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Danger Danger

That Little Girl has a little diddy she likes to sing. It goes something like this, “Danger! Danger! Choking Hazard. Choking Hazard. Danger! Danger! Choking Hazard. Choking Hazard….” It started a little bit after That Baby was born and there was a particular toy she wanted. We tried to explain all the small parts were dangerous to not just her but also her baby sister. We agreed to buy it if she kept it all out of her mouth, something we are still working on. So now she calls all similar toys, “choking hazard Tinkerbell” or “choking hazard such and such” when talking about them. Well, the next part of the story is about me and the day I felt like I was in danger and well, like someone was choking me. Don’t worry, they weren’t.

So, as I said before, I had just driven the girls to my parents house and we hopped in their car. We only got a few miles down the road when we decided to drive thru a Starbucks to grab lunch. I had been in such a hurry to get ready and get down to their place that I realized I should probably go in and use the bathroom. I jumped out of the car in the drive thru and ran into the store. I didn’t take anything with me since they were going to circle back around the little shopping mall and pick me up out front.

It was a super hot and muggy day for early September. I remember starting to feel funny after I left the ladies room. When I walked outside to wait for them to circle back around in the car, I felt like I walked into a sauna. I hate saunas. I never feel like I can breathe in them. Yup, that was exactly how I felt when I walked outside that day. Needless to say, I panicked a bit and turned around and walked back inside. Then everything started to get blurry and spinny and spotty and, well, I was pretty sure I was going to pass out. And then I realized I didn’t have my phone. Or my wallet. And they weren’t coming in to get me. If I passed out in the store, no one would no who I was or what to do and my family would be sitting outside while who knows what would happen to me inside. So I went back outside. And I panicked some more.

Then I decided the only option I had was to start walking in the direction my mom would be coming from. So I went along the sidewalk until it ended then started through the parking lot, around the back of the buildings. I felt like I had to very purposely put one foot in front of the other carefully. I was terrified I would pass out right there and hit my head on the pavement or get hit by a car. Seriously, not my smartest decision, but looking back there really weren’t any good options. As it turns out, my parents were still sitting at the drive thru window. Had I just gone the other direction, I would have been in much better shape.

From where my parents sat in the car, my mom said it looked like I was seriously angry and stomping back to the car. Like I said, in reality, it was taking total concentration and determination to get myself back to the car. I got in and told my mom it felt like someone had put two hands around my throat and was squeezing. I couldn’t breather. My heart was racing. I felt like all the blood was rushing both to and from my head. It was like all  the symptoms I had been telling the doctors about were happening at once and one hundred times worse than ever before. And to top it all off, it was really freaking scary so I was panicking inside but too tired to panic outside.

We pulled under a bank drive thru to get the car out of the sun. I tried sipping my water. My mom heard what I had eaten so far that day (not a whole lot) and thought immediately it was blood sugar related. I ate a chocolate chip cookie that we had just gotten. She asked me to take little bites and apparently I ate it pretty quickly from what she says. I plead the fifth. What can I say, chocolate chip cookies are always a favorite of mine! Eventually, I started to feel a little bit better and just really very tired. I was trying to explain to my parents what I was feeling, and asked them to just take the girls and I home. I was in no shape to drive. So we headed back to my house. At some point, I texted That Guy to let him know the new plan. I really just wanted to lay down in my own bed.

I was still getting a little bit dizzy and goofed up from riding in the car. Luckily I was in the passenger seat. As I said, my mom was driving and my dad was squeezed in the back between the two car seats. A few minutes into the drive, I decided to close my eyes and rest and see if that helped me to calm down and breathe better and just slow down my heart rate and so forth. Then next thing I knew my parents were screaming at me. I thought this was ridiculous and told them to relax, I had just fallen asleep while resting my eyes. Well, apparently, not so much. New plan, I was told, we were going to the emergency room. They had been calling my name and my dad shaking my shoulder for a few moments before I finally responded.

My first thing was to try to text That Guy with the updated plan. I have absolutely no idea why I felt a text was appropriate. My mom was driving like a maniac is all I remember, and I knew I needed to call the oncologist office as well. I remember an ambulance flying by us and asking if someone had called it for me! Nope. We were headed in on our own. Then I tried to call the oncologist office. I have them programmed in my phone but in my state I couldn’t find it. Then I was trying to google it. Nothing was functioning. I thought it was my phone. Pretty sure it was my brain. My dad was trying, as well. I remember them both scolding me for not having the numbers programmed in. Eventually, I called the on call doctor and tried to describe what happened when they called. He reiterated that I should head to the ER and they would help me there.

When we got to the ER, I was able to get out of the car. I was still not thinking clearly so I just grabbed what I needed and walked in. That Guy was headed to meet us. My dad was taking the girls back to my parent’s house, so I had to separate what he might need out of the diaper bag. I didn’t even kiss the girls or anything. Just walked in and up to the front desk. I was so annoyed because the ER was full. I was disgusted that I would be spending my afternoon waiting and around all these super sick people, or at least that is what I anticipated happening.

First, I walked in and told the first woman my name, what I was experiencing, what had happened in the car, and so forth. I also told them I was a “chemotography” patient (apparently I thought people were providing my medicine via photography or something in my oxygen deprived state). Then the second woman called me over and she took my vitals and found my heart was racing (yup, already knew that), but my oxygen was good. They were pretty efficient and moving me right along. I didn’t realize the reason why. Since I had a history of blood clots in my lungs, I thought the oxygen level was great news. Then the second woman asked me if I was “always this color”. So, I looked at my arms and said, oh yeah, my chest has been turning this tanner reddish purple color, too. By now, my mom had come in. That’s is when my mom looked at me and said, “You are purple. you just turned purple.” Both women at the desk were doing a great job and staying composed during all of this. The second woman had calmly gotten someone over immediately as I had been eyeing the wheelchairs wondering if I should just head over and sit down. Right at the perfect moment, a gentleman from triage got them and she motioned to get me one. That was just about when they told me I had turned plum and splotchy. As it turns out, when you walk in and can barely put a sentence together, let them know you passed out, and are turning the color of a plum from the chest up, you get moved to the front of the line. This is about when I realized that everyone could see how I was turning colors because they were looking at me funny so it wasn’t a parental overreaction. Realizing I was turning into Miss Plum was freaking me out.

Somehow though, I still thought spending a few hours there was going to be the worst part of my day. I was on a mission to get in and out of there and back on with my life without catching a cold, flu, virus, and so on and jeopardize starting my next treatment, and first cycle of the new drugs, scheduled for that Monday. I was really angry that these symptoms of whatever it was causing all this were still happening and now here I was sitting in the hospital and they likely wouldn’t be able to figure it out and it would all be a huge waste of time. The reality of what was going on was still not setting in for me. What I thought might be an afternoon and maybe the evening turned into a nine day stay.

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Comments

  1. How terrifying for you! The whole experience sounds like a nightmare. I can’t even guess what would cause those symptoms. I guess I’ll have to tune in next time for the diagnosis.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Once I was back in a little private triage room, which in reality was a hallway where there was a little staff room if I remember correctly, I remember feeling really puffy. I started taking off my rings. Then my necklace. Then my bracelet. And then my wig. The gentleman who had gotten me the wheelchair was seriously the most calm person ever considering the circumstances. He got my mom a little bag to put everything in for me (Catch up with my trip to the ER starting here). […]

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  7. […] him I was a walking miracle. I guess with all the things that have happened in the last year, the SVC clot I had, that I am telling you about in the past tense currently when I swelled up and stayed in the […]

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