On January 26, 1989 I was in my apartment studying for my NCLEX (board certification) to be a registered nurse. I got a phone call from a close family friend and neighbor. My world was turned upside down with the words "Christine your mom is on her way to the hospital, they think it’s her heart. It’s not looking good." It was the type of phone call we never hope to get, but one we are likely to receive as our society slips deeper and deeper into unhealthy behaviors.
When I arrived at the hospital, the ER doctor came out and talked to my dad, brother and me. She left a sliver of hope as she explained how they were still working to save my mom but that it was very serious. My dad was hopeful, but I knew just enough from my training and experience on a telemetry floor working with heart patients that my mom was gone.
A few minutes later the same doctor reappeared with the heartbreaking words “We tried everything, but were unable to save your mom." I remember leaving the hospital perplexed. All I had left of my mother that day was her personal belongings and a rather large plastic bag of all the medications she was on at the time.
My dad was devastated and lost for years after that day. I had to make phone calls you never want to have to make. I had to call her mom and dad (my grandparents). I also had to call my 5 siblings, most of whom lived out of state. After her death I went into “nurse mode” making phone calls, consoling people and making funeral and burial arrangements. I was 24 years old.
When I got my passing results of my nursing boards a few months later, I went to call the first person one calls when something exciting happens in their life; I dialed up my mom. Now I did cry an awful lot when she first passed away but I didn't feel the full weight of the tragedy until that moment when I realized I’d never be able to share my life events with the person who meant the most to me in the whole world.
She and my husband have never met. My kids will never know how funny she was or how much love she showed towards everyone. I left an empty chair with a rose on it for her at my wedding.
This is my story and these are some of the reasons I have spent my nursing career learning and working towards finding ways to keep this from happening to you or someone you love. Yes we are all going to die someday. However, through changes in diet and lifestyle you can avoid a senseless tragedy in your life. This is what motivates me, to help you.