They had to transfer my mom from Victoria General over to the Jubilee as that is where the heart unit is located. I beat the ambulance there! I didn’t speed, I was extremely conscious of that as I had my daughter in the car and my brother on blue tooth.
It turns out that she had been having a heart attack for ten days. TEN freaking days! She had gone in to see her doctor complaining of pins and needles and numbness in her arm and he just sent her for xrays due to having some disks messed up in her neck/back. How in the world can anyone be having a heart attack for that long. How did the doctor not know? Well it also turns out that the signs of heart attack in men and women are very different and that women when they present symptoms are not taken as seriously as men. So this is my public service announcement that every one should know the signs of heart attack for both men and women.
The good news is that my mother, my best friend is still with us and will be for quite some time. She was extremely lucky that she had her heart attack while she was at work, as she happens to work in the hospital, and even more so that she wasn’t alone when it happened.
It is a surreal experience to go from being the child to being the care giver. She isn’t allowed to drive right now so If she needs to get groceries I have to take her. If she needs to go to an appointment she needs a ride or has to bus. I call and check up on her. I had to advocate for her while she was at the hospital. Our roles have temporarily shifted a bit. Trying to juggle returning to work from maternity leave, pumping, two kids, a husband, a house, and all the other commitments as well as now help my mom as much as possible is a difficult juggling act, but one I am grateful to have because it means that she is still with me.
I know it is so cliché to say that life is precious but it truly is. Take time to stop juggling life and just be and enjoy the time with your loved ones.