How to Save Your Life - Well It Worked for Me
Privacy? What's that?
A fellow Hubber ahorseback made a comment on one of my Hubs that got me thinking of this incident that happened 1 ½ years ago. So I thought I’d share.
Raising 5 children has been quite a task. I had hoped to raise them with the same morals values and niceness that was exhibited by the Brady Bunch, rather than a wild pack of heathens that no one would love. I didn’t quite get the Brady Bunch but neither did I get the wild heathens, we met somewhere in the middle. That being said, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to find out that privacy was something I had always dreamed of but never quite achieved. Using the restroom was supposed to be a peaceful moment in the life of a Mom, not in my house. I think they had secret meetings to destroy all the locks in the home, the bathroom being the first. So after a while when they would burst into the bathroom and ask “Whatcha doin’ Mom?” I got to answering in the usual manner “Flyin’ an airplane, what do you think I’m doing?”
But I haven't done my Bucket List!!!
Now we need to fast forward a few years to September of 2008, having retired for the evening at my usual time of 11 pm, it was quite a surprise to be rudely awakened at 2 am, with some pretty serious heart palpitations. I sat on the edge of my bed for several minutes, even attempting to walk around. My heart felt as though it was going to jump out of my chest, I tried walking, deep breathing to no avail. Finally about 2:20 I woke my daughter up to have her take me to the hospital. She wanted to call an ambulance, I told her well I’ve made it 20 minutes, 15 more won’t matter.
Off we went to the hospital, I just tried breathing that was about all I could do, talking was out of the question, but she sure had a lot of them (questions that is). She wanted to call Dad, “No” I said, “He is on his way back from Kansas (He is a truck driver) it will just worry him and there isn’t anything he can do anyway.” “How about if we call Grandpa?” “No, it’s 2:30 in the morning, I don’t wanna wake anyone up.” “It’s probably nothing anyway.” “Let’s just wait and see.”
I was feeling pretty brave until the lady at the desk asked me what was wrong. With tears in my eyes and choking on my words I told her “I think I’m having a heart attack.” Of course it was difficult to breathe but my tears didn’t help either. All I could think about was my kids. I wasn’t quite ready to check out yet, I hadn't done my Bucket List!!
What a Great Doctor!
I was quickly wheeled back into a room with my daughter and her boyfriend in tow. To my pleasant surprise the emergency room Doctor was someone with whom I was familiar. A year and a half prior he stitched up my daughters leg (the one with me) when she got bit by our dog. I remembered he had quite a sense of humor, with him making googily eyes and posing for the camera as we were taking pictures of him stitching her leg, all the while having a good laugh. He had kids of his own so he knew to keep a sense of humor during a crisis, it really makes kids relax if you laugh instead of crying over what happened.
We both said hello to one another each remembering the past with a smile. He said “Well young lady what brings you here?” If I didn’t feel so darned bad I might have giggled, me young? So I told him what was going on as best as I could, the Nurse getting me hooked up with all kinds of wires and whatnots. “Well I don’t think you’re having a heart attack, but what’s going on definitely isn’t good”, he said. Then he got a little serious with me and said “Don’t you worry I’m not gonna let anything happen to you” I told him that I trusted him to do his best, no worries.
We're having some fun now!
My heart rate was up around the 180’s or so. Wow, I didn’t know a heart could go that fast. The Nurse started an IV right away so he could get some medicine in. As he started putting something in my IV he explained that he had to do it slowly so it didn’t kill me. Oh boy, I can see were gonna have some fun now! They were waiting to see if the medicine was going to help, my daughter and her boyfriend decided to leave the room for a little bit.
The Doctor came back in after about 10 minutes or so and nothing yet. No change. He said he didn’t want to wait much longer and felt that he needed to use the paddles on me. Whee-haa!! I asked “Ummm, am I gonna be awake for this?” The nurse said “We usually put people under for this, but if you want to stay awake you might get pretty angry with us”. “Nah, I think I’ll get knocked out for this” I had to explain to the Doctor my fear of being put under. Years ago when I’d had my tubes tied I didn’t come out of it so well. He said that things have changed in medicine but it was good to know I didn’t respond well.
I looked at the open door and had a thought I asked if they could notify the person at the desk to not let my daughter come into the room until the procedure was over. I envisioned my daughter walking in as they were using the paddles and figured it would be something she shouldn’t have or want to see. I thought it might scare her a bit. They thought it was a good idea too and agreed.
It seemed just a short minute later I was waking up from a nice dream, but my heart rate was still going as though nothing had changed. The Doctor came in and sat down, I might have been a bit fuzzy about things but I do remember the look on his face. Because he had met me before, met 2 of my daughters and we even shared a laugh or two, I was no longer ‘just’ a patient. He looked me in the eye and said “You have Atrial Fibrillation, which means the top part of your heart is going crazy and not beating as it should” Well, yep I was feelin’ that for sure. Then he explained that “If a blood clot should form in the top part, one good beat could push it out and well, that might be all she wrote.” So he decided it would be off to ICU for me. Oh goody.
My daughter met the gurney on the way to the ICU, she was towards the my head, I looked up at her and said “Well, I guess you can make those phone calls now.”
The things I'll do to get privacy!
I remember my family showing up, kids, Dad and Step-Mom, my Grandson everyone looking at me like I was on my death bed. Geez… My one son who lives in PA was burning up the phone lines trying to get details of my well being. I was stable is all they would tell him until they got my permission to tell him more. Of course I gave it, wouldn’t want my boy worrying now would I? After a bit the Nurse booted everyone out, saying I needed my rest. I could not see that happening anytime soon. My youngest daughter stayed in my room and my oldest boy stayed in the waiting room, refusing to leave.
I told the ICU Nurse that I needed to go to the bathroom. She told me, “Ok, we’ll get the bedpan”. Ummm, NO. I need to use the toilet. She adamantly refused to let me go on the toilet. She said the medicine they had given me lowered my Blood Pressure so much that she was afraid I’d fall off the toilet. I told her “My daughter is in here, she’s used to setting with me in the bathroom, she‘ll stay with me.” Nope, she refused. Well dang, I had to go REALLY bad. Finally we made a compromise, she brought in a commode. Oh goody. So she helped me get on the commode and both my daughter and her left the room. Ahhhhh, a moment of privacy, the things I’ll do to get a some time alone!
I spent a few minutes taking care of business, getting things done. In the process there was a bit of grunting and pushing, finally I pushed the call button when I was done. As the nurse helped me back into the bed I noticed my heart rate was going down. “Well, lookie there” I said to her, “It’s going down, that’s good right?” She thought for a second then asked “Didn’t they have you bear down in the ER?” Nope. Huh, I’ll be darned.
I finally fell asleep and slept most of the rest of the day, opening my eyes when visitors showed up, occasionally falling asleep in their presence. I slept through the night and woke up feeling a bit groggy the next day, my husband was there and he helped me shower. I was released early afternoon, no worse for the wear.
Whatcha Doin' Mom?
So now when my kids come bursting into the bathroom during my moment of privacy and ask “Hey Mom, whatcha doin?” Instead of telling them I’m ‘flying an airplane’, I just tell them “I’m savin’ my life”.
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