On a warm summer day in June, I received a phone call that changed my world in an instant. The voice on the other end of the telephone line was usually jolly; this time it was somber and sad. My step-father told me that my mother was found unconscious early in the morning. She was really dead and the paramedics revived her. After the paramedics revived her oxygen level was very level and they rushed her to the local hospital were the Doctors tried to get her stabilized. The Doctors told Tommy, my step-father that my mother is in a coma and if she comes out of the coma she would probably be in a vegetative state.
When I heard this my emotions immediately rose to an unbelievable height. I remember my husband was off of work that day and I am very glad that he was because I really needed him. He kept me focused on what I had to do and comforted me and let me shed some tears. After I got my emotions under control enough to talk on the phone I called my job and let them know that I would not be at work because my mother was gravely ill. Next, I called Barry, my brother and broke the news to him. Barry was at my house within an hour. Paul and I quickly gathered some clothes together and some bare necessities to take with us.
We had to call Rainbow Elementary School and tell them to have Jamyla ready because we were coming to get her out of school early. In the meantime, my mother was stable enough to be air lifted by helicopter to University of Richmond Medical Center which is about an hour flight from the hospital in Kilmarnock. The Doctors had to put her on life support. By the time Paul and I arrived at the University of Richmond Medical Center I was a nervous wreck. I did not think I would make it there before she passed away. It was a long ride that seemed to be even longer just because you want to get there in a hurry.
When Paul and I got up to her room to my surprise she was awake and looking around. She had all her faculties and she knew who I was. She was communicating by writing on a tablet, to me that was a miracle in itself because the Doctors said mom would probably be brain dead. I didn’t like the things she was writing because she was writing things to get her affairs in order, like she was getting ready to leave this world any minute. She had me calling a person for a burial plot and contacting a funeral director. These requests were not very pleasant for me but I did for her.
She was even writing down where we could find the insurance policies. I found this very disturbing for this was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Seeing my mother on life support with tubes running in her and out of her mouth and the sound of the ventilator going up and down, made me very sad because I knew that she could not survive without it. There was absolutely nothing I could do. I felt completely inadequate and afraid. Tanya Savage Page 2 After staying there a few days, I had to come home and go to work and pray for her recovery.
I went back to Virginia every weekend for 3 weeks. On the fourth week my step-father called and told me not to come down this week. My mother said “Save your money”. I told him that I had planned on coming, and then my mother got on the phone and told me, “Not to come down to Virginia, she will call me if she needs me”. I was happy to hear her voice on the telephone. That was one time I was glad to hear her fussing at me. You see earlier in the week the Doctor had removed the life support to see if she could breathe on her own and she did.
I continued to call on a daily basis to check on her progress and she was doing great. Mom stayed in the hospital for a total of 6 weeks and then she was released to a nursing home to rehabilitate herself because she lost a lot of weight and she also lost a lot of muscle tone, especially in her legs. She stayed in the nursing home for close to a month. It has been a long road of recovery for my mom and her family. Miraculously she is home now. She only has ten percent of her lung capacity left, but we are all glad we have a little more time with her.