I remember the day exactly. It was my second day back home for winter break and my mom has been suffering from a terrible migraine that started 2 days before. The day my life almost changed forever was Saturday, December 22nd. On Friday, December 21st, I came home early morning to surprise my mom as she was not expecting me until Saturday. As I walked into my house, however; I was faced with my mom laying on her bed, post throwing up. I remember helping her come down the stairs so we can at least watch TV and talk as she rests on the couch. Surprisingly enough, as the day went by she started feeling better and better to the point where we even left the house to visit a friend of hers.
Saturday, December 22nd.
On Friday night, when we got back home from visiting her friends, we continued our weekend routine which is to relax on the couch as we watched an Ethiopian wedding or new Ethiopian dramas that are posted on Youtube. However, that did not last long because my mom started feeling a terrible migraine that made her throw up and tear up.
Saturday morning at 8 am, my dad and I forced my mom to go to the ER as her symptoms were getting stronger and she kept losing her balance/consciousness. As we got to the ER, she was automatically admitted into a room where they started blood tests.
4 hours later, all the doctor found was low potassium levels and dehydration. As he was in the process of discharging my mom, I asked for her to get a CAT Scan TWICE because she expressed how her migraines were so bad and lasted 3 days. He continued to express how it does not seem like she needs one at this moment but if the migraines continue, to bring her back instantly and she will get an MRI instead.
It took 2 hours. 2 hours.
As we left the ER, we went to grab a to-go food from our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. We got home, ate the food and started watching TV and talking. Exactly 2 hours later, my mom gets up from the couch screaming that her head is pounding, she gets up to go the bathroom then gets back to the couch and lays there as my dad and I continue yelling at her to get up so we can go back to the hospital.
My mom was stroking.
I noticed one side of body weakness, drooping of one face and the slurred speech. Heart racing, not knowing what to do I called 911 automatically where they helped us until the ambulance arrived. I remember the scene exactly. All the emotions rushing to my brain but I did not have time to cry or think. The stroke ambulance arrived and took my mom into their on-site CAT Scan and it turned out she had a right brain bleed from a ruptured aneurysm. That was the moment I did not know what to say or do. As I rode in the ambulance, I continuously prayed for my mom, I begged God that he was not going to take my mom away from me in front of my face. I begged him to give her one more chance. I begged him that I am not ready to live in a world without my mom. As the ENT's used me for translation, all I could think was "God why? Just why? I am a good Christian, why is this happening to me."
As we arrived at the hospital, they rushed my mom in a room where all the neurosurgeons, neurosurgeon residents, and trauma doctors were all assembled to assess her. As I ran after her to the room and entered the room that was when everything felt real. All I could think about was that was going to be the last memory I will have with my mom and I didn't even get to tell her I love her. As the doctors pushed me out of the room because it's very traumatizing for family members, her morning ER doctor followed me out.
He apologized. He said "I could have never seen this coming. I am really really sorry." All I wanted was to scream and ask why he couldn't just give her the CT Scan when I asked. It would've detected the aneurysm before it ruptured but all I said was "okay, it's okay" and walked away. I assumed maybe it's her time. As I was waiting for my dad to arrive, the neurosurgeon approached me and asked me to sign a consent form for a procedure they were gonna do. They explained the procedure could help drain the blood before they do the surgery to clip the aneurysm and if I don't sign the consent she could die at any moment. Of course, I signed the consent form no matter what the outcomes of the procedure were. I sat there with dry eyes, replaying everything that happened in my head. How we got from talking and watching tv to rushing to the hospital praying for my mom's life.
Sunday, December 23rd: Day of Surgery
I could not sleep that night. I still wasn't able to cry. I could not eat. I was just anxiously waiting for the time of her surgery. As the doctors came in to take my mom to surgery, they told us one last time the risks and what could possibly happen like we were going to change our minds.
All I could think was:
How can I forgive her morning doctor? How can I forgive him for not giving her the scan early on? How can I forgive him for apologizing after everything happened? How can I forgive him when he made me think thoughts I never wanted to think?
As my mom was in surgery, I prayed and prayed and prayed to God that if he was going to take her away it would be now. I prayed that I don't want her to suffer so while she's had anesthesia would be a perfect time to call her to him.
My mom made it through the surgery. The neurosurgeons were successfully able to clip the aneurysm but they repeatedly explain to us that we have an extremely long road of recovering ahead of us.
I saw how life without you would be like mom. As dad spent every night with you at the hospital, my brothers and I were forced to come back home to an extremely quiet house. You lit up the house, you made the house a home. You weren't there to tell me goodnight as always. I couldn't watch Ethiopian dramas or weddings without you. And the worst part of all is that I was not able to come and tell you about it because you were in a medically induced coma. I went from talking to you every single day (about twice a day) to not hearing your voice for 2 months.
Mom, Dad was very lonely, he could not sleep. He had to learn how to be a mom and a dad. He didn't want us to feel like we are missing anything not having you by our side so he made sure to cook how you use to cook and be there for us just like how you were.