Monday morning I awoke with chest pains. By Tuesday morning I was worried when it hadn't gone away. After speaking with my doctor's office and being advised to go to the ER, I called my parents and Nate and we head to the emergency room at UM. We had decided to go there since UM has all of my medical records. Given that my radiation was scheduled to start today, we really wanted whoever treated me to be aware of my condition. The scene at the emergency room looked like something out of a movie. To say that it was very crowded and chaotic would be an understatement. There was a woman yelling profanities in a corner because she was upset that a man in a wheel chair was blocking her view of the television. There were people being taken in by fire rescue on stretchers and then dropped off in the waiting room onto a chair. Then there was a little old lady that caught our attention. She was crying because she had been there since 9am, all by herself, and although she had been seen by someone, her condition was not alleviated and she was not spoken to by any of the hospital staff. It was 6:30 pm. The hospital staff was not to blame. They had their hands more than full and it was simply impossible to accomomdate all the patients that were in need of care. As I was getting an EKG, my father and step-mother were trying to get the lady some medical care while listening to her story. She told them how she was all alone in this world. She has a daughter that lives in Cuba but they had lost touch. She was lucky enough to get to an emergency room because a neighbor called the rescue for her. Besides the fact that her legs were extremely swollen and she was in pain; she was afraid and she had no idea what was going on. What she needed more than anything was someone to hold her hand and tell her that all was going to be well. Unfortunately, we realized that we had to leave this emergency room because it would be many hours before I received any sort of attention. But that little old lady stayed in mine and my family's thoughts all night.
When you are born into a family like mine, it's easy to take for granted how incredibly supportive they are. When I called my parents to tell them that I was going to the emergency room, they dropped everything they were doing to meet me there. They have younger children, another daughter that has a newborn with a fever, a mother with pain in her legs, a gym class to go to, a child's baseball game to attend, etc. I know that they aren't sitting around waiting for me to call. What's even more amazing to me is that I wasn't calling them to give them an update of my situation. I was calling them, because I knew that they would want to meet me in the emergency room. It's not that I mean to take them for granted, it's just that this is the way my family operates.
As I was on my way to the emergency room at Mercy hospital my dad was telling me, "Listen you have chest pains; maybe you want to act like you actually don't feel so good so they give you attention quickly. This is not the time to put on your brave face." He made me laugh, but he was right. Again I thought about the little old lady and wondered how differently her day at the ER would have been if she had someone like my dad by her side. Then I thought of her again, while my blood was being drawn and Ili (my step-mother) and Nate had stepped out of the room and my dad knew my hand needed some holding. Would the little old lady have been so scared and crying if she had someone to just hold her hand?
While I was at the hospital my mom, grandmother, siblings, aunts, uncle, and friends kept calling, texting, and even facebooking to see how I was doing. Ili kept giving me updates on who was requesting updates and sending their well-wishes. If I could have taken that little old lady with me, and shared some of my support with her I would have. My parents were even thinking of going back to the ER at UM to drive her home if she needed!
By 3am, my blood had been drawn, an X-ray and a CAT scan had been administered, and a blood clot in my lungs had been ruled out. I was told that I probably have an infammation of the tissue surrounding the lungs; a condition that should get better within a week to 10 days. I was given a pain killer and sent home. As we left the hospital I again thought of that little old lady and my heart was filled with a sense of gratitude for the incredible people that are always by my side, always cheering me on, always pushing me to be stronger and better.
Thank you family for the late night. Thank you for rushing to be by my side and holding my hand. Thank you for calling to check up on me and worrying the way you do. Thank you for making me laugh even when I'm in pain. Thank you for the endless support, the long hours spent on google, and the comfort that your love brings! I love you!