A Midnight Ride to the E.R.

December 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Our Recovery Journal

A Midnight Ride to the Emergency RoomA normal life is both a blessing and a curse.  For over two years, the monthly struggles and successes of Jessica’s recovery merited lengthy updates.  During year three, life normalized and changes became less noticeable and interesting.  It’s not that recovery had ended, just that life had normalized.

As unlucky as Jessica was with major trauma, she had good fortune when it came to the day-to-day illnesses that plague us all.  It had been years since she had the flu or any kind of stomach bug.

This past weekend, it seemed her luck with low level illness had come to an end.  Jess was listless and weak.  She repeatedly felt she needed to throw up.  Like all girls with long hair, Jess needed a helping hand to hold it back while she tried to rid herself of her stomach pain.  In addition, she needed a firm hand on her back to help her maintain a sitting position on the bed.

Crackers and sips of water sustained her throughout the day.  The handful of bathroom trips yielded little success.  We assumed dehydration and hoped she would soon kick the bug.  An early trip to bed was preceded by a struggle to get up the stairs.  The weakness in her body neared that of the early days of recovery.


A Tough Night

There would be little sleep this night.  Several attempts to throw up were unsuccessful.  Then Jess decided on a (middle of the night) trip to the bathroom.

Her condition required a strong hand to guide her path.  Within two steps she seemed to be unable to control her legs.  A few more steps and she went completely limp.  One minute I was assisting Jessica, the next I was holding up a limp body.

Shouting her name and yelling “wake up” had no effect.  I tried anyway, realizing how difficult it had just become to keep her from crumpling to the ground.  It’s amazing how heavy a person becomes when they are no longer able to put any weight on their feet.  It’s so much harder moving a limp upright body than it is to help even the heaviest person take a step.

It’s a scary and humbling experience to have someone’s life in your hands.  At one point it felt that she would crumple to the ground.  After some repositioning, that catastrophe was prevented and we slowly lumbered back to the bed.

Once back, I tried to wake her some more before dialing 9-1-1.  Shouting didn’t work.  Neither did shaking, rubbing, or any other kind of movement.  Her body was cold and lifeless.


A Moment of Deja Vu

The first time I experienced this condition was three years ago during her initial trauma.  My mind flashed back to that scene and recalled how she went from normal to lifeless within a second.  The fear I felt now was the same.  A million thoughts, concerns, and regrets flowed through my mind at once.  My brain expanded to process all (these) feelings traveling on this superhighway of emotion.

Once the paramedics were on their way, there were some signs of life.  As I woke the kids and barked out their orders, Jess gained just enough consciousness to apologize for inconveniencing all of us.

Help arrived and charged up to our bedroom.  After several tries, they were able to find a vein to insert a needle and begin the IV.  They measured her pulse and blood pressure, finding both to be terrible.

Within minutes, the fluid allowed Jess to return to maintain a semiconscious state.  She would likely remember this event and her trip in the ambulance.

By the time Jess was carried out, I was sure that she would make it.  At the hospital, I hoped to discover and treat whatever caused this event.

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