May 13, 2020
The years 1992 and 1993 were hard years for the family, but we pulled through. Dad was 56, mom was 49, I was 15, and my sister was 13.
I need to back track a little here…
When me and my sister we both in school, my mom got a job working part time at different stores. Her first job (that I remember) was at Bon-Ton, as a cashier. She eventually quit that job and got a job at Pace as a secret shopper. Pace is/was something like Sam’s Club is now, in fact, Sam’s Club took its place.
After some time, she started getting extremely tired which didn’t make any sense to her, as she’d been working part time for a number of years at this point. She eventually ended up in the hospital with internal bleeding. They couldn’t figure out where the bleeding was coming from, nor could they get it stopped. Even though they couldn’t get the bleeding stopped, they did an emergency hysterectomy. They still couldn’t figure out what was going on, her platelet count was way too low, even with the operation.
Dad ended up taking her to NIH (National Institutes of Health, you’ve probably heard about them recently). He drove her there himself, as he didn’t trust the healthcare system so much. On his birthday, June 7, the doctors at NIH told him that she had 24 hours to live. Later that day, or that night, mom coughed up a blood clot. That blood clot is what was pulling her down.
Since my sister and I were both in school, it was hard for dad – but we all pulled together and pulled through, as a family. He was working, going back and forth to NIH every day – could be a two+ hour drive one way, depending on traffic, and still taking care of “his girls” at home. He had to stop teaching Sunday School at church, and “retire” as a deacon. But, the saying goes – once a deacon, always a deacon.
Sometimes I wander how he did it. The love for my mom, and both of us, and God pulled everyone through. The church family also helped a lot. I don’t remember having to learn to cook – but my sister may have, as she liked doing that kind of thing, but doing laundry and household chores was another thing. I think sometimes, someone from church would come by and do laundry for us. I never let anyone do our whites though…
Both me and my sister had to grow up quickly.
I learned to drive going back and forth to NIH, on I 270. My dad taught me to drive, and took me to get my drivers license. He even taught me to drive in the snow…doing doughnuts, fishtailing, learning how to pull out of those situations. With me having my drivers license (I got my license in 1993) lessened the burden on my dad. I could drive my sister to school and to any after school activities we were involved in.
At NIH, I believe on the 14th level, they had a recreation center that family members could use. I remember listening to “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs for the first time there. They had a juke box in the puzzle room, it didn’t require any money but credits or something of that nature. Nothing there cost us any money. We even got excused from school, no matter the reason. We could take the day, visit with mom for a little bit then go to the hotel (when my moms family was in town) and go swimming. Somehow, we managed to keep our grades up…I was in 9th grade when I got my license.
Mom was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia (a autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the platelets, causing low platelet counts, a very serious disease)and would live for another 14 years, seeing her first and only grandson born in 1998 (she helped deliver him).
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