Sunday, January 11, 2009

Conclusion of ER visit...

When they took H away on the stretcher, I was feeling very scared and was completely traumatized by what had just happened. Within a short period of time we went from stable in a relatively comfy room to a complete madhouse with Drs., nurses, techs and lord knows who else attending. I was sort of standing there, holding H's hand as much as I could, telling her between her bouts of unconsciousness everything was going to be OK and trying to make sense of the madness to completely alone in a hallway outside the OR doors wondering if it really was going to be OK. I started to cry there in the hallway. I had to get some air, so I found a side door and went outside and looked up. Please God, don't take her now.

Jack came and sat with me, we had coffee and a good talk. I think he told me something about his days in the army that he never told me before. Maybe it's times like these that you need to hear something like that to take your mind off of what must be going on in the OR. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably about two hours, they came to find me and let me know that everything went fine and that H was in recovery and I could go up in a few minutes.

As we waited for her to regain her wits, I got a briefing from the Dr. that did the surgery. Something had gone wrong with the termination of the ectopic pregnancy and a blood vessel in her abdomen had "burst" and she was bleeding internally. The "leaking" of the vessel was the cause of the initial pain and then when we were there at the hospital it finally separated totally and wound up squirting about 2.5 litres of blood into her abdomen. This represented, I think about 1/2 of the blood in her whole body.

Of course, this blood had to be replaced, and so bags and bags of donated blood went into her veins. This shock to her blood system led to some issues that did not resolve right way. It seemed that her body was rejecting the blood in some way and was not creating new red blood cells at the appropriate rate. They kept us there, kept giving her blood and finally had to do a consult with a hematologist to try and figure out what was going on. Finally, they gave her some other plasma products, platelettes and something else which seemed to correct the issue.

Though we missed our youngest daughter's birthday party (the day we went in) we were going home on Heidi's Birthday. Many of us were given a gift that day, and it was H's life. She almost lost it, and didn't. Because of what we are going through now, with all the pain we are living with every day, I still have to give thanks for all the moments from that day to this one that she is still here. I will endure anything I have to to have even one more smile or laugh, or heartfelt moment with me or between her and the girls.

Heidi made a speedy recovery from that. it wasn't until a couple of months later that she began to feel some unexplained weakness in her hands. This is where the ALS story begins. I wanted to tell the story of the ectopic disaster because we have always felt that the proximity of it to the beginning of Heidi's weakness was too coincidental. Before that day, she was one of the healthiest, strongest, most active people I've ever met. Three or four months later, she couldn't cut the girls' fingernails.

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