Three weeks ago today…
Three weeks ago today, I had coffee with a girlfriend, dropped off some orders, grabbed lunch with another girlfriend, then went home to finish packing for my company conference. We were flying out at 8am the following morning.
Or so we thought. Thursday evening I felt like I might have acid reflux. It had started a few days before but nothing serious. By dinner Thursday it was very uncomfortable. I had only heard about acid reflux, but felt like I had all the symptoms. I went to lay down to see if I could just relax and hope it would go away.
Within a few moments of lying down, the pain got serious. I began to get a pain in the center of my back as well. I walked downstairs and told my husband I wasn’t comfortable getting on a plane the next morning without getting some medication for this, or to make sure that’s what it was.
We headed to the local ER Clinic
We decided to go ahead and head to one of the local ER clinics to get this taken care of. There are three near us, so as we got to the end of the street and decided to head to the one to the left. THAT was a God thing. We were being directed to that one for a reason that we were yet to understand.
As we arrived, they got me in right away. My pain was getting much worse. I began to think maybe it was my gal bladder. (here is where I will say…stop googling symptoms. Go see a doctor when you aren’t sure).
The doctor called for a CT Scan with contrast. We are so fortunate that the nurse doing the scan immediately brought the results to the doctor as she saw the issue. The second blessing was that the Doctor had seen this before and immediately reacted. What we didn’t realize at the time was that he got on the phone immediately to St. Lukes Hospital and Life Flight to get me there.
When the doctor came in to the room, I will admit, he scared us both to death. He asked if we were familiar with John Ritter, and when we both nodded in fear, he then said “exactly. It’s as bad as it gets”. He went on to explain about a surgeon he was familiar with at St. Lukes and that he had Life Flight on the way. Duane started making phone calls.
My parents were in Montana visiting my sister, and it was close to midnight there by then. They immediately went in to action to get home. My sister and my niece decided to come as well. My son lives in Arlington, so he got his things together to make the drive in. Nicole and Jordan came to pick up Duane so that he wouldn’t be alone, and drove him to meet me at the hospital since he couldn’t fly with me. Danielle went ahead to the hospital to scope it out and tell everyone where to go and where we were.
The paramedics that assisted me where amazing. Although I know I had pain meds by that time, I will say that it was a unique experience and I actually had an incredible view as I lay next to the window of the city and the lights. I spent some time at that moment thinking about how blessed my life has been.
It was only 6 minutes, but felt like much longer. I hope to be able to thank these people one day.
Though things are a little fuzzy once I got to the hospital, I do recall that Danielle and Duane were right there. She was taking notes from the doctor, which we are so grateful for. Duane was already a mess, so having her there helped so much.
I was in a very busy area. It was ICU, and this is a learning hospital. Dr. Preventza is the Professor of Surgery for the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery for Baylor College of Medicine. We hit the jackpot getting her. She is incredible and has the BEST bedside manner I have ever experienced. She was thorough and patient in her explanations. It was still very hard to comprehend, but we felt much better being in her hands.
To make a long story a bit shorter, I had surgery. I had what is known as an Aortic Dissection. (it’s easier to google that than for me to explain). I had an 8″ tube (diameter of a water hose is what I’ve been told) inserted to help the tearing heal. None of us could understand how that happened to me, since I have no health issues. So I had surgery and remained in ICU for another couple of days. Once I was moved to my own room, it was a matter of 24 hours before I was able to go home.
Why did this happen?
This type of thing does not run in my family, so that’s not it. I’m a healthy person, so it’s not underlying health issues. The only thing that we can seem to pinpoint is an uptick in stress. Yep, the entire world is experiencing more stress, so it makes sense that mine has increased as well. And I tend to shove things down and think I’m going with the flow. lol So, at this moment, I’m trying to figure out how to deal with stress a bit different.
Moral of my story
The actual reason I decided to write this is for a couple of reasons.
One – Many have asked me what happened, so for anyone I haven’t gotten back to, here it is.
Two – If you have pain in your chest, don’t google symptoms or assume it’s nothing serious. Duane and I literally kept trying to downplay what I was feeling that night. I’m so thankful that I decided I wasn’t getting on a plane until I knew for sure, so headed to an ER Clinic. No matter how healthy you are, don’t assume or downplay pain.
I never in a million years would have thought something like this could happen to me. I never checked my blood pressure. When I had been to the doctors in the past, if it was a little high, we all wrote it off to “white coat disease”. You know…when your blood pressure goes up just because you are in a doctors office. .
Three – God is good. When we think of the series of events, we realize that Jesus had His hand in it all. It could have gone so different. I now want to live my life more intentional and figure out how to give back ten fold.
My wish: To my gal pals, take care of yourself and find ways to deal with stress. We tend to take care of and carry a lot of stress for everyone…our family, our friends, our kids, our jobs, etc…so do things to take care of you. For anyone with high blood pressure, stay on top of that. I never realized what could happen. I’ve been healthy and hardly ever even catch a cold! So this came as a complete shock. I’m still shocked to be honest.
It will be a little while
Now the part that I’m currently experiencing. I have strict orders to remain resting for several weeks. My brain is already back to go mode, so I’m finding ways to feel productive without getting stressed. I never realized how just a conversation can really raise blood pressure. Now I’m very sensitive to the feeling in my body when I begin to get frustrated. I’m learning lots of things.
I’m very appreciative to everyone for having patience with me during this time. I’m doing things behind the scenes without actually getting out there. It’s different, but I’m doing what the doc orders because I’m just grateful to be here.
I want to also end with a thank you to so many. My friends and family that have kept us in your prayers. For the cards and flowers. For the sweet messages, texts and visits.
For my son who quickly got here and even though he’s back home now, still checks on me daily, the girls (and their men) for being there the entire time and making sure Duane was taken care of (and me too…thank you for the pampering where you could!), Drew’s friends Jordan and Jake for being there for me AND Drew, my sis and my niece for coming to be with me, my brother in law, my sister in law, our sweet friends for coming home early from their trip to see me, my parents for being here and helping with meals and coming by when I’m here alone to be sure I’m ok.
And my husband for being my rock through it all. He slept in his truck while I was in ICU, then on the uncomfortable couch once I had a room. He never left the hospital. Then took 2 weeks off of work to be here with me. He kept me feeling strong through it all. I have never felt so much love and am so appreciative and thankful for each and every one of you.
I’m ready to heal and enjoy each of you even more very soon!
Love to you all, XOXO