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Family is everything

This has been a difficult week…so much so, that it feels like months since I wrote the blog post “Happy Place” a few weeks ago. I lost my happy place this week. My mom, my mummy, had a heart attack on Monday & went into kidney failure shortly after. The prognosis was grave. She was on a ventilater. The doctors inserted a balloon pump to help her heart. The doctors placed her on continuous dialysis. Then, she got a contagious infection. My sister asked me my thoughts on resuscitation. She and my other sister said mummy told them on different occassions she didn’t want it. Having completed my 1st social work internship in a nursing home a few years ago, I knew resuscitation could cause more harm than good for the people that are aging. I couldn’t hold back the tears on several occasions as I told some of my staff and coworkers what was going on.

Day 7 in critical condition and she’s doing better. No more heart pump. No more ventilator as of today. She’s still on continuous dialysis in the Intensive Care Unit  (ICU), but she’s headed in the right direction. Her primary oncologist said her body’s reaction to the chemotherapy for multiple myoma indicates she can’t do chemotherapy. We’re all ok with that.

To think that I almost lost my mom this week is heart wrenching and I’m all the way in Texas. My two sisters and brother are the ones who’ve been there: taking turns spending the night, talking to the doctors, talking to mummy, conforting her, and notifying her friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have called the hospital myself and requested constant updates from my siblings. 

I even bit the bullet and called my uncle despite the somewhat strained relationship. One of my sisters was opposed, but acknowledged that it was the right thing to do. He and my mom go way back…way back to Haiti. This has to be a 55-60 year old relationship. They’re ex-brother/sister-in-laws for I don’t know how long. I find the dynamics strange at times, but who am I? Mummy would have wanted him to know, so I called. I’m glad I did too because he’s been to see her twice. He told my cousins and they’ve visited. In fact, members from mummy’s key tribe have taken the time to visit and pray for her. I’ve also asked my friends to pray for her.

The stress at work was almost unbearable coupled with what was happening with mummy. I lost myself this week. I really did. I barely used any self-care tools. I exercised a little, barely ate, barely slept, and was in a constant state of anxiety. I did pray. 

It’s Sunday night and I’m just now starting to feel better. When my sister told me via text that they were taking out the ventilater, my response was, “I can finally breathe again.” This evening, I completed about 30 minutes of Zumba and 15 minutes of stretching. I am actually breathing again.

The siblings: Gina, Patrick, Mylene & me. Chicago, June 2017

Tragedy has a way of bringing families together, and with each experience, good or bad, we’ve gotten closer. Words can’t express how glad I am for making the trip to Chicago at the end of May/early June because I almost canceled my trip for a JOB. You read that right. As mummy gets older, I don’t know when our last time seeing each other will be. Therefore, I went to Chicago with my children and had a wonderful time. Having experienced breast cancer first hand, I’m keenly aware that tomorrow is not promised. 

Work is the wheel that keeps turning whether you are there or not. Work is work. Family is everything.

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