When I checked my cell phone voice mail, I had seven messages from my cousin who has been staying with my mother in Oregon. The first message was from early Saturday morning around 3 a.m. saying my mother had been taken to the hospital in Crescent City, California (about 30 minutes from where she lives on the Oregon Coast). I got proceedingly frightened as I listened to each message. The voice mail culminated in my mother being admitted to the ICU with heart problems.
I immediately got on the phone with United Airlines, which is the only airline that services Crescent City (it's a small, small, town). They were unfeeling bastards if I might be honest. I was trying to remain calm, but it was tough being so far away and having no idea what was going on with my mother. My mother and I are very close and have always been more than mother and daughter, we are friends. I had gotten on the Internet prior to calling the airlines to find out when the next flight left for my destination. They had one leaving at 11:10 a.m. At this point, it's 9:30 a.m. and I had to get a ticket, pack, get dressed, and get to the airport, which was a good 20 miles away.
I explained the situation to the representative on the phone. She offered me the bereavement fare for the flight, which was $400 or so. First, she got most of my information wrong including my name, address, and credit card number. Finally, when she got that correct, she asked me for the name of my mother's doctor. I had no idea who that was. I said I didn't know. She tells me that she can put the reservation on hold and I can call back with the name. Keep in mind that at this point, I had less than two hours to get it together and get to the airport and I was already worried and scared about my mom. I said to her "no, don't put it on hold. I need to get there NOW. Can I give you the name later?" No, apparently not.
So I asked to speak to the manager and told her the same deal and she said "We understand your situation, but we have rules we need to follow." Yeah because the doctor's name is important right now, this second. She then said she could offer me the fare at the standard rate and I just said "Fine, whatever, just get me a ticket now." I had no idea what was going on with my mother and I was crying and scared to death. The standard fare? $1,000. Yes dear readers, one thousand dollars. I put it on Visa, got packed, and drove like a bat out of hell to get to the airport. I looked like hell too. Now that I'm here, I have the task of calling United Airlines and trying to get the difference in fares refunded. I'll keep you updated on that one.
Now back to the important stuff: my mother is ok. She had a dental problem and had been perscribed an antibiotic on Tuesday. By Friday, she was having chest pains and feeling badly. The ambulance was called early Saturday morning. Thank God my cousin was here to help. I am grateful for that.
My mother was in ICU Saturday - today. She had an ECG (Echocardiogram) today, which is basically a sonogram of the heart. It was really amazing to see my mother's heart from various angles. Anyway, the great news is that her heart looks fine, with the exception of an irregular heartbeat. She has had that problem for a long time and had been previously diagnosed so that was no surprise and not an issue in terms of her health.
She was moved today to a regular ward, which is good and she will be released tomorrow. Her doctor said she needs to lose weight and her diet needs to change to control her diabetes more fully. She also needs to lower her stress level, which will be a big challenge for her, but one that my cousin and I will help her meet.
SO...that is how I ended up thinking I'd be doing errands in Houston, but instead ended up 1,800 miles away in California/Southern Oregon. I'm at my mom's house in Oregon right now. I will be here through Friday so I can help get her situated at home and get things together with her new nutrition and fitness plan. And of course, making sure she keeps her stress level down. That will be the big challenge.
I appreciate all of you who prayed for my mother and my family in general. It helped more than you know.