Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There is Always Tomorrow…or is There?

Ever since I was very young I always knew I was to write down the stories and lesson I have learned in life. I have been working on it here and there, but mostly I figured I could work on it when I get old.

Then I had a very frightening experience that made me realize I might not have tomorrow or “when I get old”. And since I feel these stories are very important for my children and grandchildren I have put them together so they can be put into a book.

My wake up call…

On February 12, 2010 Ralph and I went to a Valentines dance put on by our stake. As we were dancing I could tell I was starting to get sick. I ended up having a stomach flu. Whatever I ate went right through me!

While using Warfarin (blood thinner) it is dangerous to keep taking this medication when you are sick because you blood will continually thin. Unfortunately I was unaware of this fact, nor did the doctor inform me, to stop taking this medication. After 10 days of having this bug Ralph took me to see the doctor. I told the doctor I was very dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out. The doctor took my pulse standing up, sitting up and laying down. Then the doctor said my blood pressure showed that I was fine and that I was probably just feeling dizzy from being sick so long.

I asked the doctor if they could take my INR which shows how thin my blood is. A normal person’s blood level is at a one and the doctors like to keep mine between 1.6 and two. The doctor said, “Sure we can check your INR and we can see what your level is.”  When the nurse took my INR the machine kept reading error. The nurse thought her machine was broken.

They took a blood sample from my arm to see if they could read my INR this way. I went home and waited for the doctor to call me back to let me know the INR results. Still not knowing to discontinue using Warfarin, I took my usual dose before I went to bed. Tuesday morning I woke up feeling even worse than I had the day before, but since the doctor said I was fine, I kept pushing myself. I even went to my children’s parent teacher conference. I felt so sick while I was there but kept telling myself that it was probably because I had had the stomach flu for so long.

Later in the day the doctor’s office called to tell me they would like to take another blood sample since the first sample had been lost. I went in and when they pricked my finger the machine read error again. The nurse said that was strange, because it had worked on other patients they had seen since I came in yesterday. Again they drew my blood so they could do further testing.

The next day “Wednesday” I felt even worse than I had the past few days. I thought to myself that I just had to build up strength from being sick: as usual I pushed on. The doctor’s office called for the third time and asked me to come in to get my blood drawn again. I was so sick I could hardly get myself to the doctor’s office.  

For the third time when they pricked my finger the machine read error. The nurse told me that she read up on the machine and figured out that the machine read error because my blood level was so high it could not read it. Then the nurse asked me, “Did they tell you how high your INR read?” I said no. Then the nurse told me that it read 16 on Monday, and Tuesday it read 19, but they thought it had to be a mistake because if it really was that high I should not be able to walk around. I jokingly said, “Well, I really don’t feel good!” I did not take it too seriously since neither the nurse nor the doctor seemed terribly concerned.

Wednesday is the day my daughter Laila and I babysit my grandson Bladen, while my daughter in-law Brooke teaches violin and piano. I felt I was too sick to go, but pressed on regardless. I thought, “When we get to Brooke’s house, I will rest for a few minutes and then I will feel better.” As I was driving there, I kept felling more and more sick. I truly felt like I was going to die.

After Laila and I got to Brooke’s house I hurried and laid down. As I was laying there I could tell I was only feeling worse, so I called my husband Ralph to come and pick me up. When Ralph got to Brooke’s house I could hardly move. Ralph and my son, Jared gave me a Priesthood blessing. Then I asked Ralph to take me to the emergency room so they could see if there wasn’t something that could be done to help me feel better. Ralph thought since I had been sick for so long I just needed to get home and get some rest.

At home I could hardly walk in the door, and once I stepped inside the door I collapsed onto the floor thinking I was going to die. Ralph heated up some soup for me hoping it would help me regain my strength, but I could not even lift the spoon to my mouth because I was too sick to do anything. Then the phone rang. It was the doctor, he asked Ralph if I was having blood coming out of my moth, nose or ears. Ralph told him no. Then the doctor told Ralph to take me to the nearest hospital.

We got to the hospital and they drew my blood. The doctor came in to tell me that because this time my blood level read 27 and they would be giving me some plasma since I was at risk for bleeding to death internally. They did a few tests on me and could tell I was having internal bleeding. When the doctor left, the nurse came in to tell me they were very busy and they had just had two ambulances come in spite of this, the nurse wanted me to know I was their number one priority.

When the nurse left I told Ralph that in case I didn’t make it through to do a few things for me. Ralph told me I would be fine and not to worry so much. I was in so much pain I was sure I was not going to live to see the next morning. I was sad that I had not written all my stories. I promised Heavenly Father that if I were to live I would make sure to write my stories down and writing would be my main concern.

A peaceful feeling came over me.  I knew that everything was going to be all right.  The nurse came in and I was wheeled into another room where they gave me plasma and morphine for the pain.  As I felt the medications enter my vein, I slowly started to feel better.  After I got home from the hospital I talked to a few people that I knew from the hospital. Everyone I talked to told me they had never seen a level as high as mine. The nurse I talked to also told me that they were sure I wasn’t going to make it through the night.  I search the internet to see what the highest INR was that was ever recorded. The highest I could find was 15.6, and then it said, “Needless to say this person died of internal bleedings.”

I realized just how blessed I am to be alive. I believe it was because of the Priesthood blessing I got, that I am still here and because I still have important work to do. I am so grateful for the Priesthood and for having a second chance at life and for writing my book.

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