Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A.

The Thing That Matters Most

Recently, my 83 year-old mother went in the hospital for a heart ablation and pacemaker. It was supposed to be a routine surgery where she would just be spending one night in the hospital. I arranged my work schedule to be off the day of the surgery to wait with my 86 year-old father in the hospital. It was a long procedure but we were told she was fine. I had planned to spend the night with her in the hospital, and although I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep, it was only one night. Dad returned in the morning, and I left to drive to a hearing out of town.

By the time I returned back to town that day, Mom had already been discharged from the hospital. Unfortunately, she wasn’t ready to go home. I received a few panicked phone calls from Dad about how Mom didn’t feel well and couldn’t catch her breath. My husband and I went over to visit and bring dinner. As my husband ran into the store for something, I decided to call my cousin, a doctor in Tampa. She’s a psychiatrist and not a heart doctor, but she went through heart problems with her mom (my aunt) for a while until she died two years ago. She said, “Anne-Marie, she could be in heart failure. Take her to the Emergency Room.” When I got to Mom and Dad’s house a few minutes later, I took one look at my parents and could see that we needed to go back to the hospital. When I suggested it, they didn’t disagree as I was afraid they would.

We went to the E.R., waited hours, and found out it was a good thing we came back as tests showed she was in heart failure. She was suffering from CHF, which is fluid in the lungs because the heart wasn’t pumping enough.

Before, during, and after Mom’s heart procedure, my sisters and family constantly checked up and offered to come help. We kept saying, no we’re OK, you don’t need to come. Well, by the third night, I was completely out of energy. I’m just not as young as I once was and I couldn’t survive for long on only a few hours of sleep over three days. I asked my husband to stay the next night with Mom in the hospital and he readily agreed. The fourth day, my sister and brother-in-law from Atlanta came and helped. We thought she would be out of the hospital and it would be good for them to provide support once Mom got home.

What a relief when they arrived. Just to have someone else to share the burden felt like a ton of bricks was lifted off my shoulders. We have a lot of family who stayed in touch by phone or text. My phone kept beeping every few minutes as I was trying to work because I have a lot of clients who depend on me. I had scheduled off what should have been enough time but wasn’t.

When all is said and done, it’s family that matters most. Not things, but people. When the chips are down and you don’t know what else to do, don’t wait as long as I did to call for help. Call in the reinforcements, call in the cavalry. And if you don’t have a bankruptcy lawyer in the family, find a good one that can help you with your financial problems. You’ll be relieved you did.

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