There is not a more heartbreaking sound than the rapid, terrified breaths of a mother who thinks she is about to lose her son, especially when she has already lost one to the same kind of thing, and especially when she almost lost the other. The sound is breathless and quick and it cut to my marrow. I still hear it. I close my eyes at night and I hear her breaths…breaths….breaths…breaths…breathsbreathsbreathsbreathsBREATHS….
That was my mother’s breathing when she ran out and said, “call 911…” I never knew how calm I could be, as if I were a robot. I calmly picked up the phone, pushed numbers, spoke into the phone, “Hurry, my brother is….” I look at my mother, for I don’t know what’s happening….her breaths panting… she said, “He’s having heart attack…Tommy said this is how it was before, he said…” And…I spoke something, and then handed the phone to my mom…opened the door to ready for the emergency techs to enter, as Tommy came to sit on the stairs leading to the upstairs – the ones that face the front door, his face a mask of afraid…he said, “sister….” and my heart broke in a million pieces at that sound, but my face remained impassive…calm…surreal. I said, “Does it hurt?” he said, “yes…” I said, “they’ll be here soon…” Calm. Impassive. Surreal. I hear distant sirens, too distant it seems. Tommy said, “I’m hot…” I opened the door wider, eyes scanning for the emergency techs, and let in the cool Texas air. I said, “Soon. They’ll be here soon.” I cautioned one look at my brother again – he was looking down, concentrating on his body, concentrating on hope that it wouldn’t be like it was in 2005 when he coded several times (he told me death is peaceful, beautiful – but it isn’t when you are still alive, is it?). I remained: Impassive. Calm. Surreal. Another heart attack? But a few minutes ago, he was laughing and talking. How? But…
He did – a “minor” one (and to me, no heart attack feels minor to those waiting, to Mother’s with breaths breaths breaths breathsbreathsBREATHS). When my dad walked into the hospital emergency room, his face was folded in worry, drawn in – for once, he looked his age. Oh daddy!
Tommy’s blood simply will not flow freely. When he has “procedures” – like his hernia surgery – where he had to get off the plavix (blood thinner), his blood just clots on up inside of him. I remained Passive. Calm. Surreal until he was settled in the emergency holding room and seen by a doc–then I broke down and cried. My brother has been through too much for a 46 year old man. And it’s not like he hasn’t tried to be healthy: he’s thin, he quit smoking, he eats healthfully — but his blood is just too thick, too clotty. The heperin shots he was taking in place of the plavix and aspirin saved his life. Next time he has a procedure, he needs to be on something stronger, however.
Right now there is good news and happy news and all is well-mere moments ago, he just had a stint put in, and all his other stints look good and he’s doing great
But I’m not there with him today as he recovers from getting his new stint. I was chased away. I was told GO HOME DANG IT SEESTOR!
My friends. I am writing to you from a hotel in a cute clean little town of Bartlett Tennessee. I left Texas at noon yesterday, but not without crying and worrying. Tommy and Frank (frank is home now and we spent some time talking while my mom lay exhausted on the sofa, her breaths breaths breaths turend to exhausted moans in her sleep); both he and Tommy said, “Go Home! You’ve been gone almost a month — there will never be a right time to leave.” And then they both said I need to work on the book. I said family is important. They said, “family is proud of you and that book – are you going to let us down by not getting it done?” I struggled struggled. Tommy does not want to feel the “guilt” of thinking he “kept me” from what I am supposed to be doing. It’s all tangled in familial love and worry and pride and …all of it. I received promises from Tommy that when he left the hospital he’d go to our mother’s house until he was all clear. He rolled his eyes, but he’ll do it – because I told him I’d fly back down to Texas and kick his ass if he did not. Big Sisters Rule.
Now, I must go; get back on the road. I don’t have my glasses -left them in the boopmobile – and can hardly see what I’m typing, but I wanted to come in to tell you what’s been up. If you see my Boopmobile in your town today as I wend my way back to Killian Knob – give me a honk and a wave — as i said, you’ll know the Boopmobile when you see it.
Thank you all for being patient and for still coming round even though I’ve been away and involved and thank you for all your thoughts and….well — *kiss and hug* — thankyou.