Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mexico: A Trip Full of Ups and Downs

I had to laugh when I saw my last post. I was reminded by how stressed out I was the week before we left for vacation. I was really hoping vacation was going to change that. 
We left on Sunday the 12th very early in the morning. The first flight was great. Our second flight was 4 hours long and on a very large jet. Since the time lined up well with nap time the girls took a nice long nap (with the assistance of a little Benadryl...guilty mommy confession). Upon descent, Lucy's ears started to bother her and she began to cry. We tried the paci, a lollipop, a drink, and she refused everything. The cry escalated to a full scream as we descended through horrible turbulence. I reached a point where I knew if I kept the screaming baby on my lap I would puke. I was sweating and feeling super nauseous. I knew W was also feeling nauseous, but out of necessity I passed her off. Shortly after W was searching madly for a bag to be sick in. Poor guy. I made that point that at least no one around us knew he was sick. Had it been me, the whole plane probably would have known. 

During the plane ride W was sitting next to my mom. He said she was acting a little strange and almost acting paranoid. There was a lot of turbulence and it was a rough flight. I think the main reason it didn't bother me that much is because I was distracted by the crying/screaming baby on my lap. 

Lucy continued to cry as we waited to go through customs. Eventually W got her calmed down and we got on our shuttle to the resort. 

The resort was beautiful and we spent some time just hanging out Sunday afternoon. We went for dinner, but no one was hungry so we went back to our rooms to put the girls down. 

My mom's room was right next to ours so we went to hang out in her room once the girls were down. 

It became apparent then that she was acting unusual. She was very scattered and confused. We ordered room service and she said her stomach hurt and that she didn't feel well. She then started vomiting as we took our dinner out onto the balcony to eat. Good times! 

My mom isn't one to get sick. For probably the next 45 minutes she spent getting sick. As time progressed, she started to make less sense. She was slurring her speech, and talking about things completely unrelated and not making sense at times. W stepped out into the hallway and I stayed in the room with her. I knew I couldn't leave her in that state. My gut said something was wrong. If nothing else W and I made the plan for me to stay in her room with her that night. 

The whole time she'd been sitting on the bathroom floor with the door open and I was standing in the next room over. All of a sudden, she shrieked, threw her arms up in the air, and fell back on the floor, hitting her head on the marble floor. Then she started to have a seizure. I poked my head out into the hallway, screamed for W, and he came running in. He immediately went to her side and told me to call for help. I picked up the phone and called the emergency extension. As I was doing this I heard W saying, "Breathe Anne, I need you to breathe." Those were some of the scariest words I've ever heard! I decided then to run down to the lobby for help since we were close and I wasn't really getting anywhere on the phone.

I found help in the lobby and they followed me back up to the room. At that point the seizure had stopped and my mom was doing this crazy snoring thing. She was in and out of consciousness. 

I can't say how long it took, but we called for a dr to come to the room. It was almost humorous how they kept informing us that the dr wasn't included in our "all inclusive" trip. We didn't care, we knew she needed to be seen by a dr. They actually wouldn't call the paramedics until a dr saw her. 

The dr that came to the room was amazing. He spoke excellent English and was calm and helpful. He determined that she needed to go to the hospital based on her behavior and the paramedics were called. 

The whole time W was by her side. He was talking to her, trying to keep her awake and calm. I would periodically talk to her to help keep her awake. I could tell she recognized me but everyone else in the room was a stranger to her (there were at least 5 other people). 

When the paramedics arrived they decided to put an IV in. That process was difficult and eventually led to her just pulling it out anyway. They got her on the stretcher and W decided to go with her to the hospital while I stayed at the resort with the girls. I was so grateful for him in those moments. He stayed so calm and was so helpful. 

I was able to get ahold of my FiL but not my step-dad. At $4.00 a minute from the room phone, I asked my FiL to keep calling my step-dad until he reached him. I spoke with Scott (my step-dad) shortly after and he asked if he needed to come. I told him yes, he needed to come. Unfortunately my brother's passport wasn't valid so he had to make arrangements for him as well. 

W called me from the hospital a few hours later. He told me my mom had had another seizure in the ambulance and one when she arrived at the hospital. He said the care was excellent at the hospital and there were very quick to get her sedated (to prevent more seizures) and on all sorts of tubes and wires. She was in the ICU. At that point they told him she would likely be sedated all of the following day. They shared with him the ICU visiting hours which was for 15 minutes 4 times a day. He then took a taxi back to the hotel. 

When he arrived back at the hotel I was trying to sleep but woke up quickly. He said his taxi driver got pulled over by the police and that took an extra 20 minutes to get home. When the taxi pulled over a van also did and he joked he thought he was going to get kidnapped. 

My step-dad got on the first plane possible and was in Cancun by 3 pm the following day. He rented a car and went straight to the hospital. Since my mom's room was there and paid for he planned to stay there and visit her as much as possible. 

The first day there were a few different theories from the drs about what happened. My mom suffers from bi-polar disorder and is on a lot of medications. When the dr and paramedics arrived to the room I started to pull her meds out and put them on the counter. Their eyes opened wider and wider as I pulled out more and more medications. I don't know exactly what she takes and how much, but I know she has a dr that prescribes way too many medications. Many are controlled substances and dangerous (I guess we all didn't realize how dangerous). The first theory was that it was a lithium overdose. 

I was able to see my mom on Tuesday morning. She seemed to be doing okay but was confused and very slow to process. At that point she was still in the ICU and on some form of sedation. It was interesting to me that the day she went to the hospital she had proudly stated how she'd never been in a hospital. She also commented multiple times about how the resort was very americanized. I guess she got to experience true Mexico and the hospital all in one shot. 

They ran all sorts of tests and scans. The CT scan was clear but the EEG showed inflammation of her brain. 

When my step-dad arrived my anxiety eased some. I knew that he was there to be with her and that she'd also be okay. It was then that W and I decided we needed to try to make the best of our trip.

Despite everything going on with my mom, we tried to stay positive and upbeat for the girls. They had no idea what happened and honestly didn't seem to notice my mom wasn't there. We played in the sand on the beach, swam in the pool, ate lots of great food, and went for walks around and outside of the resort in the stroller. 

Tuesday was a little rough because the stress had mounted and the girls were definitely feeding off of our feelings. Once we recognized it we tried our best to stay super positive. Through tears I told W I still felt like I needed a little break. He let me have time to myself as the girls napped. 

My mom was discharged on Wednesday afternoon. She and my step-dad came back to the resort. On Thursday my mom tried to make the best of her one and only day in the sunshine. We sunned ourselves as the girls napped with W. 

W and I were able to make reservations and go to dinner on Wednesday night at one of the restaurants. It was nice to sit down by ourselves for a meal, but tough to relax knowing my mom who was just released from the hospital was supposed to be in charge on the girls. 

In the end, the drs figured out that Ambien caused her seizure. I guess in the days leading up to our trip she was having difficulty sleeping (she also takes speed for her bi-polar so needs to Ambien to counteract it). In her attempts to get sleep before the trip she took 3 Ambien one night over the course of a few hours and 2 another night. This lead to 5 pills in a 24 hour time period. This was enough that the next night she exhibited withdrawal symptoms: stomach pain, vomiting, confusion, and seizures. I don't think any of us had any idea how dangerous this drug was. 

We tried to have the best trip we could despite the circumstances. The girls loved swimming in the pool, exploring the resort on foot, eating gelato and "treats", playing with their sand toys, and drinking mama's non-alcoholic pina coladas. 

So, it didn't go exactly as we planned, but we were so grateful my mom was okay and that we all came home in one piece. We all flew home together on Friday. There were moments when we were all sitting down for a meal as a family where it was really nice. I could forgot that my mom could have died and my step-dad was there only out of necessity. Instead it felt like a nice family vacation. It was nice that the girls spent more time with my step-dad than they ever had. 

Clara was our little ambassador that would wave and say hi to everyone. The girls were known on the resort by name by much of the staff. They were "the twins with the two different colored eyes". It seems they gain instant celebrity status wherever they go!

W enjoying the sunrise with the girls on our balcony on Monday morning. He had a rough day/night before!

Breakfast with my favorite people. Trying to make the best of things the morning after the craziness. 
Clara exploring after breakfast. 
Sister love
An early morning swim in the pool. 
Playing in the sand with Daddy. 

Big girl!
Daddy carrying the girls back to our room. 
Clara refusing to leave Daddy's side. 

Mama and her girls hanging in the pool. 

Headed to the trampoline with Daddy. 

Lucy checking out her shadow. 
Beautiful beach
Out for a walk.  

Such cuties! 
Love these two!

We used our sun tent...once.

Their new favorite, ring around the rosie. . I love how they hold each others hands. 

The building we stayed in. Every room had a balcony with ocean views. No complaints there.  
Taking a little nap pool-side.  
Vacation is exhausting!
Big girls helping to push their stroller. 

View from the resort looking down the beach. So beautiful!


  1. Holy crap! First of all I'm so happy your mom is okay. I've heard so many horror stories about Ambein. I can't imagine the stress you guys had during all of this, but it looks like the girls had a really nice time.

  2. Whoa. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom but I'm so glad that she is okay! It looks like you guys had a good vacation despite the hospital scare.

  3. Oh my goodness-- what a trip! I'm so glad everything turned out ok, and that you were able to enjoy at least bits of your vacation.

  4. How scary that must have been! I'm so glad your mom is okay. I'm also glad you were still able to enjoy the beach, pool, and sun at least a little bit. That sister love picture is the best! Lucy and Clara are adorable.

  5. Wow!!! That is quite the trip! You are so brave to take them on such a big trip at such a young age. I'm sorry it didn't go as planned. I'm glad your mom is okay. I'm glad you got to have some fun while there!b

  6. That is petrifying! I'm glad things are better with your mom and hope she's able to continue to sort out her meds. A memorable trip for sure! Those pictures are too too cute!

  7. Your girls are so pretty! I am glad you at least got some fun and sun out of the trip! The situation with your mom had me so worried for her. I take Ambien as needed (probably one night every couple of weeks) and I know how strong they are. I can't imagine taking 5 in 24 hours! Thank god they figured it out and she can either ditch it or keep under a strict one pill a day thing. What a crazy few days!

  8. You'd never know that vacation was so crazy from the beautiful pictures! Makes my heart happy :) Aaannd I think we all need to take a vacay in (insert warm weather locale here) together!

  9. Holy hell Mama! That was not at all where I thought this story was going when you said ups and down. What a scary experience, but I'm glad all turned out well! Maybe time to nudge your Mom to a new provider who isn't so med happy? I work at a med center, and it's startling how different doctor's approaches can be to thing. Scary, really.

  10. Thank God you are fine! With all what has happened, I can imagine how difficult iit was for you. I hope you still managed to have some rest, though.

  11. Wow. So scary but so glad your mom is ok. It's especially hard to be out of the country and have something like that happen. Looks like you managed to have a little bit of a vacation despite all the craziness. The girls are adorable. They have such gorgeous eyes!