Thursday, December 22, 2011

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There's No Place Like HOME For The Holidays

I'm going to tell you a story. It's even a true story. Refill that coffee cup, take a lil potty break, and hunker down, people. It's a good one.

As you know, I've not been feeling well. I do not like not feeling well. I'm sure you can relate. However, last night, not feeling well turned into being unable to draw a complete breath. And then it combined with burning pain from shoulder to shoulder, across my collarbone. And then there was the searing, burning pain that went through my body, from right under my rib cage right through to my spine. And the hyperventilating. And the pain down my arms. Yes, people. I thought I was having a heart attack. And with good reason, I might add.

#1 had her first experience calling the good people at 911 last night for her mother, who was gasping for air and writhing in pain on the parlor sofa. They were quick. And so were MY parents, who stood there and watched me struggle to breathe while 5 paramedics did their thing.  I could see one of the paramedics promising my sobbing #4 that I wasn't going to die (Thank you, paramedic who is also a mother, for knowing how important this was). I could feel my Dad holding my hand. But nothing really registered as it normally would. I couldn't breathe unless I was standing, and I was in excruciating pain that I couldn't tolerate if I was standing. And that was all I could think about.

I actually walked out to the ambulance because well, I could. And I tried to fall on the paramedic behind me as I climbed in ( I was a lil wobbly) . And we were off! For about... 3 minutes. Until the paramedic in charge said he didn't like the way the ambulance was running. And I'm thinking, "Uh, that's not good".  Then he decided it would be a good idea to pull over and shut everything down for a minute to let it reset. And I'm thinking, "Uh... THAT'S not good." and then everything went dark. And I'm thinking, "Uh, okay. Really. That's NOT good!"  Also, that wasn't really helping the hyperventillating factor for me.

We got going again, and I couldn't stop writhing. Just could. not. stop. And the paramedics are doing their thing (did I mention there was a student on the ambulance as well?), trying to get an IV in, sticking on EKG leads, telling me to stop breathing fast (Have I mentioned I don't follow directions well?), taking blood sugars, blowing through every vein they try on my left arm (fourth time is the charm!), and explaining everything and turning it into an impromptu exam for the baby paramedic.And my chest still hurts, and I can't take a full breath.

Fast forward 40 miles, to the ER. I'm breathing somewhat normally. My chest still hurts. And I'm there for a couple of hours while they suck out everything but 3 drops of blood, take chest xrays, and EKG, and ask me 14 times if I could be pregnant. And I'm repeating over and over in my head "Do NOT tell me it's gas. Do NOT tell me it's gas..." because if that were the case, I would just feel stupid.

While I'm there, my parents show up.. which surprised me actually, because who was with my children? The Daddy is still out of town. They tell me a little story, which boils down to "the incredibly cool, buckets of awesome women in this predominantly LDS town are taking care of your children while we are here". Loosely translated, that means  "Neighbors are cleaning your house and doing your dishes and tending your children." Oh and also, they are bringing dinner tonight. I love this tiny little town.

Turns out? I pulled muscles away from my chest wall with the extremely not fun vomiting. And yes, the pain and the inability to breathe is all because of that. And yes, that does indeed mimic signs of a heart attack. However, my chest xray and EKG and all the cardio type stuff checked out clean. I was doing the happy dance in my head.  But there was this little corner of my brain that was saying, you know... you're 37. And you ARE old enough to have a heart attack. And you DO have a lot of stress. And, face it lady. You NEED to be healthier. And it wouldn't hurt to lose some weight.. and that's when I stopped listening to that particular corner of my brain. But...

Here's the point. There are a lot of things that, as a mother, I can deal with. For example, though it's not fun, I can deal with my children in an ambulance getting emergency care. I can handle my child having an extreme allergic reaction, and I can do what it takes to get him what he needs. I can cope with the drama that IS a fact of life with large families. Want to know what I can't handle, even a little? I can't handle thinking about what would happen to my children if/when I die.

Every parent knows that their children will out live them, God willing. But things happen. There are heart attacks and car accidents, and terminal diseases. There are hurricanes and wars and blood clots. And a hundred million other things that could happen. And I have never prepared for what will happen to my children if I die while they are young.

So today, while I hold my clingy little monsterlettes (but NOT picking them up because lifting could hurt me even more. I have monsters that do that for me.) and rock them in the rocking chair, I am glad I am home for the holidays. I am determined to make plans for their futures. I feel that this would be the greatest gift I would ever be able to give them. Let's face it, y'all.. last night was kind of a mess. I had no plan in place.

Do me a favor. Take a little time. Make a plan. Make sure it's water tight. You REALLY don't ever want to see a paramedic comforting your child and promising that you won't die...yet.

Images of ambulance and woman holding chest from Google Images. I love that place! 
Hand with an IV belongs to me. Literally.

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