I'm So Confused and Hurt
Right before lunch, I called my daughter and told her what was going on. We each left work and met up. At this point the details are fuzzy. I vaguely remember calling my cousin and finally connecting with him. He gave me an update. The next thing I remember is being in a cab heading to the West Side Highway which would take my daughter and I to our respective homes. I remember calling personnel and telling them I was trying to get a flight out and I remember getting angry when I was asked how long I would be gone. How the hell did I know? All I knew was that my mom was in the hospital and I had little information.
I was angry that this happened. I was angry some family members excluded me from the decision making process. I was angry that I would have to leave and I was angry that even though she knew she would receive better care in New York, she refused to leave Puerto Rico.
On the other hand, I was happy I saw her getting better and I was happy that my older brother, Ramon would be staying with her. He made a huge sacrifice, and I am grateful for that. But replaying the whole thing in my head on the flight home, I was disturbed by the fact that while I was riding the train to work like any other normal day, there were family members already at the airport waiting on standby flights without having contacted me. That oversight hurt deeply, and now more than five years removed from that fact, I get it. They may have been just as shocked about what was happening as I was, but it still hurt.
During my Mom's first twelve to eighteen months after her stroke, she made improvements. However, she began to slip both physically and I suspect, based some of the things she said, emotionally. She expressed how much she missed my Dad more frequently. She gave up on her therapy and she cried a lot. Eventually, she had to be put on a feeding tube for major muscles in her body were now atrophying and she lost the ability to speak. She slept most of the day.
She persisted this way four more years. During that time, Ramon was her full time care giver with the help of a part-time home attendant.
I took vacation time once, sometimes twice a year, to spend time with her and give Ramon a break.
Then tragedy struck.
Next: He never said a word.