We all have our crosses to bear. This weekend was another tough one for our family, having to rush mom to the hospital in the wee hours of Thursday morning like it was January 2009 all over again. The respirators, the ambulance, the machines -- they were all there. The difference was her heart did not stop beating this time. What scared us most was when, unable to speak because of the respirator tube shoved down her throat, she tearfully pointed to our deceased loved ones. She wrote their names on a piece of paper and said she saw them inside the room with us: Kuya, wawa, her parents whom we've never met, all of them crying. I kept telling her, "No, mom, they're not here to ask you to come with them. They're just visiting."
I never lose composure infront of my family at times like this because I believe that one of us should always be the pillar of strength, but I broke down when she wrote me a note apologizing because the pain is too much for her to fight back that's she's about to give up, asking me to take care of dad, and that she loves us all. My mom is a fighter; she never complains until it's too severe and it scares me everytime she thinks it's the end. Thank God for a good group of doctors, my uncle included, who would assure us that she'll be fine even when it looked like she wasn't. This gave us hope and the strength to go on and encourage mom to not lose her will to live.
On the first night at the hospital (Thursday), her cardiologist came when she was undergoing dialysis still on a respirator. My doctor uncle was also there watching the procedure and they discussed about her state. Her cardio asked how she was and she shook her head. She wrote on air that she couldn't take it anymore. The doctor said, yes you can. Mom shook her head again and a tear fell down her left eye. Suddenly her cardio pulled the tube which connected the respirator to the tube that's inserted through her throat. "Relax. Now, breathe on your own. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe! 30 seconds, breathe!" And my mom did just that. For 30 seconds until the doctor reconnected the respirator. My mother, the fighter.
Friday was spent training her to breathe on her own again, with the calibration of the respirator being lessened by the hour. She was still very uncomfortable and in pain but not hopeless.
Saturday morning, they removed the respirator, the NGT and the IV. No more tubes. My mom can't speak yet because of the strain that the tubes caused on her throat but she's beginning to get her voice back. She was able to walk to the restroom, eat on her own and silently laugh at what we're watching on TV.
Tonight, the cleaning lady visited my mom's room to do her chores and even she was in awe of my mom's progress. She asked her, "Ma'am, di ba po nakarespirator ka pa kahapon? Ang galing-galing naman tinanggal na nila, okay na po kayo. Salamat sa diyos!"
Everyday, I'm thankful for being given the chance to have mom with us for another day. Thankful for being given a second and a third chance. I'm also thankful to all the people who visited, said their prayers, texted and called to ask about mom's progress - friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, even twitter friends and their direct messages. Just the mere expression of concern helped a lot.
She's still in the hospital, but she'll be discharged soon. For as long as there's hope, we'll never get tired of fighting this battle with her.