Thursday, September 5, 2013
I'll always recall the date because it's my brother-in-law Bill's birthday, and now our friend Chris Berg's birthday, but I clearly remember the afternoon of September 5th, 22 years ago now, in 1991.
I had just finished my bachelor's degree that spring and had just gotten a promotion at work. I had an official/professional picture taken at the College and had gone to a reception for something or other. When I returned to the office, around 3pm, my coworker said that my cousin, Jeannie, had been trying to reach me (of course, this is before cell phones). The news that my mother had possibly suffered a heart attack and that I should come as soon as I could. PANIC! As the hour wore on the updates became that she was flown by helicopter to Burlington, VT for a possible aneurysm, and had been resuscitated several times. At this time Mark and I had just one car (and no kids) so I had to pick him up at work (and wait for him to wrap things up - more panic setting in), then we had to go home, pack, grab a bite to eat and finally hit the road around 7pm.
We stopped and picked up my sister, Mary, in Watertown before finally reaching Burlington around 2am, where my sister, Carol, and Dad were waiting. We were able to see Mom, although she was quite out of it (but awake) and the medical drama that unfolded in the weeks to come included several brain surgeries, a couple of close calls including a bout of pneumonia, and weeks of rehab. During this time we were all back and forth from Burlington until Mom was released to go home the first part of December. Ironically, my father was too sick with a cold to go get her, more worry!
My mother made remarkable progress after her aneurysm and her physical and mental comeback was miraculous after all she had been through. It was amazing to me that my dad would go "first" in 2003 considering all she had been through. She is such a tough old bird! The silver linking in all this: it was wonderful to spend time in Vermont and it's one of my favorite places on Earth. I would love to live there (except for the cold weather).
Mom's health hasn't been great these last four or so years, but she was definitely blessed with many bonus years after her very close call, and September 5 is a date forever burnt into my memory as a I remember the scary uncertainty of that day, and the amazing recovery that happened afterward.