From the moment my daughter Jordan walked into my room in pain, I was “on”. That is what moms do, it’s one of our strengths. I don’t turn into a panicky mom. I use humor and laughter to get through. We dressed in minutes, made it to the car and laughed all the way to the 24 hour ER clinic, in between breathing through sharp stomach pains, of course.
It was odd for me to have the admitting and attending nurses address all questions to my daughter, not me. She is 21, now. An adult. She was amazing to watch as she described her condition over and over to the various health professionals. After an hour and a CAT scan, it was determined she needed to have surgery…quickly. Now, the phone calls.
I am a Latina. From a long line of strong, Tejana women. Once the phone calls start, widespread prayers, candles and vigils spring into action. I am the ONE who has to keep it together. I don’t fall apart. There are others who will, but not me. Because I am a Mom, I am the rock. I am the comic relief. My husband and I opted to drive our girl to the hospital ourselves. My parents and my sister met us there. (Mexicans do not wait alone in waiting rooms.) The Boy, our son Joshua, waited with friends. My oldest stepdaughter joined us, as well. Everyone was concerned, but understood it was a routine surgery but, still…it IS surgery, as my mother reminded me.
Jordan and I had a few good laughs in pre-op, before they wheeled her away. Our “thing” is quoting movie/TV lines. We did lines from “Arthur”, “Friends” and to keep it a little dark, “Steel Magnolias”…”Open your eyes, Shelby…open, open open your eyes”.) I’m sure some people think we can be inappropriate at times, but humor has ALWAYS been our default mode.
In the waiting room, my husband was way more unnerved than I expected. She is Daddy’s girl, alright. I had to keep him up. My parents, who have been through their medical nightmare this past year with Dad’s heart attack and surgery, were worried. My sister, the awesome “cool aunt”, was helpful and attentive to my parents, so I could concentrate on my husband. Separately, in the waiting room, there was a young woman, who upon receiving good news from a doctor in regards to her mother’s liver transplant, wept alone. She was not a Mexican. I quietly went and sat next to her and rubbed her back for support, because I am a Mom.
Thankfully, everything went well and, because I’m a Mom, I spent the night with my 21 year old girl. We had nurses and doctors check on her every two hours, through the night. I was hoping someone would check on the hospital AC…it was freezing. Nothing like a hospital sleepover to A) help you appreciate your health, B) help you appreciate the comforts of your own home, C) help you catch a horrible cold.
My husband and The Boy were at the hospital by 7am the next morning. After 30 minutes of “The Today Show”, Joshua was hungry, so as the Mom, I insisted they go to the amazing cafeteria and have breakfast, where he thoroughly enjoyed biscuits and gravy and a plate of sushi…18 year boys! When they returned, it took about another 30 minutes before they were trying to get comfortable in the small room for a nap. So, as the Mom, I insisted they go back home, as we were hoping to be discharged by noon, anyway. Then, as the Mom, I cleaned and organized the room, got Jordan dressed, washed her hair, packed our belongings, watered her flowers, left notes for the fabulous staff and we were ready and discharged by 11am. I was already on my 3rd giant Starbucks of the morning.
We loaded her in the wheelchair/cart and we were off for home…to REST. We waited in the valet line with the other discharged patients (I know, Methodist Hospital in Houston is amazing). We took pictures, sent texts; and laughed to pass the short wait. Then, the 4 valet attendants appeared.
I went to push her chair, but the first valet politely swatted me away while he wheeled her towards the car and gently helped her in the seat. I turned to open the hatch of my Prius, but another valet beat me to it and wouldn’t let me help. I turned to start unloading the cart of our belongings and another valet insisted he had it covered. In utter confusion, I started towards the driver’s seat. I was face to face with the fourth valet. He took the Starbucks from my hand and the purse from my shoulder, placed them both in the car, turned, put his hand on my arm and said to me, “Mama, all you have to do is take her home and rest. We have this.”
I tipped and thanked them profusely, I got in the car and quietly drove off…it IS a Prius. And, because I’m a Mom, I finally had my cry.
And, then Jordan and I busted out laughing.