Growing Pains: Part Four

Just as we were getting used to the halls of UCSF, it was time to move on. My mom was getting better. We found ourselves at California Pacific Medical Center’s St. Luke’s Campus, where she began physical, speech, and occupational therapies to get her back as close as possible to her pre-aneurysm state. She was pretty delusional for a couple weeks and thought we were in Hawaii, believed she was pregnant with twins, and insisted that she had a black and yellow Hummer with the license plate

“BMBLTHS” or simply, bumb-le this. A visitor brought her a stuffed dog which she named Cookie and claimed was real.

My family and I spent our days and nights in her room, sometimes with plenty of visitors. We probably retold the story about what had happened to her a thousand times. Soon enough, she was able to talk up a storm and walk with the help of a cane, but mostly used a wheelchair. Surprisingly, her memory was better than ever, she was able to remember every single detail of her life.

Our birthdays were coming up. On December 1st, I was turning the big 21, and on December 7th, she was turning 41 years young. Having already planned our birthdays months in advance, I never imagined spending them in a hospital. It didn’t matter where, but I definitely wanted to party with my crazy best friend. Instead, we spent our birthdays in her not-so-spacious room, where many of her closest friends shared her special day with her.

My mom was released from the hospital just two days before Christmas. My family and I were grateful to have her back home. She survived one hell of an ordeal, while we survived on fast food and cushion-deprived chairs every day for about three months. We were very delighted to be home and hoped it
was going to be a long time until the terrifying sight of my mom lying again in a hospital bed. This was just the beginning of the story of our lives.


Today, my mom remains disabled and is still in recovery. She recently had surgery and was hospitalized due to an infection. I shared this story to inspire and provide comfort to those who struggle with life’s unexpected challenges. It has officially been three years since this horrific event occurred. I can honestly say it has shaped the person I am now. As much as I would like to reveal all of the aftershocks, I am afraid this is where the story must end – this column is limited to four issues.

The Guardsman