Catching Up with MaiMai

A lot has happened within the past two months. My family has moved into a new house, I met a guy, work is still miserable, and I’m just trying to pick and put back the little pieces together. Life is a crisis!

Yes. After two years of searching for a new house, my mom and sister finally found one that is pretty big with four acres of land. Now, I know I mentioned about my father a lot, but as I have new readers coming by every day I just want to mention that when my dad got into his accident, we stopped looking for a house. The pause on house hunting was probably around seven months and we started house hunting again after new years.

The move went quite well, we’re still not done cleaning the old house as there is still the garage and the shed. However, we are, for the most part, done cleaning the old house. It has also been quite emotional as well since we have lived at our old house for twenty-five years. It will always be a place that I hold dear in my heart as it has lots of memories with my dad,  he spent his last few breaths and passed away there. It will always be a special place for my family and me.

Transitioning onto the next topic, amongst all the crazy things going on in my life. I decided to get back on my Tinder. Of course, I had to make a new account, but all that aside I did met a guy. He lives close by and he’s actually a really nice guy. We’ve been on three dates and surprisingly we have a few common friends. However, I also discovered that right now dating is not for me because my life is kind of unbalance. The guy did ask me to start officially dating him, but I did not want to put a label between our relationship. Mainly because I want more time to myself to heal, pick up my life where I left it, and spend time developing myself. I did meet up and talk to him today explaining to him my thoughts and he was very understanding. So I appreciate that and the time he spent with me. This doesn’t mean that we’re not talking or seeing each other, we’re just going to let time does its thing. If we end up being friends, then I will also be happy to gain another good friend.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot and I mean a lot. I’m thinking about going back to school in the spring to pick up where I left off. Meanwhile, I’m also looking into some educational programs to become certified in something, particularly the healthcare area. I have always thought about joining the Peace Corps, and finally, I’m going to put that into action. However, it’s going to be after I get my degree. I do constantly look at the programs that are being offered on Peace Corps because I just want to know what they’re currently offering. I think the Peace Corps will be a good opportunity for me to do some self-development. Additionally, years ago when I mentioned it to my dad, he liked the idea, so why not.

Those are pretty much the most major things that have been going on in my life. Right now, as I mentioned before, my life is pretty much unbalanced. At least, that is how I feel and I need more time to find and bring balance back to my life. My friends and I joked around saying I should do some research to find a temple and do a temple stay.  I know we were joking, but the idea isn’t too bad. Anyway, I hope you all have been doing well, enjoying life to the fullest, and continue to stay safe!

 

The Journey through My Father’s Traumatic Brain Injury: The Beginning Part 2

After identifying my dad and letting most of the people who came to see my dad, the neurologist wanted to speak to us. My brother, who had arrived while my mom and I went to see my dad, and I went in with my younger sister and mom following a few minutes later. As soon as we got in the neurologist asked us to speak to my dad to see if he will respond to our voices. I didn’t have the courage, so I told my brother to speak to my dad. My mom came in with my younger sister and she was crying saying that my dad can’t hear us. There was no response. The neurologist then told us he’s going to speak with his head department and will come back later.

We went back out to the waiting room where most everyone had left except for our uncle, aunt, and two cousins.  After a few hours, my uncle and aunt gave us some money for gas and food before they left because he had to leave for work the next morning. Moreover, his mother in law was with the rest of the younger kids at home. After they left, we waited some more until the nurse came to get us to talk to the neurologist. Once inside my dad’s room, the neurologist told my mom and I that due to two blood clots there is pressure being forced on my dad’s brain. One blood clot is growing bigger and that it can exert damage on the brain stem. There were two possible solutions, 1) perform a craniotomy and 2) leave it as is. I explained to my mom and after telling her that its best for us to continue with the craniotomy before the pressure can have any effects on the brain stem. Since it was me who spoke to the neurologist and understand what’s going on, I signed the consent form. Of course, my mom also agreed to the procedure.

It was getting late and after discussing we decided to for younger sister A to stay overnight with mom at the hospital. Since it was going to be my first day back at work the following day my mom didn’t want me to be absent. Additionally, hours earlier I have texted my supervisor of the event because I was going to have to go in two hours late since I was the only one available to take my sister to school at 11am.

For the next few days, we needed to figure out things. The two youngest siblings were still in school and would not be done until the end of May. Moreover, younger sister B work part time at Bojangles and does not yet have her drivers license. The good thing about her job is that younger sister A also works at the same Bojangles, so there were nights that they can come home together but cannot go in at the same time. Additionally, we were also deciding on which days who should stay overnight at the hospital with our dad. The first week my older sister did not go to work and stayed overnight at the hospital. My mom also did not go to work for three weeks.

We also received many phone calls from different people in the state and out of state. Very few of them I know quite well and some I don’t even know. There were so many phone calls asking the same questions. Can my dad speak? Does he recognize people? Can he open his eyes? What happened? Can he eat or drink? Where exactly on his brain is injured? All the while trying to remain my cool when answering I was so frustrated. We’re talking about my dad, who is now a patient with a traumatic brain injury and not yet awake, in a coma.  For the first time, I just wanted to unplug the phone. The phone and my dad’s cell phone rang 24/7. I was tired of hearing the same questions and giving the same answers. In fact, I’ve been giving the same answers all over that I no longer knew what I said to each person that called. I’ve become dumbfounded and gave up talking to people who called to ask about my dad’s condition.

For the first whole week, my older sister stayed at the hospital with my dad. I have already told my supervisor, who is probably the nicest boss ever work under, about my work hours and gave him my schedule. For the next two weeks I gave my boss the days I can work so that I can also stayed overnight at the hospital. The four of us, whom are all twenty years old and above and can drive, rotate staying overnight. My mom also stayed overnight. There were a few nights when both my mom and I stayed overnight. She would sleep in my dad’s room, while I camp out in the waiting room. Of course, there were also nights when she stayed overnight with another younger sibling. Thus, begins our long days and nights at the hospital.

The Journey through My Dad’s Traumatic Brain Injury: The Beginning

You’re probably thinking “MaiMai you’re still alive!” yes, I’m alive and barely doing well. A lot has happened in my life recently, as a matter of fact, there has been a dramatic change in my life. Before I was almost always complaining about my life that it was boring, and I needed more excitement. Right now, I cannot even complain about my life if I want to.

On Sunday morning May 13th, 2018 two days after I have come back home I received a phone call from a relative telling me that I needed to get hold of my mom and tell her to call my dad’s cell phone immediately. My mom and younger sister A had taken younger sister B to work and was going to stop by the Hmong store to get ingredients to make Pho. Well, younger sister A had changed her cell phone number without me, being the only one, not knowing. Frustrated, I decided to call my dad’s cell phone. An aunt picked up and I could hear all the noises in the background. She broke the message to me. A tree had fallen and hit my dad. Somehow, I was able to process all the information without going into shock. In fact, as soon as she told me that I asked immediately where my dad was being taken. She replied Charlotte which is an hour drive towards the east. That was not how I wanted to start my summer.

I immediately went after my older sister and younger brother B, who were at the laundry mat, after calling and leaving a message for younger brother A. I told my older sister and she took off to go to the Hmong culture park (more like an empty lot of land where the Hmong new year is held each year). However, she didn’t make it that far as she came back to finish the laundry and told me to go back home and that my mom and younger sister A was going to finish paying at the Hmong store.

Once we all got home we tried to figure out who was going to Charlotte and who was staying home since we all wanted to go. After a few minutes of discussing, my mom, younger sister A, and I left for Charlotte after calling our uncle to let him know. Mind you, that none of us has ever driven to Charlotte except for my dad and younger brother A. Well we made it safely to the hospital and here is where more trouble begins.

At the front desk, I gave the patient representative my dad’s name and he was nowhere to be found. After a few minutes, it was getting busier and the representative asked us to move aside for a moment. By this time my uncle, aunt, and two cousins had also arrived. Now, the address was sent to us by the aunt who picked up my dad’s phone and address was given to her by the EMT’s. So, there was no way we were in the wrong place. I started to call all the hospitals that were within an hour from home. Younger sister A called the aunt back, and the aunt called the hospital. We finally thought we found our dad only to immediately know that the patient was female, and we’re back to square one.

Frustrated and angry, younger sister A and younger cousin A called the president of the organization, we were pushing for them to tell us where exactly our dad is and why no one thought to follow our dad to the hospital. Now, having taken an EMT course I know that the plane cannot carry that much weight or any other additional passengers. However, someone could have driven to Charlotte so that when my family and I got we would not have run into any problems locating my dad. Of course, since my dad was only volunteering not part of the organization and not their relative no followed him to Charlotte.

By this time my older sister has heard of the news that our dad could not be located at the hospital and was calling Catawba EMT. Meanwhile, members of the organization and some other people that were there on Sunday morning volunteering showed up. They went up to the front desk and got visitor passes, my mom told them that it wasn’t the right room, but they insisted. So, they went up only to came back down. Just as I hanged up, my younger sister A came up to me and said, “Hey so that aunt sent us dad’s license so maybe we can just show it to them.” Frustrated I just glanced at her, but then I realized something. If that aunt had my dad’s wallet with her all along there was no way the EMT could have put in his information into the system, he was an unidentified patient.

I told her to get in line with me and the patient representative we talked to earlier, waved at us to go to him. All along I thought they no longer care about, but since we were persistence about staying at the hospital until our dad was found and more people kept showing up it looks like he’s been making phone calls around the hospital. By this time my older sister had called and talked to the Catawba chief paramedic. Once again, the patient representative asked me for all the details and I finally told him that there was no way my dad would be in their system because he has no identification on him and we didn’t know that. One patient that flew in had match my dad’s physical description, the time frame and events led to the injury matched. So, the patient representative and I rushed to identify the patient after my sister showed him the picture of my dad’s driver license that was sent by the aunt, whom I talked to earlier.

Well, we didn’t make it in time to identify the patient since he was already taken to the CT Scan room, but the patient representative got a good glimpse of him. So, he told me that we’re going back to get visitor passes and he’ll take us the STICU (Surgical Trauma Intensive Care) waiting room.

By the time we got back to the lobby, Catawba EMT had called to let the front desk know and most everyone had gotten visitor passes. Everyone that was not family went their own way, but I told my family which also consisted of my uncle, aunt, and two younger cousins that we’re going with the representative. After a long wait, my mom and I were the first two to see my dad. I can still remember his condition. His head was so swollen and they shaved his head. They wrapped up his hands in mitts so that he doesn’t start to pull on any of the tubes and IV fluid lines. I couldn’t even look at my dad for so long because the tears just kept coming. I spent most of my time in the room looking out the window just to wipe away the tears until the ER doctor came in. By this time younger brother A had arrived at the hospital all the way from Boone and was with everyone else in the waiting room.

Of course, we let all the visitors saw my dad so that we can get rid of them and sent them home. I didn’t feel like looking at their faces. I didn’t want to see them. I felt so angry and disgusted because my dad has done a lot for that organization, he has helped most of the people in the organization and within the Hmong community. The least they could have done was sent one person to Charlotte with my dad’s identification so that when we got there we wouldn’t be stuck in the lobby for three hours. When they told us over the phone that EMT has my dad’s information and identification, I couldn’t even think twice about not being able to locate my dad. I was upset, so upset when I learned that EMT didn’t even get hold of my dad’s identification.

From the moment I saw my dad laying in the hospital bed, I knew that I took granted of my life before that event took place. I thought my life before was hard, complicated, and boring now it’s even going to be harder. If anything, I was grateful for the patient representative that helped us.

I put myself before others

My friends described me as someone savage and selfish. They usually tell me that I don’t really give the damn about others because I’m too concern about myself and my own problems. They all say I should be the last person they come running to when they have problems, but I’m always the first. And they all agree about how much they loved  me just because I loved myself.

There was actually a time when I put others before myself because I have this angelic and kind image that everyone put beside my name and face. Even when some of the my peers didn’t respectfully treat me and my friends said shit to me I kind of just let it passed by because I figure they were just having another bad day. I thought that if I put others before me first I would be happier. Happy because people would like me due to my kind nature, happy because my teacher praised me for me being a kind peer and helping other students. Happy because other people were happy.

Then I lost it. At some point I just could not stand it anymore. My friends were constantly asking me to let them copy my homework, asking me to “help” them do parts and bits of their projects. My peers’ jokes and teasing were beginning to get of out line to the point I couldn’t handle it. And I was starting to not like any of them, all to hell I even started to not like myself. But I couldn’t tell no one because my parents always told me that even if I didn’t like a certain person I should always respect them.

That was when I finally told myself I don’t have to be kind to other people my parents told me to respect people who I don’t like that doesn’t mean I have to be nice and friendly. I can be harsh, but respectful at the same time. And school counselors and teachers always say treat people how you would like to be treated, so if my peers are going to treat me the way they do then that’s what they’re going to get.

And so my personality change 180 degrees, a total change. I started putting myself more before others. I sometimes would not help my friends with doing their projects until I finished my mine, because I knew that they never did help me in the past and never will. They could no longer copied my homework because the answers and the work are mine and the grade they get is basically mine that they have been borrowing for the longest time. I started calling some of my peers names until they would call my name correctly and I knew that they knew how to pronounced my name. I became this savage devil and I loss a lot of friends on the way. However, I feel so different and gain so much more.

Ever since I started putting myself before others (most of the time) I feel so much more worthy of myself. And I feel like other people also started to see how worthy I am and how much capability I possessed. I’m no longer timid, instead I am so much more bolder now than ever and I realized how much I love myself. Since I started to love myself much more I was more happier.

As I mentioned before I loss some friends when I had that personality flip, but along the way I gained so many friends who love me for my savageness and my partial compassionate. I also have friends who stayed beside of  me when I flipped my personality and they were proud that I decided to come out of my turtle shell. And for the most part they were right that I have been living in my turtle shell for quite a long time. So I was also happy that I got out of that turtle shell.

I am a bit self-centered and selfish who for the majority of the time put myself before others, but there is nothing wrong for me to love myself. I don’t love myself more than I love my family or friends. When I love myself, not only do I see how worthy I am, but others around me begins to the do same and because I love who I am they do to.

When you put yourself before others it is not because you are selfish, but it is because you are self-fulling. For once you are doing something for you, and of course you can sit and wait for that miraculous gift to happen, but it’s not going to happen if you don’t take action. In this era that we lived in, to succeed you have to protect yourself from virulent people, chase after your dreams, and become the star of your own life. And if people start leaving you because they feel uncomfortable, then let them be because there was no relationship to begin with. You don’t always have to give up yourself or be the sacrifice lamb. So, if you think there is no one worthy for you to live for and love for, you do now. It’s you.

I Wish…

Beach, Wind, Drift, Sand, Contrast, Structure, Sea, Sky
Credit: Janx (Pixabay user)                             https://pixabay.com/en/beach-wind-drift-sand-contrast-1106731/ 

I wish I was like the wind so my soul can set free from this vast garden of flowers, thorns, hives, and weeds. Thus, I’ll come a in soothing and calm wind storm to let Earthlings know of my happiness and joys. Perhaps, a roaring wind storm when I’m angry and upset. Even stay quiet and shut myself out from the world when many heavy thoughts are on my heart and sleep away for many days, weeks, or months.

I wish I was like the bright flowers that blooms on the first day of spring being picked by children and adults alike. Adding colors to Earthlings’ dull and gray lives. Waking up early in the morning without feeling tired and going to bed early without worrying about anything. And when fall approaches I can lay in bed for a long time, getting a good rest, and just wait for spring to come without any rush.

I wish was like a bird, any bird will do but I prefer being a yellow canary. So, I can sing in the wild share my sorrows without worrying being in tune. I can fly when I want and go wherever I want. Forever I’ll stay in wild and be spirit free. No one to judge me and if any birds shall judge me I’ll just flap my wings maybe give a peck or two with my tiny beak and fly away to another place.

I wish was like the river, full of life, laughter, mood swings, and running long and far. Instead of giving advice, I can finally just steer Earthlings to the right direction or maybe play a playful prank and steer them the wrong direction. I can cry when I want too and not be afraid to show my tears. I’ll worked up my currents when I get upset and calm when I’m too tired to play.

Image result for river
Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/river-surrounded-by-green-trees-158489/

I wish I can be like the mountains so I can be many times stronger. I wouldn’t have to worry about the people needing support from me. I can let them walk on my back and help them carry their heavy burdens. My soul would never get broken and my spirit would spread amongst many major vast of lands. I’ll see plenty of beautiful views that many Earthlings won’t bother to see.

Everything is Going to be Alright

Life is an endless loop of circle. Or better yet an endless infinity sign. Every single time I think I’m done running a marathon, I find myself not at the finish line, but another beginning line. And every single time I tell myself it’s okay to not know where I’m headed. It’s okay to be lost for a while. It’s okay because everything is going to be alright.  Eventually, I’ll end up at another beginning line soon enough.

My roommate, whom I’m not so closed with, asked me one day how I do it. “Do what,” I asked her.
“How do you stay positive at everything that’s been thrown at you,” she replied.
For moment I see all these memories of me struggling flash before my own eyes, just like in those dramatic movie scenes that a character would experience before dying. And I told her, “I just go with the flow.” Our conversation ended there for the night and it was never picked up on another night. Of course, we have conversation from time to time, but we just never picked up that one conversation.

There have been times when I silently cried, times when I’m upset at myself and angry at myself for choices that I have made knowing the consequences. Times when I wished I can cast a spell magic and turned back time. However, I can’t waste time right now thinking about the times I want to go back and change. So, instead I move on. And when I begin to think about those times or say anything like “I wish I can turn back time” I think about all the wonderful things that had happened. And I think about all the time that I had to let myself mature and reevaluate myself and my goals all over again. To think about the person that can I become and not change into some person that I can become but not the true me.

These endless marathons and races that I keep reaching after one another, sure I’m tired of them. Because just when I think I’m done, I have something else to worry and be occupied about. However, it is these endless beginnings that makes me who I am and bring me to the people I know and cherish today. These endless beginnings are just here to make me stronger, smarter and build me into who I will become.

In the end everything will be alright, everything will slowly start to come together piece by piece. You cannot rush a master art piece, it comes with patience and time. Everything is alright.

Advice from MaiMai #1

Anon4012 sent in:

My younger sister is dating a man who is twice her age. I have met the man a few times before, but never really bother to talk to him much. My mom, grandparents, and a few other family members like him very much. However, I’m not fond of him. First, I don’t think I can think of my as my brother-in-law. He’s only a few years younger than my mom. He can pass by as my uncle. Moreover, he’s a divorcee with two kids from his previous marriage. And my sister knows that I don’t like him, but she wants me to like him. So, she keeps asking me to hang out with them and their friends which I’m not too comfortable with. Finally, I feel like we are growing apart. And I don’t want a man to come between us. What do I tell her so that she can understand me? It’s not like I never tried to have a conversation with her regarding him. Continue reading “Advice from MaiMai #1”

A Good Rain

pexels-photo

I heard the sky thunder as I walk through the gloomy paths on campus. Walking under my purple umbrella, I kept my head down under my black hoodie and monitor each of my every step. As I heard more rain drops on my umbrella I looked up to see the people around me. There were some running late to class, rushing to get out of the shower, some listening to music, and some occupy on their phone. Lastly, there were some like me just walking around and pretending to not care.

As I walked in the cold rain I realized I liked the rain more that day. The weather was gloomy and perfect for me to stay inside all cuddled on my bed and just take a good nap. A good weather for me to just have me time. I looked ahead and saw a puddle, usually I would walk around it but somehow I told myself “Just do it. It’ll be fun. It’s like being a kid again.” And sure enough, I walked straight into the puddle and as the cold water seeped into my pair of turquoise Nike’s and into my black socks the sensation woke me up from my sleepiness. I have never felt more good than any mornings.  Continue reading “A Good Rain”

When You Found a Best Friend…

  1. Fart in front of her
  2. Tell her that she looks like banana pudding, nice and sweet, in that ridiculous dress
  3. Let her borrow your hardly worn shoes, or switch shoes for a day or week
  4. Don’t like the same people
  5. Tease the same professors behind their backs
  6. Messaging each other on Facebook and laughing like maniacs while sitting in the same room
  7. Can never have a proper sleepover, because one is too high on sparkling and is speaking in a British accent
  8. Others will think you’re related, cousins, siblings, etc when clearly you come from different races
  9. Steal each other’s food
  10. Eat from the same plate
  11. Split the empty dishes so that you both look like fatties
  12. Let one carry all the desserts
  13. You’ll clean her room it’s messy or vice versa
  14. Actually care about the person she’s dating or interested
  15. Gives her money (i.e. buying lunch) even when you clearly know she’s never going to pay back all those money.

Momentum

In physics we defined momentum as the force of a moving object. And of course we have to calculate the momentum of the object.

However, in life we can’t calculate momentum on a person nor do we feel the force moving upon us. Of course, when we make mistakes, deadly mistakes that is, we begin to feel this force of guilt running all over our body that even we break out in cold sweat. And when we are overjoyed we feel the force of happiness that we’re smiling nonstop and keep on doing continuous jumping jacks. What about when we’re stuck? When it seems like we can no longer move on? When we lose our way and the light is dimming? Momentum doesn’t stay with us then. It goes away and we have no more energy to carry on.

If momentum can be found just like physics, life for most of us wouldn’t be so harsh but no. Some of us were never prepared for reality and can’t seem to accept the reality happening upon us that we keep on imagining, what if this and this were to happen. What if I never did this? What if I actually did make this choice earlier? What if? Sadly, enough finding momentum within ourselves takes more time and it’s rougher.

To get that momentum back on us like when we made a mistake or were happy, the first step is getting back onto your feet and challenge yourself to do something you never did before. Whether it’s moving out for the first time to start a whole new chapter, starting a new hobby, or making a new friend. Push yourself. Get up. Do something. Discover a whole new you and don’t give up.

Those that tells you you’re not worth it are lying to you. Those tells you your dreams are just a waste they want you to fail. Don’t listen to them. They are the momentum that will keep you from moving on and discovering your new self. Believe in yourself. Find the momentum in you that will make you move one.