“Hakuna Matata. It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy. Hakuna Matata.”
Okay, so there is a logical reason why I quoted a song from Disney’s “The Lion King,” and it doesn’t have to do with the fact that I’m a Disneyoholic.
I’ve always been the type to worry, even when what I worried about had long past, and it’s always been my goal to worry less about things. Unfortunately, it’s a goal I can never sustain.
So, these days I worry about several things, but none more important than my mother’s health.
Almost two years ago, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a disease that doesn’t allow her heart to pump an adequate amount of life-sustaining blood to her body, and for which there is no cure. In short, blood backs up into the veins leading to her heart and causes fluid to buildup in the lungs and other parts of the body.
Her diagnosis came as a surprise to everyone in my family, even to her doctors. At the time, she was 42 years old and in good health. She didn’t smoke, drink or even have a history of heart disease in her family.
She hesitated to tell my siblings and me because she feared we would blame ourselves, which we did. She was a single parent and we didn’t always make it easy for her, not that we were horribly bad kids.
She spent about a month in the hospital before she came home. After about two months off, she went back to work because she couldn’t afford to lose her health insurance.
Today, she is still working and I worry about her substantial weight loss within the last year, and the fact that she isn’t honest with my siblings and me about how she’s really doing. She’s constantly tired and in the back of my mind that two-year mark a doctor once told her lingers.
I am always thinking about what would happen to my siblings and me if she died because she is our life-support in many ways. At least my siblings would still have a living parent, even if he hasn’t been much of one to them. My father, whom I never met, died about two years ago and my relatives aren’t dependable. Besides my siblings, she is all I have.
I talk to my mom about three times a day and I really couldn’t imagine not being able to call her just to ask her something as simple as, “What are you doing?”
I remember when she first came home from the hospital; she was talking to us and said, “You know, you guys,” and blacked out. It scared the hell out of us because she was out for five minutes and when she regained consciousness she had no recollection of what happened.
Then there are the times when she goes out for extended periods of time, doesn’t call and I sit around wondering if she passed out somewhere or if her pacemaker/defibrillator went off while she was driving. There are other times when I hear my cell phone ring and I wonder if it’s a family member calling to tell me that my mother is in the hospital.
This constant fear of the inevitable is stressful and at times makes it hard for me to focus on school.
There is not a moment that goes by when she is not on my mind, and sometimes I wish I could have a “problem free” philosophy because it’d make my life a lot easier.
Rima Thompson, a senior journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.