An Amazing True Story of a Woman Who Endured the Hollowing of Her Spirit, Body, and Soul
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I set my purse in front of the only empty chair in the room, and as I lower myself onto the seat, I hear, "Code Blue ICU Room 238, Code Blue ICU."
My hands are shaking. "Did they just say room 238?" I shout.
Almost as if in unison, they say, "Yes. Yes. 238."
I don't want to believe them. "Yes? Did you say yes?"
Again, they all say, "Yes! Yes, room 238."
"No! That's my son's room."
A set of heavy doors guard the entrance to the hall for the ICU patient rooms. These doors can't open from the outside; only a security guard on the other side can push a button to open them up. Someone happens to be coming out of the doors; I lunge at the small opening to rip them open. No human can stop me now. No one would dare get in my way or try to stop me from finding Austin. I can't see any room or bed numbers. People are running in one direction to a specific room; I'm going there too.
Running down the hall, I throw my purse to the ground. Pushing my way through two people blocking the door, I hear someone say, "Grab her!"
Three people pull me down to the ground and drag me over to a chair in the corner of the room. I see Austin; he's lifeless on the bed. A woman is on top of his bare chest and pushing up and down with all her weight. She's performing CPR.
I'm only ten feet away from him. Ten or twelve people are working on his body. I scream, "Fight Austin, fight!" I continue to plead, "Fight Baby, please. I'm right here."
Two women are sitting beside me, holding me down in the chair. The woman on my left asks, "What's your name? Ma'am, are you his mother?"
"Yes, yes, I'm his mother. My name is Annamarie."
"Annamarie. We need you to be a little quieter; our team needs to hear each other while helping him. You can talk to him all you want, but we just need you to be a little quieter."
"Quieter, okay, okay. Austin! Mom is here. Please fight, Baby. Please. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever amen."
Back and forth, I rock violently in my chair. I want to push everyone away from me so I can get to him. I know if I can climb up on him myself, I'll get his heart going again. I know I can do it if they'd only let me try. I'm his mom; I know I can do it.
"Let go of me. Please, I promise I'll stay in this chair, but let me go," I beg.
"Annamarie, we need to make sure you sit still. Let them do their jobs; he's in good hands."
"What happened? I was just talking with him; he was fine. What happened?"
In an overly calm voice, she says, "When they were bringing him into his room, he went into cardiac arrest. Because of the pressure from the enlarged pancreas, gallstones, and the added problem with the sepsis, his heart became overstressed. We're performing CPR now to get his heart going again."
I never stop calling him to fight. I go from one prayer to another and remind him I'm still here, and I'm not leaving. Over and over, I beg him to fight. Standing near the door to the room is a man who calls out the time every few minutes.
"Eight minutes." He bellows.
As soon as one person climbs off of him, another climbs on. At the same time, another nurse is pumping air into his mouth by way of a large clear plastic bulb pressed tightly upon his face. They pause every few moments to listen and feel for a pulse. Nothing; they can't find a pulse. Everyone climbs off of him and steps away as a tall man with short white hair steps up to put the electrical paddles on Austin's chest. I stop rocking and sit still.
He shouts, "Clear."
The jolt of the electricity makes Austin's entire body rise off of the bed. Quickly, everyone moves in close to his body. They listen for sounds and feel for a pulse at various spots on his body. One person feels his ankles while others are feeling his arms, neck, and groin.
One by one, the nurses continue to sit on top of him and thrust down on his chest.
I hear a woman's voice, "Annamarie, are you here alone?"
"What? Alone, no, I'm not alone. Yes, I'm alone right now, but I'm not alone." A fleeting thought crosses my mind as I wonder how she knows my name.
"Is your husband here?"
"He just left. His name is Aidar; please call him; he isn't far away."
"Do you know his number?"
I want to scream out, "Shut-up, Shut-up, Shut-up. Just do it. Just get Aidar. Don't talk to me right now." I know they don't have his number, but I don't have time to be dealing with this shit right now.
"Yes, his number is in my phone. Here, just take my phone." I threw my purse down in the hall as I ran to his room, but my phone is always in my pocket.
Annamarie Ibrahim has endured the hollowing of her body, spirit, and soul. Beginning with the hollowing of her spirit on October 5, 1977, and concluding with her hollowed soul when her only son, Austin, passed on October 5, 2018, Hollowed shares stories spanning forty years of Annamarie’s life.
In this inspirational and motivational memoir, she reflects on her experiences—from the physical hollowing of her body, to helping her husband battle cancer, to grieving the loss of her only child. Annamarie shares the tools she employed to help her navigate life’s journey, manage life’s tragedies, and make irreversible life and death decisions for herself and her only child.
In Hollowed, she grieves the hollowing of her spirit with the drastic changes because of illness. She grieves the loss of her body parts when she became physically hollowed. And, she grieves the physique that was free of scars and medical devices. Through struggle and acceptance, she emerges as a positive example, blazing a trail for others to travel if the situation should arise in their life.
About the Author
Annamarie Ibrahim is a dedicated wife, mother, and friend as well as a successful and internationally known keynote inspirational speaker, trainer, and blogger. As the founder of Sparkfire Seminars, Annamarie lights a fire in the heart of her audiences while sharing tips and tools to tackle their own controversies in life. She enjoys celebrating life with her husband and dog in their home in the Sierra Foothills of California.