Scariest Day of My Life

Yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of the scariest day of my life. I remember it in bits and pieces and in flashes of the scariest parts. The scene is filled with white walls and florescent lighting. My fear is as real now as it was on that day. Though, now, I am thankful that the end result was a good one. On that fateful day, I was out shopping at Wal-Mart with my mom. I was over in the magazine and books section and my mom was an aisle away the last time I had seen her. As I am looking through the selections, I hear this man yell, "Ma'am, ma'am, this is my cart." I turn to see what the fuss is all about and it's my mom gripping his cart. Her head is leaned back and she appears to be flexing her body back and coming up on her tiptoes. I can see her in her zippered sweater, turtleneck, khaki pants and glasses and the seized look in her face.

My mom, in my entire 32 years of life, had never had a seizure that we were aware of even though we know she has epilepsy. On that fateful day, she had a grand mal seizure right there in front of me. I yelled out to her, "Mom. Mom!" as I rushed to her side as she started to fall backwards. The guy whose cart she was grabbing was standing there and had come closer to her. I caught her and laid her on the floor as tears poured out of me. I did what all my first aid training had taught me: I screamed, "Help. Call 911. Call 911!" Someone came around the corner and said they were calling and I explained that my mom was having a seizure.

As she lay there still seizing, my anxiety got worse and worse. I kept praying over and over again to God in my head as the hot tears ran down my face that he wouldn't take my mom away from me right now. I rationalized with him that my Christmases had sucked enough and that adding this hateful thing to this season just compounded it. I kept petting her hair and was worried that she had gum in her mouth and could choke. Then, out of nowhere, a woman appears. She was kind faced, with glasses and long, mousy-brown hair. My angel in white told me she was a nurse and asked me what had happened. My mom started snoring at some point which made me realize the seizure was over, but I was scared because I couldn't wake her. The nurse explained to me that when someone has a seizure, it takes a lot out of the body and sleeping afterwards is a very common response. She patted my hand, assured me everything would be okay, and stayed with me until the paramedics arrived. I believe she talked to one of them as the other approached me to ask me all of my mom's information, but I cannot be certain because she disappeared so quickly. I still believe she was my angel that day and wish I could have thanked her a thousand times over.

The paramedics took my mom away to the hospital in our hometown. I called my mom's older sister and she headed to the hospital. I then called my Uncle Matt because he knew all my mom's history. He's a paramedic and even though he's my dad's brother, he and his wife have always been good friends with my mom. He gave me all the info I needed as I sobbed and tried to gather myself together again. I got in my car and drove dazedly to the hospital. When I arrived, they let me in the ER to see my mom. My Aunt Jane was already there with her. She was sitting up and had her glasses off. I could see she was sore just by her body posture. I ran over to her and just hugged her and cried and told her how scared I was and how glad I was she was okay. Then we laughed and joked, but the laughing made her too sore.

My mom had not been on any medication since 25 years prior to this event. Following it and a series of neurological exams, she is back on medication and has remained seizure free. For a while after this incident, we didn't go back to that Wal-Mart. Now, I live right down the street from it and it is a bit of a joke when we go in there--especially this time of year. Unfortunately, the terror of that day and the trauma of seeing my mom in such a condition has forever scarred me. If she gets stressed out or isn't sleeping well or seems not herself, I worry. Sometimes, she'll tell me that she has that funny feeling again. After the fact, she told me that just before we got to the store she had started to feel funny and should have known it was coming. Now, when she feels that way, she tells me. That way I am prepared in case it happens. At the same time, though, sitting on the edge of expectation like that sucks just as bad as being surprised by the unexpected scenario.

I am so thankful that God didn't take my mom that day. I am so thankful that today I can say I had 6 more years with my mom that I might not have had otherwise. My mom is one of my best friends nowadays. She is an extension to my family and is the caregiver to my younger two children. I cannot imagine my life without her and I hope I won't have to for many years to come.


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