My Mom Had A Stroke

This has been the hardest month of my life. And it wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t write and talk about it. I’m thinking about writing a daily journal of how this experience went from the moment it happened. But for now… I just want to write a bit of a recap on what had happened.
On July 14th my mom had a stroke. Before I go on, know that she is still alive and improving every day.
But on that day I received a phone call from my dad who said my mom wasn’t feeling good and had called an ambulance to come to the house. This was alarming but at the same time not too concerning because my parents go to the ER a lot for little things, so I wasn’t super freaked out by this news.
An hour or so had passed and I received another call from my dad in absolute hysterics. I could barely understand what he was saying through the tears. But I soon found out that my mom had had a stroke and she was not responsive.
It felt surreal. Sort of like an out-of-body experience from the moment I found out the news. I immediately told my boss, booked a flight home that night, and left work.
My boyfriend and I flew to Reno together that night around 10pm. I was so SO grateful that Will was willing to take a few days off from work and come with me. I wouldn’t have survived that first week without his love and support.
We arrived in Reno and had my dad drive us straight to the hospital. I walked into my mom’s room at ICU and she was completely out of it. But conscious! She was trying hard to talk but because of the stroke she couldn’t make out any words. And she didn’t really register that I was there. I stayed for a few hours with her, feeling helpless. I left around 2am and came back early the next morning.
When I arrived the next morning my mom was in a new ICU unit. Her eyes were closed and she was barely awake. I noticed the nurses had very concerned looks on their faces and withing 15 minutes of being there, a doctor came to speak with me. She told me my mom’s gag reflex wasn’t working because of the stroke and they feared she wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own soon. She explained to me that the stroke happened in the back of her brain, on the brain-stem, due to a blood clot. This one of the most serious places to have a stroke. She said the mortality rate after a stroke like this was 85%. 85%!!!!
She asked me if my mom had a will or anything in writing that spoke of her hospital wishes. I was like “What?? Umm… No I dont think she does.” Then the doctor asked me if my mom would want to be put on a breathing ventilator/life support if it were a life and death situation. I told her yes! And next thing I know, within minutes, they asked me to go into the visitor waiting room while they placed a breathing ventilator in her mouth/lungs.
I remember asking the doctor, “Is she going to die? Is this hopeless?” And she said “No. It is not hopeless. I would tell you if it was.”
I barely believed her in that moment. Her face had this look like she expected my mom to die. But thankfully I held on to that little hope the doctor gave me…and watched every day as my mom made small improvements for the better.

My mom’s stroke has been the most terrifying and also the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. Terrifying obviously because the first few weeks this all happened we didn’t know what was going to happen and if my mom would even pull through. But it has been amazing to witness her progress afterwards. I knew my mom was a strong women but I never realized JUST how strong until now. Every day she fought and stayed positive and worked so hard to get better.
The first step was getting her to breathe on her own and get that ventilator taken out. The second step was working on her cough so she was able to clear out her lungs on her own. The third step was working on her swallowing so she could eat food again. And the fourth step was gaining her strength back in her muscles so she could walk and move again.
Even when my mom couldn’t speak yet, I would sit and “talk” with her and I knew immediately her brain was still fully functioning. She knew words, she knew people and she remembered everything past and present. We were so lucky her brain was still in tact!

I’ve been there to witness my mom’s recovery from the very beginning and it’s been a miracle and a blessing to see the process. She has been living in rehabilitation for almost a month. And they have given her so much physical therapy to help gain her strength back. It’s a slow process but it’s very promising. My mom and I have always been VERY close and I love her more than anything. But going through something like this that was so scary and so tragic has just increased my love for her even more, if you would think that would even be possible.
I know God was watching over us and it is because of him my mom has made the recovery that she has. He truly blessed us and I thank him and love him every minute for it. When the doctor told me she may not live, I just knew in my heart that her dying was not an option. God did not want me to lose my mom at 30 years old. My mom is my life and my rock and without her I dont know what I would have done.
We still have a long road to recovery but we are on the right track and I’m very hopeful.

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