Mom’s Emergency

It began with a phone call between 12:30 and 1PM Sunday afternoon.  It was my mother.  Her voice had that familiar tension in it when she’s feeling anxious.  “Gayle, something’s happening to me.  When I woke up this morning, I felt very groggy, like I was drugged and I lost my balance when standing up and I fell onto my bed.   Now my left arm feels “floppy” like I have no control over it.”  She said she had been this way since waking up at around 9AM!

Immediately alarmed, with adrenalin pumping, I thought to myself, she’s having a stroke or heart attack!  I told her to call 911 and then take some aspirin.  She argued with me about taking the aspirin because she thought it had contributed to recent nosebleeds that she had been having.   She said, “I’ll think about it.”  “Fine”, I said, “but call for an ambulance immediately!”  Why I didn’t think to call for her, I don’t know.  She always called me first, almost as if to get permission to call for help.

Several minutes passed and I thought I’d better call and check on her.  After several rings of the phone, she answered and I asked if she had called for the ambulance yet, “no”, she answered, “they always come so quickly and I wanted to fix my hair and makeup before they get here.”  What?!  I didn’t argue.  I told her if she was having a stroke or heart attack that time was of the essence and the sooner she was treated the better the likelihood of a full recovery.  She promised she would call right away.

I then called one of my sisters.  I had to talk to someone to help release this all too familiar panic that was rising up in me.

It had been almost exactly one year ago that she had had major abdominal surgery, having to spend over a month away from home while recuperating, first in the hospital, then a rehab center and then back to the hospital again to treat complications.  One of my brothers and my youngest sister came to stay with her for several weeks as she recuperated and slowly gained back her strength.  And prior to this, she had had numerous trips to the ER and subsequent admissions to the hospital over the past year, while they tried to figure out what was causing her severe intestinal pain.  With each phone call I received, panic would arise and the distressing matter of sitting with her in the ER, while the hospital doctors would order test after test trying to decipher what was wrong with her.

My father had passed away several years previous.  He had suffered from congestive heart failure with multiple heart attacks and had had a bypass surgery.  I had gone through this same routine with him for years.  Although, he never called 911, he always had my mother drive him to the emergency room.  One time when she had gone to church, he realized he was having a “problem”.  Instead of calling for immediate help, he took a shower, got himself all fresh and dressed and then when Mom came through the door he announced that he needed to go to the hospital.  So Mom always took him but I would subsequently receive a phone call saying that Wade was in the hospital again with another heart “issue”.

I was always expected to go to the hospital and sit with Mom for the endless tests and waiting that ensues when you are the loved one of a patient in the hospital.

For years I was able to go into the emergency room and hospital–although it did stress me out–and be the dutiful daughter and sit vigil with my mother during Dad’s numerous stays and then with Mom when she started having her health problems.  But the last couple of times that my mother had to go into the hospital and the ER in particular, I would start to have severe panic attacks.  I could not go.  The panic became overwhelming and I needed to take medication to help control it.  But I could no longer bring myself to go into the emergency room.  Something had snapped in me.  I was in overload mode.

The guilt was awful, but I candidly explained to my mother about my debilitating fear and that I simply couldn’t come.  She always said not to worry and that she was fine.  My sister who lives nearby would go instead if she was available.  But once Mom was in a room of her own, I could more easily manage being there.  Apparently, the emergency room energy became a trigger of extreme stress for me.

So when this most recent call came, I started feeling the same familiar feeling of fear sweep over me.  So I gave a call to that sister and told her what was happening with Mom and spent a few minutes on the phone discussing my feelings of panic.  I made up my mind, after speaking with her, that I was going to go (our other local sister was out of town) and try my best.  So I started getting myself ready.

In the meantime, sister number one had called sister number two (there are four of us girls and two older brothers) and told her what was happening with our mother and that I was again struggling with my panic.  Sister number two calls me up and starts berating me to “get over it” and “to hell with your panic attacks”; you’d better get to the hospital right now!  Mom could die.  How will you feel if Mom dies alone in there?  Well, this did not sit very well with my already escalating feelings of dread.  I yelled back at her and told her I had said those very same things to myself that she was now saying to me, and wouldn’t it be great if I could just snap my fingers and “get over it”!  I also told her I had made up my mind to go anyway and see what happened.  “Good”, she barked, before hanging up, “get over there”!

I was able to go and sit with Mom in the emergency room (with some help of my trusty medication).  Doctors discovered that she was having a bad reaction to a new medication that she had recently been put on for her back pain.  Also, quite upon accident, they had found that she was suffering from a virulent staph infection in her urinary tract of which she had no knowledge.  They said if she had not come in when she did, that it could have had deadly results!  She spent several days there being treated with a heavy-duty antibiotic for that infection.  Interesting how that played out.

My “barking” sister called me several times over the next few days to say how sorry she was for judging me so harshly.  She realized that I have been there for Mom and Dad both through all the years of their declining health and that I deserved everyone’s support.  I told her that I knew it was her own fear of losing our mother and feelings of helplessness that had gotten the best of her.  I told her those were her feelings to contend with and they don’t have anything to do with what I do or don’t do with our mother.

I have my own thoughts and feelings to deal with.




Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. Glad to hear she’s doing better.


  2. You are a marvelous daughter. You do your duties thats why you are criticised by those who often fail in theirs.

    Dont let these people bother you. You have every right to feel exhausted sometimes, you are not made of stone or metal. Be kind to yourself.

    I am happy that auntie is alright. well she is quite a cheerful lady, fixing her hair before calling 911, reminded me of one of my grandmother, who used to get all spruced up to go to the grocery store just thirty feet away from her door.


    • I’m afraid I’m not always very kind with myself. I feel like I have failed somehow when I can’t live up to my (or someone else’s) expectations. There’s that word again–expectations–the same thing that I wrote about in my “blue” poem. 🙂

      Auntie is feeling fine as far as her digestion is concerned. She and your grandmother sound like two of a kind–funny!


  3. she used to get mad at me because i never cared about my appearance more than i should. 🙂

    i love to dress up but its not a mandatory thing for me.

    dont be cruel on yourself. you are human being not robot.


    • My mother is a most fashionable woman. Even now at 85 she wears make-up everyday and dresses very nicely when going out. You would never believe she is the age that she is. My mother always wanted us girls to look nice when growing up–she sewed us lots of nice clothes.

      You’re definitely right about not being cruel to myself–I am only human not robot without feelings. Thanks for your loving support. I really appreciate it.


      • my mom never dressed up, actually she was oblivious of her outer appearance, we had to spruce her up to make her presentable 🙂

        be kind and loving to yourself, you deserve it. dont forget that god lives inside you, so you should be treating yourself right.


  4. You’re right–I should treat myself right. I do deserve it. I so appreciate you, Trisha. 🙂


  5. Ahhh, I so feel for you, Gayle. I was daugher first and now mother, concerned and now concerning. We run the gamut of emotions in both rolls.

    You are doing all the right things. It’s okay to have emotions around all this, to sit with them, and to not let anyone else make you feel worse.

    Hang tough.

    Blessings to you and your mom.


  6. Thanks for your gentle, kind support, Jamie, it means a lot. Yes, Mom and I have reversed our roles with each other too. As time has gone on, I am letting go of some of the painful feelings I have heaped on myself while contending with these situations. Not always so easy to do, however. I’m hanging tough-er…. 🙂

    Blessings and peace to you and your mother, Jamie.


  7. Isadora

     /  February 11, 2011

    Hi Gayle,

    I have been going through the same thing with very, very dear friends. They are in their 80’s. Three of their children live out of state. The one son who lives 3 hours away can only come when he is not working which seems to be all the time. I never went through this with my parents they were far away fron me so another sibling did it.

    I guess this is a lessons for me on what the future will be like.
    Glad to hear your Mom is better.


    • Hi Isadora, how nice of you to comment here. Yes, it’s a real challenge. It must be so hard for the elderly who have no family near. My mother wants so badly to be independent but I can see that she may not be able to manage that for too much longer.

      At least I have one sister who lives nearby and the other two sisters make frequent trips here to visit Mom. I gladly step back when they are in town so they can take over for a while.

      I don’t think anyone really likes being dependent on others but we may not have that choice. Lessons…




Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Lonely Recluse

Poetry and Prose

Musings of a Wanderer

Love Travel Meditate

Charmed Chaos

Musings on Life, Love, and Linguine-Poetry & Writing

Bodhirose's Blog

Most of my writings will be true-life experiences. We'll see what else shows up...


Words and Pictures from The Isle of Wight

writing in north norfolk

Writer of children's literature, short stories and poetry

Lady Nyo's Weblog

A woman writer's blog with invitations to other writers

Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.

Mithai Mumblezz

Thinks and again mumbles!!


Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...


"We're all out there, somewhere, waiting to happen."


Nature needs Nurture

Whimsygizmo's Blog

poetic ponderings...parenting...procrastination...

Tao of Scrumble

A freeform way of life, love and everything

Tournesol dans un Jardin

Micropoetry ~ Waka ~ Flash Fiction

Sharp Little Pencil

Amy Barlow Liberatore... stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz


A Silent poet shouting to be heard


Romance of Five Clouds and Magical Poetry

kanzen sakura

South meets East: Poetry and Musings - words of the seasons

Poems, stories, paintings and more by Sharmishtha Basu

(Agnijaat, Agnishatdal, Agnijashatadalama, Indie Adda)

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through photography and words

jaywalking the moon

poetry by claudia schoenfeld

She's Writing

Poetry and Prose

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

Growing older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

everyday amazing

spreading good cheer, fun & love for life

Michael's Lair

Just Write site

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

The BeZine

Be inspired...Be creative...Be peace...Be

bardessdmdenton - author- artist

Historical and Literary Fiction / Essays / Poetry / Reviews /Book Cover and Interior Illustrations / Pet Portraits and Other Commissioned Artwork ... "Life can't ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer's lover until death - fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant." ~ Edna Ferber, 1885-1968, American novelist, short story writer and playwright

Soul Dipper

Spirit Builder by Design

Contemplative Moorings

The blog of official(?) author Michael Marsters.

Ramblings From A Mum

This is my journey, my thoughts, my views, plain and simple and from my heart. Please travel with me and share, hopefully it will be an interesting trip.


copyright 2013 - no reuse without permission ( see for fiction and fantasy )

"On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea"

All Is One With Our Creator


Take Control of Your Health

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging


Mumblings of a Middle Aged Madwoman


if I go around more than once then ...

I Rhyme Without Reason

I live in words

Soul Speak

'You may say I'm a Dreamer, but I'm not the only one' ~ John Lennon

~ Dragon's Dreams ~

Carpe Noctem Quod Tempus Fugit!

Dreamwalker's Sanctuary

A Sanctuary for Enlightenment and Peace through Poetry and Inspirational Thoughts as we go through Life


laughing at the malfunction of the universe is better than crying about it

Lorna's Voice

Finding ways to make words sparkle

Olivia's In- Mind Whirls..

"It's all in my mind"

%d bloggers like this: