After my Mama had been in the hospital in Macon, in the CVICU, for two weeks, for whatever reason, they decided to move her. (I have my theories, but considering we’re in polite company, well…..) To the STICU, which I’ve already described in previous posts–suffice to say we called it the STINKU. Unfortunately the day that they moved her, they failed to let us, the family, know.
I was at Mercer University, not ten minutes away, with my oldest for her scholarship interviews. My sister had come in from out of town to see Mama and was about to head up there, when I got a call about our elderly cousin of whom Mama was guardian. She needed to go to the ER. Her breathing problems and lung condition had gotten much worse. I called Sandy to tell her, offering for her to go with my girl to Mercer so I could meet them at the hospital. She said no, she’d go, and then she’d see Mama later on.
We had a good day at Mercer, checking in regularly with Sandy at the hospital in Warner Robins and with Mama’s nurse in Macon. Around 3:00 I called the hospital to check on how Mama was doing, and I was told she was not there.
“I’m sorry, what?” (I really got to make time to have my hearing checked.)
The voice replied. Again. “She’s not there.”
Unbelievably, there had been one other woman there with Mama’s name. “Oh, no, I’m sorry, I’m not speaking of the one on the 9th floor–the one in the CVICU.”
“Nope, I’m sorry. Not there.” Pause as MY HEART STOPPED BEATING and my whole body was immediately in shock. “She’s been moved. STICU.”
Ah, okay, wait, WHAT?!?
As I was dialing Sandy, our other sister called me. I told her. She already knew, as she had just talked to Sandy, who had also just tried to call. They had told Sandy she was in surgery. WHAT?! Oh, I see what you did there. Surgical Trauma ICU/Surgery. Yeah, one and the same, why not? *sigh*
So Sandy and I worked out that as soon as the interview was finished, my oldest and I would head over to the Medical Center as quickly as possible. Our cousin, Miss Betty, was frightened, so Sandy did not want to leave her. She’s a good egg, that one.
As I waited for the final interview to end, I emailed my aunt, who was and still is our ADULT in the midst of the craziness of all of this. I had to let her know Mama had been moved, and NO ONE HAD TOLD US. (We kept our numbers posted HUGE in her room for goodness’ sake!)
“About to throw down, save some bail money please.” I wrote, with tears streaming down my face.
She immediately emailed back. “I don’t know what it means that she’s been moved…..but you should have been called the minute someone first formulated the possibility in his/her head. Man! I got the bail money. Do what you gotta do.”
That. That right there. Family. Love. Having your back. That’s the good stuff in this life. And that and my pair of boots are what give me the confidence to show out when I have to.
I have to clarify here, my aunt is a very gentle person. She is not a bat-swinging, where-are-the-ones-who-did-this kind of gal. But when it’s necessary, she has my back. And that’s what I need more than anything. To know that.
My brother preached a sermon a while back, I think it was while Mama was in the hospital. About “Next of Kin.” He talked about a time when he was at home, and he couldn’t find Mama. Anywhere. So rather than panic, he called our aunt. About the time she picked up, Mama walked into the room (apparently they missed each other in a game of musical rooms) and said, “Who’s on the phone?” He told her who it was, and she said, “Okay, let me talk to her,” assuming our aunt had called our house. They both talked for a few minutes, and he laughs now, thinking about how each one probably wondered why the other one called. Next of kin. Whom do we call when we’re scared? Worried? Upset? Frightened? Whom do we call to share our joys? Our triumphs? Our giggles over our broken filters? Who has our bail money ready and tells us to do what we have to do?
Treasure those folks, because when you lose them, you really, really miss them. Give yours a call and say thanks. Make them smile today.
Today I am thankful for my aunt, who stepped up and was my bail money person on that day and so many others since. And for her children, who share her with us. (And for her precious daughter who makes me laugh wondering why her mother never offered her bail money–I got yours girl, you hear me? Always.)
And for the record, while it was a close call, no bail money was actually needed that day after all. But it came real close…..