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Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Just Another Manic Monday
Yeah, so yesterday’s flow was interrupted by a call from my mother’s friend. She’d stopped by to take my mom to buy Mia a birthday gift. (Note: For those of you who are newer, mom had a stroke and isn’t supposed to drive . . . although she does for short distances. I berate her for this.)

Mom mentioned that she’d had some chest pain for a week or so. Mom’s friend became concerned and had her call her doctor, whose office told her to go the Emergency Room. Then her friend called me to meet them there. That was around 10:30 a.m.

Flash forward to seven hours later when she’s being released. The diagnosis was “chest wall pain.” (It’s musculoskeletal, or something.) Not her heart. Not a blood clot in her lungs. Now she says that the next time she’s having pain that doesn’t kill her shortly thereafter, she’s not going to tell anyone.

See, mom’s one of those people who doesn’t want to inconvenience anyone, especially after her stroke. When I was living with her years ago, she once woke me up in the middle of the night clutching her chest. “I’m sorry, honey, but I have a pain and I don’t know what to do.” Well, I didn’t either, so I called 911. (That’d be a funny tape to have. They asked if I wanted an ambulance. They asked if they should have the lights and siren, and I thought that the lights were enough at 2:30 in the morning.) I followed the ambulance to the Emergency Room. Turns out she was having an anxiety attack.

The false alarms are always the dramatic ones. It's the sudden emergencies that are somewhat more mudane and real. She had her TIA (stroke lite) when she was driving home from work. Her big stroke was in her sleep. She once gave herself an innocuous bruise on her leg and, within a week, her entire leg was swollen and pink; she was on antibiotics for a month.

My point here is that Fate's gonna deal my mom a shitty hand at some point. She's always gonna have someone around for the false alarms, but when the real deal comes along, she's going to be all alone . . . and/or sleeping, when her Lifeline will be no use.