THE SHEER JOY OF BEING ALIVE!
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES
I went to Rex Hospital to have carpal tunnel surgery. My hand had grown progressively worse as time went by.. the pain was unbearable. I was glad to be getting surgery.
I changed clothes, put on the gown provided, got up on the hospital bed, pulled the sheet up. The nurse came in to put an IV in. I lay there nervous, wishing for the surgery to be over.
The doctor was going to be late... I laid there for an hour with the IV still in me, taking in fluids that later... would almost take my life.
The doctor finally came, the surgery was done, we left the hospital with discharge instructions. That evening I began having a little cough, probably from an allergy. That happened sometimes. That night I told Skip I couldn't breathe, we went back to Rex Hospital Emergency Room.
I had an x-ray, all seemed to be okay, all the while I had IV fluids. We left the hospital and went home. I was still coughing.
The next day I coughed throughout the day, not feeling the best, but, going through the day okay. That night when we went to bed... I began to lay my head on the pillows. My pillows are always like 'stairsteps', and I have three pillows... I sleep good that way.
As I laid my head on my pillows, I sat straight back up, I sat there a moment calmly, not worrying about anything... when the thought went across my mind like you see a ticker scrolling across the bottom of a screen. My thought was: you are going to die if you don't go to the hospital now.
I thought for a moment that it had something to do with my imagination as I wasn't suffering at all... just this allergy that affected my breathing... and made me cough. I began to lay back down when... I stood straight up and spoke to Skip. I said "Skip, get up, please take me to Rex Hospital, I'm going to die if you don't". Skip never questioned me, got straight up and began dressing quickly.
I began dressing quickly, also. As I put my shirt over my head blocking my nose... I began to feel suffocated. For a brief moment I panicked. The thought went through my mind: get to the hospital now.
I never panicked, I was calm, twice this thought had come to my mind. I 'knew' something was wrong with me.
We got in the pickup and drove toward the hospital, as we got to the stoplight... I told Skip to take me 'now' to the rescue building. He looked at me and said " but, I thought you said you didn't want to go there, even if you were dying!'
I turned my head, looked at him calmly and said "Skip, take me there now, I'm going to die if you don't". I had no idea of 'how I knew this'. I never felt panicky, excepting the brief moment my shirt covered my nose. Skip never said a word and drove the couple blocks to the rescue building.
I was coughing more, it was aggravating me, I was sick but, didn't know what was wrong. The cough I thought was from an allergy was making things worse.
Skip went inside and came out with an EMT, a young guy. He walked to me and began asking questions, he noticed I was coughing alot, and I told him it was allergies, it seemed to have just now gotten worse. He bent down to look at my ankles, and immediately made me lay down in the rescue truck.
The next thing I knew I was fighting for my life.. I was embarassed at first .. I don't like to make a public scene. I tried to be calm and 'not make a fool of myself'. It became impossible to be still and stay lying down. I didn't know what was happening to me, I only knew I couldn't breathe ... my hands were grabbing air, my body wanted up from that stretcher!
I began fighting and I had no control to stop myself. I couldn't breathe. I heard a calm voice speak to me that I recognized. It was Randy, one of the EMT guys that I knew from working at the hospital. He asked me if I wanted to hold his hand. In my mind, I said "yes", in reality, the fight for my life had begun.
In my mind I knew the road to the hospital was ten miles, I knew as the amulance traveled where I was. I kept thinking in my mind of where I was, how long it would take to get to the hospital. I was fighting to breathe and sit up as these thoughts filled my mind.
Randy kept telling me to lay back down. I couldn't breathe! I couldn't breathe! In my mind, I was so sorry I was fighting, but... I couldn't stop. I couldn't breathe! I remember for a moment I even felt ashamed for not doing as he asked ... I couldn't just lie flat down when I knew I was dying!
I could hear the siren sounding overhead, I knew cars would move out of the way. It wouldn't be long, I would have medical attention! In my mind, I could 'see' them working on me. I knew what they would do, I'd watched many battles to save lives, there.
I was beginning to lose consciousness. I remember the rescue people on both sides of the stretcher, rolling me toward the glass doors. All was blurry and moving quickly now. I saw Donna! Oh Donna, please help me! Please help me, Donna! I screamed to Donna to please help me. The blur of the nurses and recognizing Donna faded away... I heard someone say "get a catherer in her now!"
I woke up smiling, my eyes looking for Skip. I saw a blonde-headed woman standing beside me. She was smiling back at me, I felt so glad to see this woman, though I didn't know her!
I could see I was in the emergency room, as I was looking, she introduced herself as Dr. Smith. I looked back at her smiling, so happy to be alive. I said "I think I must have had a panic attack!"
Dr. Smith told me "oh no, you didn't have a panic attack, you had the real thing!" She said "do you see this ventilator?" I looked. She said "I was getting ready to put you on the ventilator!"
I understood what that meant! I'd worked in that very hospital and knew what happened in the emergency room when patients were in crisis. I was so fortunate to be alive! I had made it!
I smiled when I saw Skip, I could see he'd been afraid. Skip and I are very close, and I'm his world as well as he is mine. Skip was glad to see me. I was glad to see him! I learned that fluids had built up in my lungs, beginning to 'drown' me!
I was transferred to Rex Hospital to the Intensive Care Unit for heart patients. That night I smiled at everyone from the sheer joy of being alive! I was so happy to be alive! Everyone smiled back at me, some wondered aloud about me seeming to be so much better, so quickly... after what I'd just come through.
A young guy came to get me ...to take me to x-ray. He asked me if I'd like to go slowly in the wheelchair, or would I love to fly? I smiled at him and told him "Oh, I want to fly!" He smiled and said "let's go!"
It was an amazing, wonderful flight of life. It was late at night, no one was in those long halls of both floors we traveled on. I felt the wind rushing by my face, touching my big smile of happiness... I'm sure the wind thought I... was the sunshine! We were on a flight of celebration... I was alive!
The tests that followed afterwards, the rest of the night were uneventful. I was ready to go home, I waited for Skip to take me home! I was ready to go back home to my life, to my pups, us.
I just wanted to live, I smiled in happiness to have come back from that dark place, again... the dark place of death.
I can feel 'me' smiling now... I don't remember everything from that night, but... I do remember all I told you, very well. I just can't inject enough of how wonderful I felt that night.... I'd just been to the brink of death, I could fall to death or fall back into life! I'm so thankful I fell back to life!