I had just fallen asleep a few hours before when I heard my aunt yelling my name. I instantly heard the panic in her voice. I ran to to living room where she was bent over trying to get all the oxygen she could from her machine. Through the gasps of air she said, “Call 911.” I ran to grab my phone, and ran back to the kitchen where I could hear her, but not see her. My hands were shaking so badly that I couldn’t even dial 911 correctly the first time. I took a pause before I dialed again. The typical “what’s wrong” and “where are you” questions were asked, and then the “we’re sending help.” I hung up knowing the ambulance would be coming from the nearest hospital, which was one of the worst hospitals. From the start I had to have faith in God.
I opened the front door making it as easy as possible for the EMTs to enter the apartment when they got there. I watched outside for the ambulance, which felt like hours had passed. The entire time my aunt was repeating “I’m going to die.” At one point she asked me to breath into her mouth, which later I learned that she thought she was dead at this point. So, the lack of oxygen definitely made her discombobulated.
I was relieved when I saw those flashing lights. Well as relieved as I could be while the most important person in my life was dying. The EMTs did all of their routine stuff, and then carried her out and put her onto the gurney. As they got my aunt onto the gurney and into the ambulance, they intubated her. When the tube slides down the throat, it can hit a nerve. The heart is known to stop when that nerve is hit, especially with older people. Her heart stopped for many minutes. During this time I watched through the glass front door. I had a hunch that sometime like that was happening since the ambulance didn’t drive away. Then as the EMTs were trying to start her heart up again, a fire truck pulled up behind the ambulance. Shortly after that, one of the firefighters got into the ambulance and drove away.
By the time they drove away it was close to four AM. I tried to call my aunt’s daughter (my cousin), but she didn’t answer. I wasn’t going back to sleep, so I did English homework instead. I then got ready for the day, still debating whether or not I was going to go to class. Then around 8:30 that morning my cousin called me back saying that my aunt was currently sedated, so it was not necessary to go up to see my aunt right away. Later that morning she asked if I wanted to come to hospital with her. I had decided that I wasn’t going to be able to focus in my class anyway, so I went to the hospital.
My cousin and I walked out of the elevator and on our left were two doors to the ICU. We went to find my aunt’s room and doctor to see what was going on. We got to the room where my aunt was sedated and hooked to machines that were keeping her alive, as she couldn’t breath on her own. Thankfully it wasn’t the first time I had seen her with machines hooked up to her, so they didn’t scare me. The entire time I tried to stay calm and not jump to conclusions, because that was the only way I was going to make it through. The nurse attempted to explain her condition, and what the next moves were probably going to be. There wasn’t much that was going to happen that day, as everyone agreed that her body needed the rest. The hospital was going to check on her and keep us updated.
I got back to the apartment that I shared with my aunt, and just tried not to cry. It looked like my aunt was going to be fine, and I didn’t want to stress about an issue that wasn’t there. I do believe I cried at least once that day though. Most of that day is a blur, and I don’t remember what I did after I got home from the hospital. I just know I did everything possible to keep me busy. I wanted to forget about the empty space that my aunt had filled just hours earlier.
Today marks a year since that day.