A Tale of Two Weeks

March 15, 2004 in Uncategorized

Last week sucked. Well, not all of it, but most of it. It was kinda like two weeks all balled into one. A Tale of Two Weeks if you will…

To much personal fanfare, Julie got in to Austin late Friday night. I think the strain of not seeing each other for so long was starting to wear on our conversations, so it was great to have her back here. Brunches at Austin Diner, lunches at Chipotle, “The Boat” on Sunday, and lots of great time, just making each other laugh. It was great. We went up to Dallas on Monday to see a Mavs game, and that’s when things got stupid.

After a fun game, and a classy after-game meal at Hooters, we headed back to the hotel. My dying phone was acting up as it likes to do, and I didn’t realize I had a voicemail until we walked into the room.

What is it about bad news that makes you sit down?

My mom was back at Florida Medical. She went to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing. My mom’s health issues are nothing new, but emergency room trips are rare. I called Gina back (waking her up), and got the hospital’s phone number and Mom’s extension.

I joined Julie in bed, on top of the covers, with all my clothes on, and just enjoyed being held by her. I talk with people about how I’m getting used to Mom’s health being what it is, and how well the last surgery went, but getting a call like that just floors you. I’m not sure how long I was in bed for, but eventually Julie fell asleep. I was up for hours watching TV and just putzing around on the net, until I feel asleep.

I talked to Mom the next morning and she sounded pretty good. I get all of my stubborness from her so I couldn’t tell if she was just putting on a show, but she told me she was checking out the next day, so I felt pretty good. And after some Chipotle, and a little craziness at the Crate & Barrel Outlet, Julie and I cruised down I35 back to Austin. I drove her to the airport early Thursday and I was missing her before she even made it through security. “Pretty eventful week,” I thought to myself as I drove in to work. “I’ll have a lot to blog about.”

I’m an idiot. I shouldn’t even be allowed to talk.

Friday morning I was at work cranking on my evil project. It’s been super hard for me, not just because it’s dealing with things I don’t have much experience with, but also because I just hate the project. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy the things I’ve worked on over the past few years, despite being pigeonholed into the “prototype bitch” role, so it’s been extra difficult. My phone starting ringing.

It was Gina. Again. My mom was back in the hospital. Again. It was a short conversation—there really wasn’t much to say. I called Florida Medical and asked for the Intensive Care unit. “3 North or 3 South?”

How the heck am I supposed to know? Just let me talk to my mom!

I said I didn’t know, and spelled out my Mom’s name. The operator mumbled “3 South”, and transferred me away. After a few more bounces, I finally got Mom. She didn’t sound too good, and all I could think about was my Freshman year of college after her first surgery. I remember walking into the ICU and seeing her covered in tubes and surrounded by machinery. It was so hard. Before Friday, I think I was of the mindset that being a couple feet from my mom and not being able to help her was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with. Being a couple thousand miles away is much much harder.

She was having trouble breathing again, and now there was bruising on her stomach. They weren’t sure what was wrong, but they were going to run tests to see in the stint in her heart was leaking. If it was, then they’d have to perform emergency heart surgery. “Should I come down,” I probed. “Yes.”

My relationship with my mom is a strange one. We both love each other very much, but we have a strange combination of selflessness and stubbornness. My mom once had heart surgery and didn’t even tell me cause she didn’t want me to worry. Seriously. So when she told me I should come down, I was terrified.

And that’s where I lost it. I’ve never cried at work before (I’m not really much of a crier), but I found myself bawling. I hopped in the elevator and headed to the garage. I slumped down on the cool concrete next to my car and cried on the phone to Julie, wishing so badly that her warm arms were there to hold me again.

This post is tiring. I’ve actually been working on it for a couple days now since I’ve been so hosed with work. I need to get back to normal blogging so I’m going to totally cop out, and just summarize the rest.

  • The stint wasn’t leaking. The levels of a drug she takes to thin her blood out was too high, and that caused the bleeding. She got out of the ICU on Saturday and should check out tomorrow.
  • Shri is an amazing friend. So many of my tough times recently have centered around people that on paper were closest to me, but when it came down to it, simply weren’t there. Nothing is as valuable as a person that will be there for you when you’re in need.
  • Much like when I finally got in touch with my mom on 9/11, I cried just as hard when she told me the surgery wasn’t going to happen, as when she told me it was going to.

That’s it I guess. This post is too draining to keep going. Maybe I’ll finish it some other time… We now return you to our regularly scheduled mindless observations and stupid jokes… :)

2 Comments to A Tale of Two Weeks

  1. thinking of you and keeping your mother in my prayers…if I prayed, but i’ll have some deep and meaningful buddhist meditation ceremonies and have her in my thoughts.
    my mother, who has frightened me my whole life, went through a harsh medical procedure a couple of years ago and reading your post, i was brought back to that horrid moment. I have stood a couple of feet away while she was covered in medical tape as well. And no matter how strained our relationship is, your mother is still your mother and you can’t help but crumble because you want so bad to erase all of it and make her new again.
    take care of you.

  2. jen on 16 March 2004
  3. dear mark, I’m so sorry. that’s horrible. I hope your mom’s doing better.
    please don’t take my incredibly self-centred post personally today…..

  4. beth on 16 March 2004

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