September 14th, 2012…….
I awoke like any other day. I hadn’t felt good for along time, and within the past week I was getting worse. I knew something just wasn’t right but had no idea what it was. I avoided going to the DR because we had no insurance.
Today Jon and I had plans to go to the homecoming parade, we were planning on meeting our daughter and 2 grandchildren there and I couldn’t wait to see them. We got ready, then we left as we were a few miles out of town I said we need to go back I forgot my cell phone. (I’m sure glad I made that decision to turn around and get the phone, I also did the driving this day) We got a sandwich where my brother works and he asked us if we could wait around 5 minutes and give him a ride home. We said sure, we dropped him off along the way.
We arrived in Fairbury and met our daughter and 2 grandchildren uptown, we were smiling enjoying watching the kids as the parade began. About 15 minutes into the parade I began to get very hot and sweat very bad.
When we got in the car I told Jon (my husband) I didn’t feel right. Then I began to vomit profusely (never in my life had I vomited like that). The feeling in my head began to worsen and everything was becoming a big blur. I could barely see my cell phone. Jon said do you wanna go home and lay down, at first I said yes take me home! Then I began to have blackouts and I told him you better take me to the SELCAS Ambulance Garage, because something wasn’t right. ( I remember telling Jon it must be food poisoning from eating at McDonald’s a few hours earlier. (I didn’t tell Jon all the symptoms because I didn’t want to worry him at this point, all he knew was I was vomiting)
Within a few minutes we arrived he went inside to get the local EMTS and they came out right away. They helped me walk to the ambulance. The guys began to ask questions and started IVs. They told Jon they were going to transport me to Pontiac Hospital. Away we went. Jon went to tell my children about what was going on at this point then they all went together to the hospital.
We were halfway to the Hospital and I began to get a very bad pain in between my shoulder blades. The EMTs then hooked me up to a machine and said I was having a heart attack. (A heart attack age at 43 really is what went through my head?) They said we are going to St. Joseph Hospital instead of Pontiac. I told one of them to call my mom at first they said we need to take care of you first, I said I will do what you say as long as you call my mom and let her know what was going on. I was able to tell them moms number, They phoned Jon and my mom to tell them what was going on and that they wasn’t going to Pontiac Hospital but to St. Joseph instead. When they hung up with mom I said is she ok I don’t want her to worry? In my mind I figured since I was awake and she knows from dad having had a heart attack what the procedure was she would be ok. They told me there would be a team of Drs. and nurses awaiting my arrival and that I would be taken to the cath lab. They were great EMTs kept me calm during the ride to the hospital. The pain was getting worse began to feel it in my chest at this time, felt as if I was going to pass out anytime. I even remember asking one of them If i pass out will you wake me back up? As we were getting closer to Bloomington one of the guys yelled at the driver said as soon as you get to Bloomington turn on them sirens and don’t stop til you hit the hospital. At this point I was truly terrified.
While they were taking me out of the ambulance I looked at one of the EMTs (Jeremy) and asked if i was going to be ok he nodded and said yes. So I said to him I will be by SELCAS when I get out of here to see you guys. They rushed me into a room in the ER and there was a nurse standing there. I told her to contact my mom and don’t keep anything from her, and told her my husband was on the way. The EMTs said we are going to count to 3 and move you to there bed. They said 1..2..3.. that was last thing I remembered. At that time I was told I went into cardiac arrest.
This is what I’ve been told that happened……
The ambulance crew immediately began CPR on me. I was told that I even spoke during CPR. I was shocked 20 times with defibrillator, I was resuscitated for 28 minutes. When they got me stable they rushed me to the cath lab. Where they put 3 stents in, I had 100% blockage.
What I do remember….
I remember I came out of my body (I was actually floating in mid air) and headed toward the very bright light very very fast then I stopped and In front of me was my DAD he pointed at me and said go back. So I turned around and it was dark and very very fast I went back , I went back into my body, then I heard 1..2..3..clear. At this time I could see someone standing over me and I could feel my body shake it was blurry tho.(I assume that was one of the times they shocked me).
This is what my husband told me….
He and the children arrived to the hospital shortly after my arrival and they took them to a room and told them I had 3 major heart attacks, went into cardiac arrest and coded 2 times. That my heart had a 100 percent blockage and they put three stents in. They told him I was in ICU and that I was on life support. At that point they didn’t know if I was going to make it through the night or if there was any brain damage. They said it would be awhile before anyone would be allowed to see me. A pastor from the hospital came to pray with them.
Mom had called a friend Bonnie and her husband Tom and asked them to go to the Hospital, they came to the hospital and laid hands on me and prayed. (At this time mom had not come to the hospital this was very hard on her, it is my understanding my sisters had to talk her into it. I truly understand how hard this must of been for my mom, no mother wants to see there child in this condition) Mom also asked her pastor for prayers. Some of my family called people asking for prayers and some posted on there Facebook page asking for prayers. The prayer chain was enormous. I’m here to tell ya all PRAYERS DO GET ANSWERED!
Several hours later the family was able to take turns and come in to see me. I could not imagine what they were going through at this moment.
By the grace of GOD I woke up the next morning! By my bedside stood a Dr. and she leaned over and told me I was an ANGEL. Of course at that time I had no clue as to what she was talking about. With the tube being down my throat I was unable to ask any questions. My sister Annette was told by one of the Drs the next morning that he didn’t think I would make it through the night.
They began to wean me off the life support, and later that morning I was breathing on my own and they were able to remove it. It was a very emotional time when they took it out and able to talk to the family and hear all that Id endured. I remember the first thing I said was I seen DAD! Later that day and the next couple of days I had visits from the emergency room staff, they told me there stories and how lucky I was to be here. All of them said GOD has big plans for you. I had a visit from one of the ER DRs and that was very emotional one we cried together as we shared what we both had remembered.
My daughter Amanda never left her fathers side til I was awake and talking and I told her I wanted her to go home to take care of the kids that I would be fine GOD will take care of me. Micheal my oldest son had made plans to go pick of my youngest son the next day. All that Dereck knew was I had a heart attack the kids didn’t go into much detail with him. I remember when Dereck arrived the next morning and I told him myself what had happened and I told him your dad and siblings must of had a reason as to keep it from you til you arrived. He said to me Mom I’m glad they waited til I arrived because you were off life support by then and I don’t think I could of dealt with that.
The next day they got me up and we went for a short walk this was very painful for me. The nurse kept saying to me lets walk a little further. I said to her in a very nice voice have you ever had CPR her response was no, so I kindly said well we are going to do this at my pace because I’m in a lot of pain and each day it will get better and will be able to walk farther.
By the end of day 2 I was moved to the step down unit and was able to walk to my new room. O it wasn’t easy but I made it.
On the 4th day I was released from the hospital to go home. I was truly terrified thinking what if this happened again would I get to the hospital in time? My little sister took us home. I was in so much pain and bruised badly from the CPR. One of my bruises had a white heart in the center of it. I took a picture of this because I thought it was amazing. When we arrived back in town Annette, Jon, Dereck and I stopped by to SELCAS to visit with them, I wanted to thank them for the good job they did. We exchanged hugs ( which I said please be careful) They shared there story with us at this time and I told them what I had remembered. They told me as they were getting ready to leave the hospital after I had been taken to the cath lab they heard code blue in the cath lab and figured I probably didn’t make it. The next day they wanted to know but all of the EMTs were to afraid to make that call. One of the other lady EMTs called my sister to see how I was, they were so relieved to hear I pulled through.
My memory, thinking, and concentration were just not right and I had mentioned these to the Drs. and they had believed it would go away. I was forgetting things that would come natural to me for instance forgetting to turn off the stove and ingredients in recipes. I noticed my concentration was horrible. I Continued my recovery at home changing my diet to heart healthy (which was different for me but not horrible considering what I had been through) I would go for walks a couple of times a day with each day being able to go a little farther.
My memory wasn’t showing any improvement so the Dr. told she was referring me to a Nuerophycologist to have a memory test done. The 1st available appointment was in August of this year. I didn’t want to wait so long for them answers so I prayed everyday that I could get in sooner. So my Dr. office had contacted me one day and said they found a Neurophycologist in Joilet and they had called them asking if he would take me as a patient. He said he would review my medical records and call. A little over a week had passed and a nurse called asking if I had heard anything from Joliet said no not yet, I told her GOD will take care of me. Within 5 minutes of hanging up with her I received a call from Joliet that the DR wanted to take me on as a patient after reading my records and he was doing this free of charge. I cried and thanked them many times, I wanted this test because I wanted answers. They set up an appointment for me to come in the next week for a memory test. Then a little over a week after that I had went back for the results. He told me I was disabled, he said that I have significant short term memory loss, I have some long term memory loss also. I Also have mild cognitive impairment, which affects my thinking, concentration, inability to learn new things etc. He told me I could not work in a normal capacity. I have to admit I cried, then I thought about it and thought I’m alive I can deal with the rest.
I have been diagnosed with Anoxic Brain Damage and Mild Cognitive Impairment which couple are mild and few are moderate to severe. Living with this has been a difficult change in my life.
I have had numerous people say to me why did they work on you so long and not give up. I have to believe that it was all in GODs hands, he was in control that day. Some people say o you look great for what you have been through you don’t look disabled. I do look great and you cant see my disability and talking to me you probably would never know.
Your life can change at the blink of and eye we are never promised tomorrow, let your loved ones know everyday how much you love them.