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In the blink of an eye

BY Linda Wilk

I have heard over and over the importance of never taking anyone or anything for granted. I know that life holds no guarantees and that in a moment’s notice life can change.

However, I still get complacent and take everyday events as routine and many times mundane.

I, like many, have a routine I follow most days of the week.

At 6 p.m., Friday, March 1, I received a phone call that would change the course of my life, my parent’s life and my siblings for the foreseeable future.

My sister called to tell me that my mom had had a small stroke and was rushed to our local hospital.

Actually, the scenario took a little bit more of a winding road than just going straight to the ER. You see, my parents aren’t ones to rush to a medical facility; rather they often wait to see just how serious the event might be.

They had just finished lunch and my mom was walking to the sink to put the dishes away when she felt a little odd and told my dad she veered to the left. My dad wasn’t worried and went out to his wood shed to work on a project, which he does most days.

He told me later that as he was crafting a piece of wood into a bowl, he kept wondering if my mom was OK, so after about 10 minutes he went back in the house where my mom thought she probably needed to go to the clinic.

Once at the clinic, she was immediately taken to the ER, where several tests were done, and the hospital staff believed she had suffered from a minor stroke. They said she would be held overnight for observation and released the next morning.

My sister, who lives in the same town as my parents and works at a nursing home, was coordinating information and logistics. After calling me to inform me what had happened, she said she planned to go home where she had a walker she was going to bring back to the hospital to have them size it for my mom to use when she got released that next morning.

I called my dad to see how he was doing, and he commented he wasn’t sure what he was going to have for supper. “I will be lost in the kitchen, just like your mom would be lost in my wood shed,” he said.

I encouraged our oldest daughter Laura to call my dad – she texted me later that Grandpa ate a cold hotdog and a cold piece of apple crisp because he didn’t want to mess up the microwave. Knowing my dad and mom’s relationship, he probably didn’t want my mom to come home to a mess in her kitchen.

My mom coming home the next day was not to happen though. A few hours later my mom suffered an actual stroke, so plans were changed, and the next morning, after a rough night, she was taken by ambulance to a larger hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Then the waiting began. And the wondering. Do I go to Nebraska now? Do I wait until my mom gets released from the hospital?

When am I more needed? My sister commented that we will have to clean out the fridge, because my dad can not find anything in the fridge – you see, my mom was raised during the depression and was one of 12 children, so she still has a hard time throwing anything out.

I called my dad two days later to see how things were going. He said he was lonely. He was worried about how to cook the food in the fridge, commenting my mom had a way of making something out of nothing. He was also worried that church ladies would bring him large casseroles that he wouldn’t know what to do with because he couldn’t eat all that food before it spoiled.

We talked about when I should come home, and he said it would be nice to have me home, but he understood I was busy.

After thinking it over, talking with my husband, Larry, and taking a hard look at my work and daughters’ schedules, I decided to take off some time and go see my mom and dad.

I’m not sure what I will find when I enter that hospital room to see my mom or walk in to my parent’s home where just my dad is staying.

One thing I do know, though, is there are no guarantees in life and you should live each day to the fullest. So, this weekend, as you read this article, I will be celebrating my mom’s 78th birthday a few days early, because one thing I have learned from this experience is you can’t take life for granted, and you need to celebrate those closest to you when the opportunity arises.