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My Mom's Story - Liz


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Hey there! I'm a new member.

This story isn't actually about me, it's about my mom. (It's a bit long just to warn you)

First though, I need to start with some background information:

My family are all US citizens (In my case I was born and raised there) and my dad works for a company that subsequently works for USAID. Barely a year ago, my parents and I moved to Nairobi, Kenya for his job. There's an 11 year gap between my brother and I (he's 25; I'm 14), so he stayed in the US for work and school. I was greatly opposed to moving, but when we did I loved it there. My family is originally from Africa, so go fig. My dad loved it too. My mom however, was a mix of emotions. You see, my mom had what some would call an extremely difficult childhood, so she has trust issues, as well as she suffers from depression. She always told me the only thing she really lived for was her family.

Anyway, a few weeks before her SAH, she was having problems with my brother and his love life, the usual problems with my dad, and I can't say my teenageness was really helping. I knew that she was suffering because she couldn't get out the house and she had nothing to do and I think she felt her life was getting no where.

So one day, we decided to go to this new restaurant that opened called the Taj Mahal. I was really excited, and I think my mom was happy to get out too. The thing is, on opening night (It was a Friday) they had nothing ready. My dad was fed up after waiting for about two hours and said we were leaving. I was crushed. We said we'd go to this place called Village (It's like a hangout place with restaurants and shops and such), but I still sulked in the car. I saw I was making my parents unhappy so I stopped. We found this really nice Chinese Food place and ended up having a great time that night. I thought the night was perfect untill we got home.

We live in a big apartment type thing so my Dad and I went down the hallway to change when my mom started complaing about a splitting headache. I came out of my room to see if she was okay and, ever the trooper, she said she was fine. As I was walkig back to my room, I heard my mom cry out and I rushed back again. She was sitting on the floor of the hallway clutching her head whimpering (My mom NEVER cries). By this time my dad was there too and we had absolutely no idea what was going on.

We helped my mom to her room and she said that all along her neck and back was hurting as well as the migrane. My dad whipped out the Bengay cream (analgesic heat rub) and immediately started treating the problem areas while I consoled my mom and fetched things that she needed. When I look back now I know that was when she had her aneurysm. I sorely wish I had known what SAH was back then.

When my mom was feeling semi okay, my dad started calling hospitals to see when was the earliest my mom could get looked at. I was in my room on my laptop trying to see what was wrong with my mother, but every time I typed in her symptoms, the results didn't seem quite right. I realize now we should've taken her straight to the emergency room.

When my dad called Karen Hospital (One of the best in Kenya), they said they could have a look see on Monday. We asked my mom if she could hold up untill then and, ever the trooper, she said yes.

Just to give you an example of how my mom is, through the whole weekend she kept apologising for "ruining our night" despite numerous times when we told her her health was much more important. Also, another thing you should know, my mom LOATHES hospitals, with a passion. That's understandable because a few years back they found a tumour in her belly (which is removed), but hospitals can be traumatising.

So on Monday morning my dad took her to the hospital while I went to school (It was my final week). When I came back my Dad told me the doctor had said that the only thing that was wrong was her incredibly high blood pressure. I was so relieved because then I wasn't aware of how massivly incorrect that diagnosis was. On thing that should've tipped me off was the fact that my mom was a very consiencous eater. As you may know, when you have the aneurysm, it causes your blood pressure to skyrocket.

So for the next few weeks we focused on regulating her food and made sure she didn't have salt (my dad even hid the spices; my mom can be very stubborn!). When she went again to the doctor, he said her blood pressure was normal now, which we were all happy about because a week from then my mom and I were planning to go back to the US for a visit. The only problem was: my mom was STILL feeling those terrible headaches. The doctor prescribed some meds that she was supposed to take while in the US.

I will never ever forget the night of June 8th 2010. We went to Jomo Kenyatta airport to fly back home. My dad dropped us and thankfully he decided to wait untill we got past security to leave. We got past the entrance to the airport where they have to scan your luggage and carry-ons when my mom started complaining about the headaches again. I asked if there was anything I could do and she said to hurry because she needed to sit. I obeyed and when were in line to check our luggage she asked me to call my father and ask if she could take her meds now. That was done and my father said sure, but while she was reaching for them, she clutched her head and collapsed. It took me a split second to realize she hadn't got back up again.

I remember getting to my knees and shaking her screaming "Mom!" as loud as I could. I had sincerely hoped that it was a bad dream (I often have dreams like this) and I would wake up. I soon lost the energy to shake her and I started sobbing and screamed "Please! Somebody help my mom! I need help!" I was vaguely aware of my dad beside me now. There was a nice American guy that was trying to calm me down and get help while my dad was screaming at the airport officials to do something. I remember one airport official told me to just "Shut up". Right then he became the perfect object to take out my fear and anger on. I'm not proud of this, but needless to say I think I destroyed his self esteem that night.

We were on the ground for a good 10-20 min. before paramedics came. They started asking a bunch of questions untill my dad said quote "Just get her to a damn ambulance! Can't you see she needs help?!" (Till then she hadn't been concious and had been convulsing). They then put her in a wheel chair and wheeled her through the parking lot to an ambulance. I say ambulance for lack of better words because it was just a van with a stretcher and some chairs and a siren. I thought for sure she was going to die.

We managed to get to The Mater Hospital (Which we found out later was a Catholic hospital) and they got her to the emergency room. It turns out that these two people (Who I now refer to as Saints) had been following the ambulance. Their names are Evans and Sophy Mosomi and they had seen everything that had happened and decided to help us out. They called the airline company and sorted everything out while my father sorted things out with the hospital and I went crazy.

I remember this all happened at night time. I had to get away from all of it and I remember I stumbled out of the emergency room and blindly made my way to the chapel. I bumped into the priest who asked me the name of my mom and told me he would pray for her and let me in. After I was finished I went back to the emergency room where I slept overnight on a chair. My father was there too, but he didn't sleep.

The next day the doctor (Dr. Kiboi) told us that she had suffered a stroke due to an aneurysm. He said from the scans they did it turns out she had SAH. He wrote it down for us and for about two more days it burned a hole in my pocket. We had to stay in the hospital sleeping on chairs in case something happened to her. Finally I told my dad that if I stayed in the hospital one more day was going to go mad. He dropped me home the next night and I stayed home the following day. I logged on to the internet and told close friends what happened and updated my brother. I also went on to good ole Wikipedia and looked up Subarachnoid Hemorrage. I was scared and alarmed by what I read, but at least I knew.

For about a week more I went back and forth to the hospital and dealt with visitors. Finally, the doctors said my mother was stable, but they wanted to send her to South Africa. Apparently, they could do the Angiogram there but if it didn't work they couldn't do a clipping. We agreed and she was flown there on a med jet while my father and I took a commercial flight. It was surprisingly empty considering the world cup is going on.

She was safe when we arrived (Last Sunday) and they said they wanted to do the procedure that Tuesday.

Tuesday came and they said they couldn't do it because her veins had spasmed or something and that a clipping would end her life because of the placement of the vein. So they decided to wait untill that Friday to do it.

The next day she bled again. they managed to save her and put a drain in her head to clear the excess liquid and pushed the date back to Tuesday (Tomorrow).

As the days went on I grew more and more hopefull and even started to enjoy myself here in South Africa when last night a nurse knocked on our door (We stay at the hospital) and said that my mom had bled AGAIN, and this time, they might not be able to save her.

Thank God, Thank God, Thank the almighty God, they saved her still. However, she's seeped further into unconciousness than is good. We just got back from a visit with her and we're praying and hoping she can wake up or make some kind of movement.

This is our situation now and I just wanted to share her story and I hope with all my heart that I can say later it ended well and she recovers.

-Liz

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