Friday, September 24, 2010

I've Never Been So Scared In My Life

My son almost died last month. My only son, whom I love with every breath I take, almost died in my arms for the second time in his life. He is twenty-four years old now. The first time was at birth. He was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, had surgery when he was a little over an hour old and has a foot long scar on his chest to prove it. His father and I divorced almost eight years ago. He moved to Asia and has lived there ever since. I stay in the city where I was born and raised, taking care of my father and providing a home base for our children.

A month ago my son called from Chicago around 7 PM in the evening, “I don’t feel right. Can you come and get me?”

“What’s wrong? Zach! I am three hours away! If it’s that bad get your ass to Northwestern!

“I don’t have a car, Lois, remember?” He has always called me Lois. Lois, Loey, Lobo, Lo Lo… anything but Mom.

“Dear God, Zach, call one of your cousins. They both have cars.”

“But, I want you to come and get me. I want to see my doctor.”

“Let me repeat, I am three hours away. What is wrong with you?”

“I’m not sure. This morning I was tying my shoe, then… I jumped up and threw my hands in the air and it felt like I pulled something in my chest where my pec muscle is.”

“You think you pulled a muscle and you want me to drive three hours to Chicago, then three hours back to Peoria so you can see a doctor?”


“No!” I hung up the phone in disgust. He had to be kidding, right? My thoughts were muddled. What if he were really hurt? He couldn’t be. He runs five miles a day. He plays basketball four times a week. He rock climbs at the gym a couple of times a week. He lifts weights. He eats healthier than anyone I know.

My phone rang again, “Please, please come and get me, Mom.”

I didn't think twice. He called me Mom. This was serious. I grabbed my purse, jumped in my car and headed north to Chicago. The sun was barely setting as I drove past cornfield after cornfield until I reached I-80. By the time I was rounding my way onto Lake Shore Drive, the city was lit with a million flickering lights. I pulled up in front of my son’s apartment and there he stood, my 6 foot tall, slender and strong boy child, his backpack slung over his shoulder, waiting for his Mommy with a smile on his face.

I got out of my car, threw my arms around him giving him a huge hug. He seemed fine. He seemed really fine. He was smiling and joking and happy. He didn't seem to be in any pain. Why was I here, exactly? I didn't question him. We headed back to Peoria down interstate 55, him sleeping most of the way. The closer I got to home the more I thought... a twenty-four year old man doesn't call his mommy at 7:30 on a Friday night to come and get him unless something is seriously wrong. I drove straight to the emergency room. It was 1:30 AM.

To be continued...


  1. LOIS!

    How could you leave us hanging!

  2. Oh, It's not over! Putting this in writing is like therapy!!

  3. Well okay. Pace yourself, I'll be patient.

  4. Oh my goodness, what a horrible feeling! And ACK for the commercial break!

  5. that sensation of potentially losing one of our precious children... I am standing by for the "rest of the story"

  6. Maybe therapy for you, but torture for us! At least we know, from the beginning of your post, that you ALMOST lost him, which means you DIDN'T (thank God!). I guess that will have to do for now.

  7. I'm resting on the thought that he must be fine now. But you have my curiosity piqued.


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