August 5, 2009

Angels In The Night

(As also posted on my Coupon blog with tiny modifications)

Roused from sleep last night by a burning, choking, sensation in my chest and throat, I sat up on the side of the bed and reached for my bottle of Tums as I sometimes do when I have a GERD episode. Except this time I felt different! My lungs felt 'bubbly' when I coughed, and each time I coughed, my lungs felt more on fire and full of liquid. I wanted to reach over to alert hubby or grab the phone and call for help, but it took all my effort to remain calm and try not to cough. I couldn't speak, my breathing was getting worse, and my lungs sounded like I was blowing through a straw in water.

Believe it or not, just as I was beginning to wonder if I would die all alone at the side of the bed about 24-hours ago, hubby woke up with a start and asked if I was okay. C-A-l-l 9-1-1 was all I could force from the fire in my throat and chest full of bubbles.

He did what I asked without hesitation, and they came in full force with firetrucks, ambulance, and red emergency lights filling the cool night air. As I heard the sirens in the far distance coming closer, I reassured myself that if I was to quit breathing now, maybe they would get here soon enough to revive me.

The oxygen and professional group of paramedics crowded into our small living room, calmed my panic a little. They started oxygen, stuck my left hand with an lancet and checked my B/P on the other arm. A kind female paramedic listened to my lung sounds and heartbeat. As they loaded me into the back of the ambulance and started other procedures to ease my discomfort, I was able to give hubby a little reassuring wave through the back window.

I heard all the results of various tests they were doing. I understood the medical jargon of the paramedic as she notified the ER of our pending arrival. I knew from personal experience just what steps would be taken as they wheeled me into the tiny exam room of the ER. No I wasn't having 'chest pain' as in heart attack. (Even though they tested me for that.) Yes, they usually get a good vein in the left anticubital, but tonight it took two paramedics and three nurses and five needle sticks to finally get an IV going that eventually infiltrated. A cocktail of Maalox and Zylocain put out the fire in my throat. (Why can't I keep some of that magic stuff at home?) A breathing treatment opened some airways, and a chest x-ray and several blood tests were done. With hubby holding my hand, and nurses close by, I began to improve and slowly become able to breathe and talk again.

I'm home now. Still feeling washed out, and I have a really bad sore throat and tickle in my chest. I'm almost afraid to eat anything or lie down for sleep! I missed an entire day of class for which I'm not happy about! I had not been absent or even tardy this entire term!

But, I'm very thankful for my "night angels' last night. Including the one who woke up my husband! The professionally trained EMT's, paramedics, firemen, nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists. I appreciate even more, my loving, caring family. I just hope I tell them often enough!

Please take this message to always be ready; be kind to everyone you meet on your journey, and live your life so that when "your life flashes before your eyes', you will have no regrets.

Take Care on the Journey,



Anonymous said...

Linda that sounds totally frightening! Was there an issue other than the GERD? I hope you are feeling better soon!


Katy said...

Yikes! What a horrible day you had! I was just thinking about you tonight so I'm glad I stopped by. Feel better!