December 24th, 2003

Doug & Sheri

Not the Christmas Eve I would've expected.

First off I wanted to thank you all for your kind words and prayers for my friend and her family. I will certainly pass along your condolences to her.

Unfortunately my Christmas Eve was not as uneventful as I would've hoped. We just got home from probably the longest Christmas Eve that I'll ever spend in my life. :P I was sitting at home typing a happier LJ entry this evening (and responding to some posts) when I got a frantic call from my Mom. She told me that she had a pain in her arm that wouldn't go away and that she was having pains in her chest and having a hard time breathing. I told her to hang up because I was going to call 911 - but she refused. Japanese culture teaches us to not cause ourselves "shame" and she was afraid that the neighbors would worry and if it was nothing, she'd be embarrassed (I know, it's pretty silly, but Japanese culture is all about avoiding "shame").

So I told her to call her doctor. While she did Mark & I hopped into the car and drove out to her house. She lives about 25 minutes away from us and we thought if she wouldn't call 911, we were going to go over there and take her to the Emergency Room. She called me back about 10 minutes later while we were on our way and she said the doctor didn't think it was anything to worry about because the pain was in her right arm and he just thought she was having a panic attack.

She told me that she was probably fine and that she didn't want to go to the Emergency Room at all. I argued with her for a few minutes about it, insisting that her doctor never examined her, just took her symptoms over the phone. She still refused to go because she didn't want to cause trouble on Christmas Eve. I finally told her, "Mom, we're coming to pick you up and we're taking you to the Emergency Room. You can either change your clothes and wear something that you wouldn't mind being seen in public with, or we're taking you in your sleepwear."

She finally conceded and we picked her up and took her to the hospital. It was about 9pm when they checked her in and at 10:45pm I asked to see her because everyone else around us had left (even some people who came after us). :P It was a pretty long hour and a half waiting there in the waiting room, not knowing if everything was okay. :P When I finally got to go into the examining room, I was SO relieved to see her talking and laughing with the nurse and to hear that she was fine. Two doctors looked her over, they gave her an EKG, and both doctors determined that it was just a panic attack and nothing to worry about. Thank God! But it was quite a scare for all of us!

I know that I've panicked a bit too much about my Mom in the past (the time I couldn't reach her on the phone, etc.) but I worry a lot about her. I also keep thinking, if someone 13 years ago had listened to my Dad's concerns, maybe he'd still be with us today. I'm just so thankful that she didn't have a heart attack or a stroke. I seriously don't know what I would've done if anything happened to her tonight. :(

I plan to have a better day tomorrow and feel more "Christmasy" - sorry for the constant downers I've been posting today. :P
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