THE past two months have been extremely difficult for our family that is why I have not written articles. My mother had a seizure which I later learned was another major stroke. Unlike her first stroke more than 18 years ago, this one was doubly life-threatening. For one, she needed to be operated on to remove the blood clot in her brain.
Back then, our mother's first stroke was not as traumatic compared to this recent one because it did not necessitate a surgery. The blood clotting she had then was removed through an IV-fed medicine that drains or flushes out the blood clot in her brain. This recent stroke though is heartbreaking because it required craniotomy and the survival rate given her was not that optimistic.
My mother's doctors gave our family two options to decide what we wanted for our mother. Option one was to perform surgery on our mother at the soonest possible time to prevent further brain injury. Although it is a big risk, this option gives our mother a better chance of survival.
The second option was to let nature and time takes its course. This option, according to our mother's neurosurgeon, would give our mother one percent survival rate, and this one percent would be a miracle. It would be like letting our mother slowly drift away which, I, along with my four siblings were not prepared to do so.
After praying the hardest in our lives, we decided to take option one because we did not want to let her go without putting up a fight. We did not want to be plagued with the 'what ifs' had we chosen option two.
It was then that I realized how difficult it is to decide on someone else's life, when you or a member of your family is involved. It would have been easier to decide if we were mere spectators.
Our father had given the five of us, their children, to decide for our mother because he was also on the verge of breaking down. We, too, were crying incessantly but we had to be brave for one another.
Our mother was wheeled to the operating room for a three-hour cranium surgery to remove the massive clotting, where 65cc of blood was drained. We were told that 7cc to 20cc of blood puts a patient in a very critical condition, how much more with 65cc of blood. It was the longest three hours of our lives but we thanked God when we were told of the success of the surgery.
For the next two weeks, our mother was in the ICU where she was attached to several tubes as well as medical equipment. Even with only a tinge of movement made by her, we would cry for happiness. We prayed the rosary all the time; recited probably all the time-tested novenas, prayers and rubbed all the miracle oil and water given us.
I would like to believe, that it helped that our mother was a very pious person, and that at the time she had her seizure, she was preparing to go to novena at our village chapel to celebrate the feast of the Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
It was a miracle that even with her massive blood clot; she was transferred to a regular room two weeks after her surgery. The weeks that followed were even more miraculous for us. Slowly, oxygen and ventilator tubes were also removed. She had also begun to open her eyes albeit only for a few minutes. But a few more weeks later, she could already open her eyes almost for an entire day.
And in less than two months after her surgery, our mother is back in our home. We let her listen to the music of her times - the 60's and the 70's, classics, lullabies, hymns and audio books (being the voracious reader that she is). We touch her, talk to her, though sometimes it can be difficult because she still cannot speak.
We miss talking to our mother. We miss her reassuring words that make us feel good all the time. We miss her touch and her positive outlook in life. We look forward to hearing her motherly voice again.
But for now, these little miracles that continue to happen to our mother are what make us all thankful to God for giving her another shot at life. We know more miracles will continue to happen to our family, especially to our mother, as long as we keep the faith. This is what keeps us going.