By: Mia L. Hazlett
So about a month ago I thought I was having a heart attack. Seriously. My chest had a horrible squeezing pain and my breathing became strained. Most people would rush to 911 and get themselves to the nearest ER. As a single mother, that was not an option. I could still walk and talk, so I contemplated if I should go or wait until I got to work, I mean I do work for the emergency departments of one of Boston’s finest hospitals.
The pain worsened, so over the next hour I planned my trip to the hospital. I first called my daughters’ father. I always have and always will call him first to take care of his children if I cannot. He was at work and had to find coverage. I didn’t have that kind of time.
I called my cousins and didn’t get an answer. Then I called my brother. I held on to strength and tried not to cry as I told him I needed to go to the hospital. I went into the bedroom and told my girls to pack up their clothes and that their uncle was coming to get them. I then experienced a bittersweet moment. My oldest ordered her sister to pack her clothes, toothbrush, and to be sure she had her school stuff for the next day. I was proud I raised her to be so responsible, but saddened at the same time that she was the backup me. It’s not a child’s job to take care of her parent.
My cousin drove me to the hospital and they ran all the necessary tests. I was in the hospital bed feeling guilty because my cousin needed to be home with her family. She called my mother and my parents came and stayed with me until I was finally released. No heart attack. I was fine. My parents dropped me off at midnight while my kids stayed at my brother’s house. I took the next day off from my paying job and picked my kids up early in the morning and got them off to school. Yup, five hours before I had been hooked up to heart monitoring machines, and now I was right back to my non-paying job.
Three days later it happened again while I was at work. At least I was with my doctors and residents. I received A+ treatment, but then the problem. I was on a schedule. I had kids to get home to, but they were keeping me overnight. It was Friday. I was going to refuse treatment, but then I thought about it. My oldest was away with my father and brother in Maine and my youngest was with my mother. I stayed because it was convenient. I still had to call my ex to move my car from parking garage to parking garage, but ultimately I managed to take care of my outside life while in the confines of the ER.
With my health in check, I was released. My mother continually checked in on me as well as my cousins. I had told my mother not to tell my daughters, because I was not going to worry them twice in one week. I walked out of the hospital and towards the garage to get into my car. For some stupid reason, before I got into my car, I went into work and finished up some emails. As I drove home I finally called my oldest and told her I had been in the hospital.
Before I arrived home, I realized it was Saturday. Grocery day. I went to the grocery store and shopped. As I was putting the groceries away, I realized I had built my Village to help raise and take care of my kids. I had seen two hospitals that week because I don’t get a sick day to take care of myself. There was no time for sick.