20 missed calls

When I went to bed last night I made a decision not to set my alarm. I haven’t been sleeping well and thought it would be good for me to sleep until I woke up.

I use my cellphone as an alarm so when I made the decision not to set the alarm I didn’t notice that after class last night I never took the phone off silent. Imagine my surprise when I rolled over this morning to check what time it was (8:52 a.m.) to see that I had 20 missed calls and three voicemails.

It was my dad, Mom was in the hospital. They think it was a heart attack.

Never before have I wanted to kill the voicemail lady. I swear I wasted 20 minutes waiting for her to tell me to press 7 to delete this message, blah to something else and blah to do yet another thing, none of which was to listen to the next message.

All the messages were from my dad, giving me updates on Mom’s condition and urging me to call as soon as I got the message. The other bajillion calls were from my sisters. I also got one text message and two e-mails. They weren’t messing around.

Boy were they pissed when I arrived at the hospital some five hours after the drama. Even free coffee from Caribou would not appease them. I sat in the waiting room with them and they didn’t want any of my nonsense. In fact they just wanted me to shut the fuck up. There were many jokes about how perky and chatty they’d be if they had slept until nine.


Turns out that Mom didn’t have a heart attack. They’re not sure what happened but suspect it was something called Pancreatitis (?) which made a lot of sense when it was explained to me. But to be safe they’re running her through all the heart tests — EKG, Stress Test, etc.

Chances are she’ll get out this afternoon. When we left her, she was going to get some sleep and wait for the okay to get the hell out of there.

I feel bad. I feel bad about a lot of things, not the least of which was not being there for my family. My abscence today seems to be indicative of a bigger problem.

As I’ve hinted here things are not going well in my family. It was clear today when I arrived at the hospital that I was the outsider in the sister club. My troubled sister doesn’t feel like she can turn to me because I am not supportive. I feign indifference so they don’t think that I care.

It breaks my heart. I don’t feel like I am a cold person, but how can you deny it when the people who have known you the longest think that you are?

What a shitty, shitty day.

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  1. Mafia Mom 15.Feb.08 at 2:15 pm

    Take care Jodi. It isn’t crazy that there we were last night talking about being the sister who is the last to know. You are there now, and even last night you were there with them, thinking about them, talking about them. We can never be truly far from our families, they are woven into our soul, into our DNA.


  2. Peabo 15.Feb.08 at 3:55 pm

    Friend, I’m so sorry that you had that scare with your mom–thank God she’s okay and it was not her heart. The only thing you’re guilty of is forgetting to turn your ringer on. In a high emotional state–everyone was scared and in shock–it’s easy to pin it on someone and make jokes and cutting remarks about your absence. It’s much harder to breathe through the fact that for at least a moment today (if not longer) you and your sisters thought you might lose your mom.
    Bottom line, you are one of the most loving people I know, and there’s no question that there is nothing you wouldn’t do for your family and friends. Period. You are not cold. You are extremely protective of people you love–and that includes yourself.
    And lest anyone forget, you’re losing your job. Maybe they could all simmer down a bit and recognize the fact that you’re going through a major life transition. Major. And though you’re tough on the outside, common sense dictates that your lack of sleep and your desire to keep things “smooth and cool” is because you’re walking into total chaos pretty soon. Maybe the family members that are giving you hell need to remember that you’re not sleeping until 9 because you’re lazy and independently wealthy–you did it because you’re exhausted. And instead of calling you “unsupportive” maybe they could wrap around you for a minute instead and see what they can do to help you rather than making you feel bad for protecting the most important person in your life–yourself.

  3. Lerren 15.Feb.08 at 6:40 pm

    I second peabo’s comments.

    When my mom had one of her heart failures, my father refused to drive her to the hospital. When my grandmother had heart failure, one of her daughters went off to a broadway show instead of turning up at hospital (This being the minister daughter… *sigh*.) Having your phone off and showing up breathless as soon as possible doesn’t even RATE on that scale.

    The truth of the matter is that this kind of family emergency takes every bit of drama from the last ten years, throws it in a blender, and splatters everyone. Your sisters likely felt the need to lash out, and this is how they chose, consciously or subconsciously, to do it. They’re close – they know the chinks in your armour. They also may have been very worried about *you*, not answering your phone and generally un-locatable, and when you turned up fine and well rested, they were angry that they weren’t. Humans aren’t logical. Honestly, would it have been better if you’d gotten in an accident due to sleep deprivation on the way over?

    From what little you’ve written here, it seems like you’re the family rock – the one that everyone else uses for their own stability. And it’s also fairly easy to see that it, along with everything else, is running you ragged.

    Take care of yourself. And don’t feel guilty for doing it, either.

  4. shokkou 15.Feb.08 at 8:09 pm

    Grrl. Doggamn your family for putting so much of their bullshit on you. I am SO glad you got some sleep. I worry about you and your lack of sleep. Just do what you can and trust the Universal Mind to take care of the rest. All’s well that ends well. *hugs*

  5. Jodi 15.Feb.08 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you all so much, darling ones. Knowing that you have my back (even virtually) makes me feel a lot better.

    I had a long talk with Sister #3. The situation is much graver than I thought. I won’t go into details, because it’s not my story to tell. It’s a case of you don’t know what you don’t know, but now that I know. . . well it looks like I’ll soon have four roommates.

    It will be better for everyone involved if they stay here until she can get on her feet. While the timing is not the greatest. It’s like Peabo said, where you put your shit aside and wrap yourself around the person in need. She needs more than I do right now.

  6. jags 16.Feb.08 at 7:30 am

    I’m so glad your mom is okay. As for the rest–god, it’s so much easier to be express anger than fear, hurt and sadness. Your mom’s illness is an uncontrollable event but lashing out and guilting you is an action they could take. But wrong wrong wrong. I’m sorry and am sending you a big Hey you are an awesome person hug.

  7. Tam 20.Feb.08 at 9:57 pm

    The Wonder Hubby’s mom has brain cancer. (So serious they airlifted her to Toledo from her cowpatch.) Nobody’s asking questions, none of them are talking to each other, WH’s sister’s husband is sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong and deciding who gets to know what and when… holy cow, it’s a freakin’ mess.

    Then, in my own tactless way, I said something along the lines of “Why don’t you three kids just put me in charge? I’m not emotionally vested in whether she lives or dies.” (OUCH! Thank heavens, Wonder Hubby is used to me saying stuff that wrong all the time. I’m not cold – I just have a habit of saying things as simply as possible without censoring or rephrasing so they’re “softer”.)

    Families are incredibly rough seas to navigate. Do the best you can and don’t let the bastards grind you down. If you need to talk, please don’t hesitate to email me.


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