October 10, 2000
The Last Day of Normal
Ten years ago today was the last day of what was normal for me. I had spent almost four years working for Non-Profit Agency #2, where I had a job I liked and was surrounded by a wonderful group of people. But then came the changes.
The morning of October 10 started out close to usual, but I had expected a call from my mother. She had not been feeling particularly well for several days, so I had asked her to call and let me know how she was doing before I left for work. When the call didn't come, I called her, but couldn't reach her for a bit. When I did reach her, I realized she was truly in trouble of some sort, based on what she said. She was terribly confused, and had I not known better, I would have thought she was drunk.
No, this was not the confusion often exhibited by someone just waking up to a ringing phone.
I was three hours away, and scared. The most logical thing I could think to do was go on to work---I would have had to let the people there know what was going on, at any rate. Once I got there, I called Mother again, and she was still in bad shape. This was about twenty minutes after the prior call. I knew she needed help THEN, not when I could get there, so I called a friend in her town, and we arranged for the friend to be met by a police officer to gain access to the house.
You may wonder why I didn't call an ambulance. There were several reasons, including that someone who didn't know Mother would not have realized exactly how confused she was. I knew the friend could assess the situation and could call for help if she thought it was warranted.
I should note here that this was happening in a small town. In terms of closeness to Mother's home, the friend lived two blocks away, the police station was a block away in another direction, and the rescue squad was a block-and-a-half in a third.
Our friend and the police officer arrived to find Mother asleep. They did have to basically break in to the house, since Mother didn't respond to their knocking. Mother was glad to see them. After ascertaining that our friend could take care of the situation, the police officer left.
Our friend called me, and said in her judgment Mother needed to go to the doctor, so she was going to help her get there. For a variety of reasons, we decided it would be best for me not to leave for my hometown until the next day.
We weren't sure how long the doctor's office visit would take, but our friend promised to keep me posted. I came home from work early, knowing I would leave for my hometown the next day. I knew I needed some time to make plans and some extra rest.
The doctor decided to admit Mother to the local hospital for diagnosis. As luck would have it, our pastor was nearby when our friend was taking Mother out to the car for the trip over to the hospital, so the pastor got involved in the late-afternoon transport.
The admission happened, and my friend called in mid-evening, as soon as Mother was settled. We knew that nothing would happen, in terms of diagnostic testing, before the next day. We decided to get some rest, knowing that whatever this adventure was had just begun.
The story will continue tomorrow.