Saturday, February 22, 2014

To Hell and Back

Just a small preface here before I start.  This entry in the blog are memories of my journey that I personally do not have. These memories came entirely from Lea Ann. It all centers around eight to ten hours on the third day after my surgery that I do not remember at all. She and I talked about it over dinner out the other night.  We are over a year out from these memories and they still move her. Rather massively I might add. She teared up and would not look at me much of the time that she was telling me about this. From what I heard, I'm rather glad I don't remember it, but more than that... I wish I had not put her through it. No one deserves that. Please understand that this post may be a little smaller than the previous ones. After seeing how much it moved Lea Ann, I didn't want to continue to dredge up old and painful memories for her. I can only imagine that if it still moves her this much now, how it must have been that day for her. Just made me love her all that much more (which I was not aware was even possible).

Having said that...  Here we go.

Monday, January 28, 2013... Still in ICU. Lea Ann had been staying there every night since the surgery. She would not leave other than to go home and shower and get a change of clothes, then come right back. I had been sleeping a lot which is typical.  The ICU nurse actually told Lea Ann that the third day is usually the worst based on his (it was a male nurse that day) experience.  He had been doing this for many years. He was very right. That day my body decided to go haywire. At first my blood pressure shot through the roof... To the tune of 270/180 at several points that day. That pulled in the nurse and a few of doctors. Medication was administered via IV and soon the bottom dropped completely out of the BP...  To the tune of 80/55 and maybe even lower than that, but my heart rate then started skyrocketing 160...170...180...and my oxygen saturation was not budging much sitting in the mid 70's and that was with oxygen. Plus the lung that had been deflated had not re-inflated properly and was only flowing MAYBE 50% of normal. Most people saturate at 97 to 100% while on oxygen. Apparently that day I was not most people.  More doctors, more medication. BP is back up, respiration down, saturation still down, heart rate jumping all over the place. Lea Ann is there with a note pad trying to write down everything, including the doctor's names, so she can look on-line later to see what they were doing... Finally she gave up.  Too much happening too fast. When I was awake, which I do not remember at all, I was apparently complaining about chest pain. Well duh. Maybe that stress test I had the day before the initial surgery date was a good thing after all. I was not lucid for very long pretty much that whole day. At one point there were 12 different doctors in that ICU room and each of them were saying, "give him this" and "give him that," but the meds were being fed into me so quickly that nothing really had a chance to take effect before the next one was introduced. They also had a crash cart sitting immediately outside my door... Just in case. The doctors kept giving orders to give this or that medication and finally the nurse stood up and basically said, "NO!  Enough. He hasn't had a chance to react to anything he has been given." As they say, too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the soup. In this case *I* was the soup. Apparently the doctors agreed with the nurse and decided to monitor me and slow down on the counter-measures to allow my body to react.  The nurse turned to Lea Ann and told her, "We will get him through this. Together. I promise you that we will have him stabilized before my shift ends." She was also told that the last medication they gave me "...ALWAYS works.  In the 19 years I have been doing this I've never seen it fail." Guess what? It failed. Why do I always have to be the one that is different and not do the usual? The doctors and nurse kept working. As the day went on, there were more issues but they did slowly get them all under control, and by the grace of God and their skills, and Lea Ann's being there for me all the time, I was stable by the time the nurse's shift ended. Lea Ann says, and I quote, "That nurse saved your life." That is a truth that she will take with her in her heart forever.  As will I.

Had I known that this happened I would have gone in search of that nurse, given him huge bear hug and a smile and thanked him, not from the bottom of my heart, but from the bottom of my feet to the top of... I can't think of anything high enough. I KNOW Lea Ann did that for us both, but still. He was my nurse only twice the entire time I was in ICU.  Apparently those were the days I needed him the most.  We both did. I thank God for him every night since I found out.

Now Lea Ann is away for a few days, so my next entry may not be until later this coming week or over the weekend. I like to run these by her to allow her to fill in holes I may have, and to add anything I missed.  I just hope the rest is not as painful to her as this was.

See you all next time.