It started off as a regular day. Logged onto my computer. Lots of things scheduled for the day from business meetings to stopping at the grocery store. My mind was already racing to organize it all.
Then the phone call came. It was my 28-year-old daughter, living in California. “Don’t freak out Mom, but I had a small stroke.”
What? How could this be? She is young. Young people don’t have strokes.
She was driving. Stressed out from challenges at work. Five minutes more she would have been on a 6 lane expressway doing 70. But she didn’t feel right, and pulled over. Her vision was distorted. People were looking at her strange in the other cars. She pulled into a parking lot, luckily close by. Her first thought was to get some air. Stopped the car, couldn’t move her left side as she tried to get out of the car, and fell to the ground. Should she call 911? People her age don’t have strokes, she thought. So she sat on the ground for awhile, about to call 911 when she started to feel better, waiting a bit and drove herself home.
A friend then drove her to the ER. They gave her an EKG, and told her she was too young to have a stroke. Probaby just fainted, they said, and sent her home. Hmmmm … and we pay for this??? But don’t get me started, or I’ll rant.
Home now. She still wasn’t feeling right. Conflicting feelings on what to do. The ER said she was okay, right? “Hon, you need to go to another ER. Forget about work and take care of yourself first.” Mom’s advice from 3,000 miles away. Very hard.
Second ER the next day did a CT scan and MRI, and she was then admitted into the hospital. Doctors don’t know what happened, even after all those tests. Spinal tap wasn’t fun, but they ruled out serious stuff. They can tell us what she DOESN’T have, but not what happened.
When something like this happens, you drop what is going on in your life, and hop on a plane. Your projects, appointments and daily life fades. Your mind races and as a parent, no matter how old your child, you want to be there. Your child, no matter how old, is comforted when Mom is there.
The plane ride from NY to CA was the longest in my life. Usually I sit back, take off my sneaks, and watch TV on JetBlue, my favorite airline. But not this time. All the “What if’s” went through my mind, and I had to struggle to stay composed and seated for 8 hours.
What if she had gotten on the expressway?
What if she got out of the car and passed out?
What could have caused this in someone so young?
I am one of the lucky ones. My daughter is okay. Making some changes in her life, which is a good thing.
And for me? I get to say the things I want to say another day. There is still time for me. Many people don’t get that second chance. Whether it’s a family member you need to say something to, a friend you haven’t seen in awhile and miss, that client who referred someone to you that you have been meaning to say thanks to or that sympathy card you need to send but haven’t quite found the time to stop and buy.
I say it in every newsletter, and with more conviction than ever, I must tell you again –
Today’s the day. Now’s the time. Make that call. Stop by and see that person. Call just to say “Hi”. Drop them a note. Send them a card. Get together for coffee.
Because … some of us never get a second chance.