Recently my aunt went through a dramatic medical event. She experienced a “thunder clap” headache (just by the term you can imagine how that must feel), and immediately went to the ER. After a scary few hours, during which time she was sent home with Tylenol, went back to ER, was sent via ambulance to another ER 1.5 hours away, and then airlifted to a major city, she was finally diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The neuro surgery team took her immediately into the operating room, and 6 hours later had managed to crack her head open, slow the bleeding and staple her head back together. Being no neuro surgeon myself, that’s how I imagine it all went down. I can’t even fathom how much skill and knowledge is required to perform a surgery like that.
Being from a small family, we are aware of the importance of staying together. As soon as my aunt called my mom from the ER, she had booked a flight and was on her way across the country to meet my aunt. My brother, an ER physician himself, was on the next plane to meet up with my aunt and help act as interpreter and advocate. I also managed to find childcare (thank you Jason, Elsie, Nathan, and Katie) and was on my way within a couple of days. My aunt is an incredibly strong woman, and an incredibly lucky one too. Even after getting the run-around in her home town, she still went into surgery neurologically intact. She came out of it the same way too. Nevertheless I was worried and spent my flight across the country hoping for the best. I was definitely met with the best- a smile and hug from my aunt as soon as I got to the hospital.
The next few days were spent at the hospital with my aunt and my mom. We chatted, played games, sat quietly. My aunt had good moments and not-so-good moments during that time. It’s always hard to see someone you love suffering, but we all knew that she was on the mend. I think we’ll even look back on those days with a smile… from dealing with noisy roommates (that’s putting it mildly) to dealing the cards, we were together as a family and that’s what mattered most. My aunt’s partner drove 15 hours to pick her up. He visited each day, and was ready to drive her back as soon as he got the green light from the doctors. They’ll have to take their time going home, and my aunt will need to take it easy for several weeks. Really, Auntie Janet, if you wanted to hang out with us and take a break from housework, you just had to ask!
While this might not have been the way I envisioned ‘spending the holidays with family,’ I am so happy to have had the chance to see my aunt.
Merry Christmas everyone- may you enjoy and cherish the time you spend with your families!