How An Emergency Hospital Visit Improved My Relationship With Mom

It’s 1:04 a.m. and I just got home from a near-by hospital about 10 minutes ago. Mom woke up feeling dizzy, which happens occasionally, but today, however, proved to be an exceptional case. She continued to lie down on her bed throughout the day, hoping the feeling would go away.

She called off work, canceled a prior engagement and debated whether or not she should head straight to the hospital. It took about eight hours later before we actually did.

By then, mom’s hands began to stiffen and shrivel up. Her breathing became labored and her eyes were sinking in. So I left the apartment around 9 p.m. and started driving toward the hospital as fast as I could, thinking of the worst that could happen.

I arrive at the Emergency Care parking lot and rush over to the entrance, leaving mom in the car. I meet a security guard to inform him that my mom is having a hard time breathing and that she needs a wheelchair because she can’t walk.

He tells me to drive up into the drop-off zone, where he meets us along with a nurse before wheeling mom off into the facility. I re-park my car and rush again to the entrance, where same the security guard hands out a few documents attached to a clipboard.

I enter the waiting room to inform the receptionist about everything that had just happened up until now. He points me to the where the other visitors are sitting. I settle into an empty seat, where I begin to fill out the papers to the best of my abilities. I turn them in promptly. In less than 10 minutes later, my mom’s sitting on the other side of the waiting room looking much worse than earlier.

“I’m having a stroke!,” she says. Her lips were beginning to appear distorted and were stiffening up like her hands. As someone without any medical experience, that idea seemed rather convincing.

I began massaging the stiffer parts of her face around the lips, which were slanting to the right. I rubbed both of her hands as if I was making a fire to keep them warm. Like all mothers, however, she kept worrying about everything that was going on around her and of course, she was always thinking about me.

Despite the current circumstances regarding her health, mom still had enough energy to nag. I tried blocking out some of the stuff I heard while telling her “Mom, please calm down! Stop thinking so much!” My voice quivered as I tried to hold back the tears.

We wait a little longer before mom’s name is called. The nurses do a brief check-up before she meets the doctor, who diagnoses her with an anxiety attack.

She then goes through four different tests to determine the state of her health, which turned out great! While waiting for the nurses to assist us, I kept trying to talk her into calming down.

“Our relationship is pretty difficult, but it’s always times like this that we work better together,” I say.

“Why do you have to wait until the situation becomes like this?,” she asks.

“If I were too close to you, I would be too emotional. I actually prefer it this way. That’s where you and I are different.” I say.

She pauses before looking to the opposite direction because clearly, white-painted walls are interesting to look at. 

Our conversation takes a turn toward more positive topic like how well I do at my current job. We share a moment smiling together, which rarely ever happens.

As we leave the hospital, we make an exit while holding hands. We are grateful for the news that mom is healthy. She is definitely less stressed. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

UPDATE: 9/29/18 9:38 a.m.

Mom’s still asleep. Her breathing is normal. She threw up a lot before going to bed at 2 a.m.


The Journalism Graduate: One Year Later

On May 24, 2017, I entered the real world educated, debt-free and unemployed, but I never imagined myself working in retail. I graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from the California State University of Long Beach expecting a job in media. And I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. I did think carefully about what I wanted to do with my life, but nothing really popped out to me. I didn’t like the idea of waking up at 3 a.m. just to report at some crime scene, especially if I were to have a family. I couldn’t bear to leave my kids. These were the kind of thoughts I had as I approached my mid-20s.

I didn’t want to stretch myself thin for a job that wouldn’t financially support me, especially if I had to capture videos, photos, audio, edit and publish all of the above. For what? For who? Would I get to live my life or die in an “accident” somewhere?

I needed more time to think about my future. For 9 months, I jotted down all of my interests as well as the investments I would’ve liked to make on the side. But none of that was going to sustain me financially, either.

I applied left and right to about 30 different places in my field of study, only to land a few interviews before dipping my toes into retail. 10 applications. That’s all it took. And I scored.

Now I earn slightly less than I would as a reporter. But I’m not as stressed. I’m happier knowing that I’ll have a job anywhere I go. That I’ll get to keep my head on my shoulders and my feet firmly planted on the ground. Literally.

“So… your degree has gone out of the window,” is what I’ve been told. And as painful as it is to hear that, I still disagree with that statement. Yes, my transition from being a college student to your average working-class adult has been a very strange journey. However, it has led me to believe that I was right to get into retail all along.