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The Day Mom Nearly Died This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Jim Thorpe, PA
It was early Saturday morning. I was awakened from my slumber by my brother making irritating noises. I sauntered into the dark kitchen and turned on the light. Still half asleep, I poured myself some cereal. I gazed into the bowl for what seemed like forever. I probably could have fallen asleep if not for my brother.

“Beth, you need to look at Mom now!”

“I don't want to get up. Look at her yourself.”

“No, seriously, get up,” Rob said.

I walked like a zombie into the living room where my mom was sleeping.

“You seriously got me up to watch Mom sleep?” I complained.

That's when I heard it. She was snoring, but it wasn't normal snoring. It was a kind of snoring that made me feel uneasy. I'm not a doctor, so I didn't know what to think. I stood over her for a few minutes just listening. I wasn't too scared at this point because she always snored.

Then, all of a sudden, it wasn't just snoring. With every exhale, my mom's body was jolting around. She was having a seizure.

“Call 911!” Rob yelled.

I didn't call. I sat on the floor next to her and watched it happen. I didn't want to believe this was happening, so I told myself my mom was just sleeping. All of my siblings, except Rob, were still asleep, and my dad had already left for work. I was in this all by myself.

I looked at my mom again. Her lips had changed color from their normally pink to bluish purple, making them look bruised. That was when I knew I had to act. With my hands shaking, I dialed 911.

“Has your mom had a past with drug abuse?” the dispatcher asked.

With a lump in my throat, I replied, “Yes, she has.”

“Do you know CPR?”

We were taught it every year in health class, but I never thought I would have to use it, so I'd never paid attention. “No, I don't,” I said with regret.

Finally I put it all together. My mom had overdosed on drugs again, making this the third time. She was addicted to narcotics, and had been for much longer than I realized. For the last six years she had been spending every paycheck on pills.

The ambulance arrived surprisingly fast, along with my mom's friend, a former EMT. At that point all of my siblings woke up. My younger sister was only four, and my brother was five. As much as I wanted to see what the paramedics would do, I stayed with my siblings in the bedroom.

I heard the paramedics talking, and peeked into the living room. When they got out the electrical paddles to restart my mom's heart, I had to look away. Afterwards, the EMTs talked to me for a while, but they didn't say whether my mom would be okay. I watched as she was taken out on a stretcher. Then they slammed the ambulance doors and drove off. They didn't have their lights on, and they weren't driving fast, which gave me hope that it wasn't too serious.

I just wanted to shut down. I didn't cry, though – I couldn't. I had to put on a brave face for my younger siblings. They didn't know what was going on, and they shouldn't have had to. In a way, I kind of wanted to hate my mom. She put us through so much, and it wasn't fair. But addiction is a disease, so I knew I couldn't be mad at her.

I sat in the living room for hours, it seemed. The phone rang, and the caller ID said it was the hospital. I answered, terrified of what I was going to be told.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Beth, you need to get me some clothes and put them in a bag. Kathy will be at the house in five minutes,” a familiar voice said.

It was my mom. The paramedics had had to cut off her clothes, and now she was asking me to pack her a bag. I sighed with relief, then suddenly felt mad. My mom was coming home soon. You would think I would be excited to see her, but I wasn't. She needed help. Now I knew she couldn't kick her addiction on her own.

I live every day terrified that my mom will overdose again. I wish she could magically wake up and be better, healthier.

Every year in elementary school, DARE officers came and talked to us about drug abuse. At that age, we were too young to realize how dangerous these substances really are. Then, in high school, we started having guest speakers tell us their own drug abuse stories. They told us what they've been through and that we shouldn't ruin our lives the way they have.

The truth is, you have to learn this lesson on your own. Nobody can make you understand what they've been through. They can't beam their horrible memories into you.

Seeing my mom almost die on my living room floor is the reason I will never touch drugs.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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MCMproductions said...
Jun. 7 at 10:40 pm:
I watched my mom die infront of my own eyes because of cancer, and the way you wrote this reminds me of how I felt about all those sorry's that I got walking down the school hallways. They have no clue, they say it because it is the right thing to say, but they have no clue how it feels to almost lose someone and to be hurt over and over again. A great job, be proud of this. 
 
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