92 days …

My mom turned 71 today. We did a video call with my dad last night (because Taiwan is a day ahead) and sang happy birthday to her. I’m not sure she had any awareness of us, though, so it wasn’t exactly an uplifting moment.

Anyway, people have been asking how she’s doing, so I figured I’d post an update. It’s now been 92 days since she went into cardiac arrest. And at this point, she’s no longer in a coma.

That’s not good news.

I learned last night that her current condition can best be described as a persistent vegetative state. It’s an official medical condition, and if you really want to know about it, Wikipedia has a pretty detailed explanation.

When someone is in a persistent vegetative state, they open their eyes and make facial expressions and look like they’re awake, or at least kind of sort of awake. But then, they just kind of stare off into the distance and remain that way for hours at a time, not responding at anyone or anything. It’s unsettling. Technically speaking, she’s awake. But there’s no indication that she’s actually conscious or aware of anything. And that only makes it harder to accept where she is.

The stats are clear, though. The longer someone remains in a persistent vegetative state, the higher the likelihood they’ll never progress beyond that. And even if they do eventually regain consciousness, they exhibit significant disability.

And so, with each day that goes by, I feel a tiny sliver of hope vanishing. I’m not sure how deep my pool of hope runs, but … I guess I’ll find out.

So that’s the update. And if you’ve read this far, I just have one request:

If you see me, there’s no need to ask about my mom. Because if there’s any positive news we get about her, believe me, the world will know.

At this point, I just need to get on with my life. And the best way I’m finding for doing that is just to stay busy and stay distracted. I appreciate the offers I’ve gotten from those of you wanting to be supportive, but no, talking about my mom doesn’t help. Because there is literally nothing for me — for any of us — to do.

If you do want to help, let’s do something exciting together. Or let’s chat about something fun and lighthearted. Hell, I’ll even get into a political debate with you … if you want to lose.

Oh, and maybe wish my mom a happy birthday in your thoughts. I know she would appreciate that. She’d never say so out loud, because she’s stoic and reserved in that way, and because … well, she’s in a persistent vegetative state.

But I can 100% assure you that she would appreciate it … if she weren’t in a persistent vegetative state.

Hong Family, February 2018

February 2018: This may turn out to be our last family photo. It still cracks me up, and I think I could be happy ending on this one.

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