April 20, 1999 was the day I was discharged from the hospital after the abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery on April 13, 1999. Many strange things had happened while I was in the hospital and many more were yet to come. Before I was discharged I spent the day watching the Columbine shooting coverage that was on every channel. Since my emotions were already raw and in an upheaval watching that affected me in ways I can’t even describe.
I had spent four days in ICU hooked up to many tubes and wires. I don’t remember much of that time except two distinct things. One, a friend was there reading Scriptures to me and it made me super agitated and I think I screamed and swore at her. (Keep in mind I was heavily medicated with morphine, which I later discovered causes uncontrollable rage in me). And the other thing I remember is screaming endlessly, “HELP ME, SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME, HELP ME, SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!” over and over because the pain was so horrendous. A dark haired woman with a white collar wearing black or blue came in. She had glasses and very kind eyes. She asked if she could pray for me and I said, “Yes.” I don’t remember the prayer but the next thing I remember I was being moved from ICU to a regular room. It was day four of my stay. I asked the nurses moving me to please tell that nice reverand thank you for me and they both gave each other an odd look. The one nurse said there hadn’t been a reverend in my room. I described her and she said that no one by that description had even been in the ICU area. I now believe she was an angel sent by God to comfort me during those horrible painful days in the ICU.
After three more days (a total of seven) in the hosptial I was released to a new normal. I had 52 staples down my middle from my chest area down and pain unlike any pain I’ve ever felt in my life. This was going to be the beginning of a new journey I had no interest in taking.
The days and months following the bypass surgery were very strange. I couldn’t think right and was scared to death. I would drive to the grocery store three blocks away from my house only to get lost on the way back. Some days I couldn’t even figure out which keys would start my 77 Pontiac. I would find my milk in the cabinets and my cereal in the refrigerator. (Since I live alone I couldn’t very well blame it on anyone else.) Every task was far more difficult than before. When I told my doctor he explained that sometimes after bypass surgery that happens, but usually within six months it clears up. And thankfully it did.
But what was to come next threw a curveball at me. I knew the bypass didn’t work, I could tell within days of being released from the hospital. Follow up visits to the doctors confirmed my suspicions. The bypass had shut down. The next step was imminent, my kidney had to be removed. My blood pressure was running 180/110 or higher, stroke zone. So six months to the day I was in the hospital again. But that’s a story for another time.
So today is fifteen years from the start of my new life after abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery. Nothing has ever looked the same and some days are very difficult indeed.
But there are moments when I thank God to still be alive and kicking. Like the Easter service I attended at Bethany Wesleyan Church last night. It was probably one of the most powerful services I’ve ever seen to in my life.
Today I’m Grateful For:
1. Texting with a friend last night.
2. The beautiful sunshine outside today.
3. Wearing a pretty dress for Easter.