The long version is as follows.
On Friday morning, I found email from my half-brother Danny, informing the rest of us that Mom had called him around 4 am with trouble breathing and talking. He drove out to the house and took her to the ER at NYU Medical Center, because that's where her doctor practices. He had no other information about her condition, just what he had told us.
Before I would normally have left for work, my older brother Jon called to tell me that he was planning to drive down to New York City, and did I want to come along. Honestly, I wanted more information on Mom's condition before I made a decision. Since he wasn't leaving right away, I decided to head to work instead. I figured that if I wasn't going to NYC, I ought to be at work, but if I changed my mind, I could get back home easily.
I got to work at my usual early time and got in touch with Danny and Jon again through phone and email. The upshot was that Mom's condition might have been serious; we just wouldn't know until we had the results of some tests. Given that possibility, and my own minor emotional unravelling, I decided to head back home and accompany Jon on his drive to NYC.
Back at home, I packed as quickly as I could, and I headed out to Butcherie and Kupel's to get food for the trip. At this point, I had no idea how long I would be in NYC, so I wanted to be prepared. Jon picked me up around 9:20 am. On the drive down, I stayed in touch with Nomi by cell phone, and I asked her to post here to let people know what was going on.
We also heard from Danny, who was running in and out of NYU Medical Center. He reported that Mom was stable and alert. She had had a buildup of fluid in her lungs, which is why she had had trouble breathing.
Jon and I arrived at NYU Medical Center (at 33rd St. and 1st Ave.) at 1:30 pm and spent about two hours with her. Their visitor rules only allowed for one of us to be in the ER with her at a time, so we swapped off. Mom seemed quite alert and cogent, even though she was lying in an ER bed. Jon is an ER doc himself, so he spoke with the staff to find out what was going on. We found out that the tests they were doing had all come back negative, meaning that Mom had not had a heart attack or anything very serious. However, they still planned to admit her to the hospital overnight, possibly longer if any other tests showed anything. At this point, though, we suspected that the cause of her condition was simply incorrect use of her medication.
Jon and I left and drove to Mom's house in Forest Hills, where I rearranged my bags and headed out. For a few years now, sdelmonte and batyatoon have taken me in for shabbat when I've rushed to NYC for an emergency (and even when I've just been in town on vacation). They live a short bus ride away from my Mom's house, which is convenient, and they know that staying in my Mom's house isn't very conducive for shabbat observance. So Jon stayed in the house, planning to check in on Mom the next day, while I headed out to meet sdelmonte.
Shabbat Shuva was Shabbat Shuva. Alex and I davened that night; I had dinner with Alex and Batya afterwards; the next morning Alex and I went to the early minyan so we could set up for kiddush; we had lunch at the synagogue; we napped at Alex & Batya's home; then Alex and I returned to shul for the drash and final davening. There are many nice things about spending shabbat with sdelmonte and batyatoon, one of which is that we also spend a lot of time discussing comic books and TV shows. It was a good anodyne.
Throughout shabbat I had left my cell phone on just in case Jon had to call for an emergency, but thankfully it never rang. I called my Mom's house at 8 pm and was pleasantly surprised to hear her answer the phone. The hospital had checked her out, and Jon had taken her home. My half-brothers Danny and David were also at the house with her. And the plan was for Jon and me to drive back to Boston that night, as opposed to Sunday morning. So Danny picked me up at Alex & Batya's and drove me back to the house, and I saw everyone for a short time before Jon and I left. David was staying at the house overnight to make sure Mom would be okay.
Jon and I left at 9:15 pm, and he dropped me at home at 12:40 am or so. Nomi had stayed up waiting for me. She had her own adventures over shabbat, which included being recognized as one of the "Pluto couple." We got to sleep very late, and woke up very early Sunday morning. We spent the day trying to relax and getting ready for Yom Kippur, which started Sunday night and lasted until Monday night. Having your mom go to the hospital just a few days before a major fast day is not exactly a pleasant experience.
Anyway, that's the story. I'm still behind on my email, and in case it's not obvious, I probably won't be able to catch up on all my blogs. Once again, thanks to everyone for your support. I'm hoping things have now returned to normal, or at least to what passes for normal in my life.
Copyright © Michael Burstein