Monday, March 15, 2010
About a week later I got back together with my boyfriend, we had been dating for about 2 years and things were very serious and I think I just got nervous so I broke up with him, and then soon after decided I needed him back. So life was good for me at the time I was teaching pre-school for the first time and loving it. I was 20 years old and they were letting me teach kids all by myself! I was working at a school in La Mirada, about 20 miles or so outside of Downey where I lived.
About two weeks after I had spoken to Mike on the 4th I was at work and the phone rang, it was naptime so all the kids were on their mats sleeping. I answered the phone and was very surprised to hear my mom's voice. She said "Nina, it's mom. You need to come to Downey Community right away. It's Mike."
All I remember saying was "mom, is he going to be okay?" and she said "I don't know, just come... now."
I don't even think I hung up the phone or told anybody I was even leaving I just grabbed my purse and ran out. I drove as fast as I could to the hospital crying and praying the whole time. Not having any idea what had happened, I didn't know if it was a car accident or if somebody tried to hurt him. I remember walking into the hospital emergency room and my mom, dad, brother Danny and Uncle Don were all there. I knew it must be serious. I don't exactly remember the next chain of events, I just remember hearing that he was in a coma. I was so scared. I looked at my parents and they looked scared and my Uncle Don was a mess. (I didn't know why until later.) I went into see him and he looked totally normal, like nothing was wrong except he was asleep and had tubes all over. After a while they transferred him to ICU and started doing some testing. That's when they had the chance to tell me the whole story.
My mom was home alone and Mike's boss called and asked if he was at our house or if she knew where he was, because he had not shown up for work and he wasn't answering his phone. My mom immediately panicked because this was exactly how they found Christy, Mike's old girlfriend that had just been killed. She hadn't shown up for something she was supposed to be at and her sister went over and found her in her condo. Anyway, my mom did not want to go over there by herself afraid of what she might find so she called my dad but he worked in downtown LA and it was going to take him longer to get there so he told her to call my uncle. She met my Uncle Don over there and he said that he would go up to Mike's apartment to check it out. I think they had to get the key from the manager. Anyway Uncle Don went up and found Mike passed out on the bathroom floor. He had passed out in the middle of the night while he was trying to take some ibuprofen. Mike suffered from migraine headaches and apparantely had been having one. My uncle called 911 and went downstairs and told my mom what was going on. He was alive but not responsive.
After many tests at the hospital the neurosurgeon informed my parents that Mike had suffered a stroke in the stem of the brain, which was most likely what was causing his headaches, his blood was not flowing to his brain like it should.
Over the next 4 days we stayed at the hospital around the clock. The outpouring of love and support was tremendous. My boyfriend and his family were amazing, they really took care of us. The family and friends that gathered each day in the ICU waiting room was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I will never forget on the third day we knew that things were not looking good, the doctors had told my parents that his chance of survival was small and if he did live he would be brain dead, an awful thought but we still wanted him to wake up so bad. We all took turns around his bed trying to encourage him. We told him stories, tried to make him smile and did everything we could think of to get him to just open his eyes and say "okay, I am going to be fine". It was on this day that I was standing out in the hall with Mike's friend Kevin. I had known Kevin since I was 5, he lived two doors down from us and he and Mike had been very best friends for 15 years. Kevin looked at me and said "Oh Nina, you have no idea how much he loves you". Oh my God even writing that right now 21 years later I am bawling like a baby. It was the best thing anyone had ever said to me, to know that Kevin even knew how strong our bond was and to know that Mike had shared with him how important I was to him was the sweetest thing ever.
That night my parents, Bryan (the boyfriend) and I decided that we were going to go home and sleep, we had been sleeping in the waiting room the first couple nights and we thought maybe we should go home for a while. Kevin said that he and Leslie (Mike's ex-girlfriend who was very close to our family) would stay the night. So the 4 of us went home. It was so hard to see my parents like this, they were beyond sad, they were devastated that this was happening. We all went to sleep, my mom and I slept in my room, Bryan slept on the couch and my dad slept in his room. The phone rang at 5:30 am and we all were awakened immediately dreading what the phone call was. My mom and I lay still in my bed and all we could hear was my dad say "hello?" and then, "oh, no. Not my baby boy, not my baby.. he's gone." He was sobbing and talking and I swear my heart just broke right then. Nothing was ever the same.