Please don’t go yet…
Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? But what if one day, you’ll see the woman you love the most lying in a hospital bed with many wires and tubes attached and heavily breathing fighting for life. Would you still find a reason for this kind of situation? Here’s an article I made about the battles of my mom, “To the woman, I love the most”.
Finally, I’m going back home (Philippines) after 2 challenging years. As I tried to establish what I really want to do in life felt like I’m on a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs. I’m physically tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained. All I want is to rest for a few days and see my family. Fortunately, a 10-day vacation was given to me in which I’m very excited about. I haven’t seen them for over two years, 743 days to be exact. Imagine that, who wouldn’t? 🙂
August 13, 2018, my flight to Manila, Philippines. No one knows from my family or relatives when will be the exact date and time I will arrive. But I kept saying to them that “I’ll be home soon.” I contacted my closest friend to pick me up at the airport to surprise my family especially my mom and my 9-year old niece. Shout out to my brother from another mother, Thank you Per.
As I arrived at our house, no one was there. I’m the one who’s surprised. Hahaha. 😊 Until someone opened the gate for me, my brother, who was sleeping the whole time while I’m outside. After the delayed flight and a long time of waiting, I can finally take a nap and enjoy the bed. Woohooo!!! 😊
A few hours later, I suddenly woke up and saw my mom staring at me. She smiled and can’t believe that I’m home. 😊 I gave her lots of hugs and kisses like I’m a kid again. I think that’s just what I only need after 2 demanding years. The love and care from my mom. 😊
I miss everything in the Philippines, my family, friends, the places, and of course the Filipino food! 😊 Especially the food cooked by my mom. I also love the pastries she always makes every time she just wants to.
A week had passed and I only have 3 days left. I need to head back to Vietnam for work. I decided to meet some of my previous colleagues on the afternoon of August 20, 2018. Talked about lives, plans, funny stories, and went home. Just another ordinary day.
And this happened…
Around 9 pm as I entered my mom’s room to let her know that I’m home. I saw her lying on her bed, covered with her own spew. We rushed her to the nearest hospital for first aid and did a few tests to know what’s the cause.
A few moments later the results came in, and the doctor said, “Your mom had a stroke and there’s a big blood clot on the left part of her brain. It needs an immediate operation or else she will die”.
My world stopped. As I look around, I feel like everybody is in slow motion. I’m trying to think harder about what should we do next after what the doctor said but I am starting to fall apart. I can’t focus, my body is shaking. I’m holding my emotions back and didn’t notice, tears slowly falling down from my eyes. I’m trying to compose myself and look strong for my sisters, nephew, and 9-year-old niece but I can’t.
I had a quick break and took a deep breath for a minute to digest everything and get myself back to the situation.
The clock is ticking. My mom needs to undergo an operation as soon as possible. However, the hospital facilities where we initially brought our mom didn’t have a surgeon and the capability to do the procedure. The time is running out, the next 24 hours are the most critical hours for my mom to survive or else we will never see her again.
On the other hand, we informed our dad, who happened to be abroad about what’s happening and the current condition of our mom. My dad immediately suggested a hospital in Manila (Capital city of the Philippines) where my mom is covered as his beneficiary. It’s really far from where we live in but we didn’t waste a time and rushed our mom there. We’re lucky as it was a public holiday in Manila, NO TRAFFIC.
As we arrived in Intramuros, Manila, everything went fast, and then realized that our mom was ready for operation. The surgeon talked to us and told us about the things that will possibly happen after the operation. He said “If your mom survived, she will never be the same as she used to be. Her memories will not be clear, she will not be able to talk the way she used to and it will take a very long time for her to fully recover.”
We felt every word he said and it’s hard to accept but we have to. All we’re thinking at that time is to extend her life and be with her again no matter what it takes.
To have you an idea, my mom had a “Craniotomy” (It is a surgery where a section of the skull, bone flap, will be removed to access the brain.). It may sound dangerous, but it needs to be done to clear up the clotting on her brain.
Without hesitation, we spoke to the nurses and surgeon, and let them do the procedure. We know our mom is a fighter and will survive the whole process. But at the back of our minds, we are still not sure. Uncertainty is inevitable. Though what we all know, our faith is greater than what we fear.
The operation started, it’s half past 1 am and the waiting area was full of anxiety. We’re quite worried as we don’t know what will be the outcome. I went back and forth to the main door of the operating room. Distressed and agitated. Until someone opened the door, a bit tensioned, and shouted our last name. I and my sister walked slowly as if we don’t want to know the result. Then the doctor said, “The operation was successful but we need to observe your mom in the upcoming days and see how her body responds to medicines and the operation.” We’re somewhat relieved but still left worried as we need to wait again if she will able to handle all the antibiotics, other medicines injected into her body, and the whole process itself.
Intensive Care Unit
48 hours had gone fast after the operation, I haven’t seen my mom open her eyes. My mom was placed in the I.C.U. and we’re only allowed to visit her every day for 2 hours one at a time. 1 hour in the morning at 10 am and an hour in the evening at 6 pm. The doctor said our mom is conscious, we can talk to her even her eyes are closed. She can hear us, she might only have difficulty opening her eyes and recognize the people around her. So we’re advised that every time we visit her, we tell her our names and talk about our memories with her.
It’s really hard to see the strongest woman you know, now lying on a hospital bed fighting for her life. We don’t want her to feel that we’re fretful for what happened. We make sure that the moment we face her, we’ll pray, we’ll encourage and cheer her up to be strong and fight.
On her 4th day, post-operation, she had a fever again. It was an ON and OFF fever for the next 2 weeks. Again, we’re worried but the doctor and nurses said it’s actually normal. Even though there’s a statement from the professionals, the agony of the unknown is daunting to us.
Doctors, Nurses, Staffs, and Relatives
We’re filled with gratitude for all the things you’ve done. Especially to Dr. Michael Sabalza, who did the surgery, we’re really thankful for making the operation possible and successful. I’m not good with names but to all the nurses and staff who assisted us during our stay, thank you too. You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work!
To our relatives who visited and gave assistance, thank you. We are grateful for the guidance you showed during this time of our life.
To my friends who were with me the whole time, asking how am I and continuously checking my mom’s condition, you know who you are guys. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! I will always be grateful and thankful for having all of you in my life. As I always say, I will always be here for you guys, anytime, anything you are going through, and no matter where I am. I’m just a chat away. Mahal ko kayo! Indeed, hard times will always reveal true friends.
And to my friends who left, whom I thought I can lean on during the lowest time of my life. Thank you, because you taught me how to know the real ones from the fake ones. You made my soul braver than it ever is.
Despite the bitterness, out of the blue, I tried to read the last messages my mom and I talked about.
My mom and dad usually send us messages about health tips, inspirational life stories, and religious/bible verses. I don’t believe in premonitions but a few days before the incident, we had this conversation. As if she really waited for me, because she knows there’s something going to happen and no one will be there for her except me. And here it is…
On August 6, 2018, my mom and dad sent me this.
August 7, 2018. My mom is asking me what do I want when I get home. And I said, I just need some rest because I only have 10 days to spent. Then she said, “ok, you can sleep in your sister’s room or in our den (we just recently moved) where there’s an air conditioner. Will you be here around August 20? Am I right?” And I replied: “Secret. 😊”
August 20, 2018, is the exact date when she had a stroke.
My mom replied: “Are you okay?”, she always sarcastically say that, if she didn’t get the answer she expected. 😊 and I said: “It’s a surprise. Is there a surprise that is said in advance? hahaha”
Looking back to those messages, it only shows our mom’s, unconditional love, she let us feel before this moment and also to test the bond of our family.
To all the people who think that our family is perfect, well you’re all wrong. We’re just also an ordinary family like yours. We have problems too. We argue we fight, we reconcile, and we’re good again. At the end of the day, a family is a family. Love will always be there.
Realization and Confession…
The woman I love the most can’t walk for now, but we know eventually she will. She can’t talk as many words as she used to say. Yet we’re all thankful for our mom’s second life after all she’d been through.
I kept looking for the reason in this event of our life. I even came to the point of asking God, why? Of all the people, why my mom? I know she still has a mission to accomplish in this world. We may not understand and know it for now, but I know that everything happens for a reason.
Well, if there’s someone I really wanted to say THANK YOU. He’s Jesus. I know I’m not religiously going to church like other people but I always feel connected as I start and end my day with prayers. I got it from my parents.
It may sound cheesy or whatever, but I feel Jesus the entire month we’re in the hospital. Every night at 12 midnight, while I’m sitting next to my mom’s bed. I always whispered prayers asking for some miracles to happen the next morning. And there’s no single day that my prayer was not granted. From a simple wish hoping that my mom will open her eyes tomorrow to miraculous events like “Tomorrow her NGT (Naso-gastric tube) will be removed and she can start eating. She will breathe normally as they take away the mechanical ventilator tomorrow morning. I prayed exactly what I really want to happen. And nothing left unanswered. NOTHING!”
P.S. We haven’t recovered yet from the incident that happened to our mom. Then a man very close to our hearts passed away. Our grandfather (mom’s father) died a few weeks after he visited our mom from the hospital. Do you know what’s heart-wrenching with it? I wasn’t there because I went back to Vietnam for work and I can’t do anything.
Parting words that I want you to instill in your minds no matter how hard the situation is:
“Stay positive even when it feels like your whole world is falling apart. Stay strong. Have faith, God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.” -Unknown
Photo c/o: a kingdom princess
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