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So I didn't sleep well last night, woke up early, dared to post two poems, then ate a banana and went back to sleep. Woke again after an hour, made coffee, was only halfway through my first cup when the house phone rang.

Annoyed, I picked it up and heard my mother's voice, sounding scared and weak. She had gone into atrial fibrillation; the Emergency Squad and police were on their way. I told her to calm down, relax and breathe; I'd stay on the phone until they arrived.

I heard them knocking on her door, told her I was on my way, then got dressed, chugged coffee and made a quick peanut butter sandwich, hopped into my rusty, but trusty old Miata, driving well over the speed limit. I also broke the no-cell-phone-while-driving-law, calling my daughter, to please alert other family members.

Arriving at her house, I noticed her American flag was not up, a downright religious ritual of hers. She had refused being taken to the ER, so I took her to her physician. They took blood, did an EKG, hooked up a heart monitor, and changed one of her meds. I have been through similar experiences with her, but it still frightens me every time, although I appear and act calm and collected.

What I didn't expect, though highly appreciated was when the doctor asked her to take off her sweater and turtleneck shirt and she told him she had three more layers underneath. He said, "Well, stop when you get to the last one and keep that on. I once had a patient about your age (87), who whipped off her sweater and what I thought was going to be a turtleneck turned out to be a dickey, plus she had no bra on. I still can't get that image out of my mind. I want to be able to sleep tonight."

We all laughed, then my mother proceeded to slowly take off all the layers but one. Now, I was thinking, God forgive me, and said, "Mom, looks like you've had some practice with professional stripping that I don't know about, Mrs. Nursery School Teacher and CCD Teacher for 25 years."

She laughed and asked if she looked coordinated. The doctor said, "I think you could install a pole in your house." I asked him to write that on a prescription pad because no one would believe me. My mother said, "I meant all of my layers were green, even my socks."

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