August 17, 2016 started off with vigor and enthusiasm that quickly drew to an end early that afternoon with me signaling my husband to call 911. We arrived home and all along the way home from our errand which is a little over an hour something just did not feel right. He wanted to take an alternate more scenic route home which I immediately rejected. I also had to use the restroom badly but my intuition said do not stop. As I rushed into our home I could not breathe nor could I make it to the restroom. Yes, at my age I could not hold it. I could not catch my breath and regain control of my breathing. I felt like a fish out of water. I could not even get words out my mouth but he understood me saying 9-1-1. He asked if I was sure as I held up one finger thinking I had regained control to my dismay I had not and said again “9-1-1”. He quickly called as I begin to disrobe due to being extremely hot. I attempted to use my misting humidifier which proved to be too hot for me hold on my face. I asked for ice in order to cool down as it seemed that nothing could bring forth comfort. He calmly gave the address as the 911 dispatcher gave instructions and asked questions. By this time I began to faint and lose control of my body functions. I started having uncontrollable convulsions and could not handle being touched as it felt as though my body temperature was rising. Finally, the EMS arrived alone with the Fire Department. This had to be the longest wait in my life. As I laid on the floor, flipping around in my body fluids from the convulsions, they attempted to place an oxygen mask on my face. I knew I needed it but again every touch of and with anything felt so hot. They had to coach me into putting it on. The EMS workers also thought for a moment that I was possibly a drug addict who may have overdosed on something. My husband had to convince them that I was not an addict nor had I tried any drugs. The workers had to restrain me in order to get me on the stretcher and strap me down. The convulsions where just that uncontrollable.
Once in the ambulance where it was much cooler one of the techs looked me squarely in my eyes and said “ma’am no matter what you do, you have got to fight to breathe”. I slowly nodded my head as I looked him back in the eyes and asked him via my own sign language to breathe with me and he did just that all the way to the emergency room. I thought of my grandson with every breath.
On the ride there I could feel myself going in and out of consciousness. The last thing I remember from the ride was the EMS techs radioing into the ER my stats and that I was on the way. I can faintly remember when they took my out of the ambulance. Even though I had made it there, I felt as though this was my last day on Earth. The life I had lived instantly flashed before me as well as the things I wish I had experienced; the places I wish I had visited. My grandson who I felt would never know me, it all just rushed to my mind within seconds.
In my previous post, I have often written about my lack of fear. With the health challenges I have faced, this was the only way I could navigate through this unchartered journey. I had to identify what was the greatest fear in being told you now have cancer in your lungs along with knowing that I was going to take matters into my own hands. I quickly came to realize the fear is not the cancer itself but death. I knew I had to overcome all my fears and the biggest one was death. The question I asked myself was why fear death. The answer was we naturally fear what we do not understand. Therefore, I had to overstand death to conquer my fear of it.
Everything in this world has a duality and is defined by that means. In order to define up, you have to have down, to define white you must have black and yes to define life you must define death. What is life without death, what is death without life…. Death is necessary and must be as welcoming and respected as life. Therefore in order to be fully comfortable and accomplished in life regardless of the road one must appreciate both, overstand both and welcome both. I had come to a place of comfort and confidence as it pertains to death. So I was very calm of the thought that I may not ever physically see loved ones again and I also thought the journey was over for me and I was good with that.
Back to the ER…. well the ER doctors had to give me a sedative in order to keep my body still from the convulsions in order to have a Cat Scan done. According to my husband and parents (my in-laws) they were amazed that I was even still alive. They placed me on a BiPap breathing machine that was set to force air into my lungs for breathing and asked my husband if he knew of my final wishes. We have had discussions upon learning of my health challenges and I have infadicly expressed my desire NOT to be left on machines to keep me alive. They were sure that upon removing the machine I would only live for a few hours…..