Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What happened after I woke up this morning

I could also entitle this post: A study of a crappy morning in black and white.

I got a new phone and had set the alarm for 7:30. The alarm was different than what I've been used to as my normal wake up sound was the voice of Steve Damm from the Dave and Steve Show singing a little song. My whole household is familiar to the morning melody of "Just stop what you're doing and be polite please..." Anyway...

The new alarm wasn't the new alarm at all and 7:30 was actually 7:15. What was actually happening was my phone was ringing. I saw it was the number from Evergreen Hospital so I immediately answered it. My mom has been in the Critical Care Unit for the last 8 or 9 days.

The conversation went like this:

Hospital: Is this Tracy?

Me: Yes.

Hospital: Your mother has taken a turn for the worse. You need to come here as soon as possible.

Me: Okay, I'll be right there.

You know what the subtext of this conversation is. You don't want to say it, but you know exactly what it sounds like. My heart sank. I called my brother who had just returned to California and my sister who lives a bit further north. I wanted her to have a chance to see mom.

I told my wife that she'd have to take our five year old to soccer camp this morning and explained what I was told on the phone. She whispered "okay" with the same sort of heavy seriousness that I was feeling inside.

I got in the car and during rush hour I made the 40 minute trip to the hospital (which is normally 15 minutes). Each minute that went by while still in the car made me more anxious. Once I arrived at the hospital I made my way up to the Critical Care Unit and went to her room and saw the nurses cleaning up the room and the bed was empty.

One of the nurses turned around and asked me "Are you her son?" I managed to eek out a "yes." The next words she said hit me hard. "She's gone." I lookd over at the empty bed and the other nurse asked "Would you like to see her?" I nodded.

The nurses began then talking about some side things they needed to do and if it was possible for one of them to take me to see my mother. I began to change my mind and think maybe I didn't actually need to go to the morgue.

I got to thinking though that this didn't add up so I spoke up.

"Wait, can someone tell me what is going on?" I held my hands out to stop everyone and just get an answer to my question.

"What have you been told?" One of them asked.

"I think the whole conversation should've started with that question, don't you think?" I pointed out what should've been obvious.

It turns out that "gone" meant being prepped for a surgery that I didn't know she was going to have and they called me down there "as soon as possible" to simply wait in a waiting room when I could've waited just as easily from home. Nice huh?

My day started with a 45 minute drive with the idea that my mom was on death's door. It got better when I got to spend a couple of hours with her today talking and watching TV and showing her junk on my new phone.

Next time you have a crappy morning, remember mine.