Thursday

Letter 46: The 2 Days I Don't Remember


Dear Elizabeth,
            This is Brian, the guy you will someday call Grandpa.  Kimi wants me to tell you about the two days that she doesn’t remember. I don’t like remembering them or talking about them, but I will this time for her sake.
            I was startled awake in the morning.  It was morning but it was still dark.  I heard some noise that sounded like someone was falling down the stairs.
            I noticed that Kimi was not in bed and so assumed it was her.
            I ran down the hall and looked down the stairwell as I flipped on the light, but I didn’t see anyone.
            Then I heard the noise again and I thought maybe it was someone pounding on the door or pounding on a window outside.
            So I followed the noise back toward our room (in Aunt Cindy and Uncle Dwight’s house), and I heard it coming from the bathroom.  As I started opening the bathroom door, I realized it was Kimi convulsing on the floor.
            I had a hard time getting the door open because she was behind the door and it was a very small bathroom.
            I was trying to control my fear and confusion to figure out what I needed to do.
            As I knelt beside her to try to help, she was not responsive.  She finally stopped thrashing but her tongue was so swollen it filled her air-passage and mouth.  I could hear her fighting for breath, and I was just begging for her not to leave me.
            “Stay with me, Kimi.  Stay with me.”  I was trying to help.  Telling her to just breathe and that everything would be okay.
            After she had stopped convulsing I ran to Ethan’s room (my cousin) then to the top of the stairs, yelling for everyone to get up.  And I grabbed the phone and ran back into the bathroom.  I called 9-1-1 and as I was trying to calm her down, I was also trying to explain the situation to the operator and get them to send an ambulance.
            Finally, after what seemed like an hour (literally about a minute or two), she started to breathe more freely.
            The worst of my fear at that moment gave way to relief.  She started to open her eyes and she looked at me, but not in a way she had ever looked at me before.
            Her eyes revealed fear and bewilderment.  She tried getting up and bakcing away from me.  I told her just to relax, everything would be okay.
            In panic, she asked, “Who are you?  Where am I?”
            I convinced her just to lie there.
            The 9-1-1 operator just kept asking me about Kim’s condition and telling me that I was doing great (regardless of what I was saying).
            Kim finally came to herself, recognized me, and asked why she was on the floor.
            I told her I loved her and I was glad she was back, and everything was going to be okay.
            Just then the paramedics came, and they found your Grandma acting quite normal.  I was a little concerned no one was going to believe me.

            So they asked me to step aside and they helped her walk to the recliner in the living room.  They asked a lot of questions about how she felt, the medication she was on, then put her on a paramedic gurney, while I ran and grabbed a few essentials, finished getting dressed, and got ready to ride with her in the ambulance.
            Aunt Cindy was going to follow along in the car.
            I had to ride in the front seat of the ambulance.  I was trying to explain over and over, she was going to need a stress dose of Hydrocortisone.  (With Kim’s adrenal problem, if there is any major stress on the body—such as a car wreck, or major illness like surgery, or a seizure—she needs a stress dose of her medication.  Lack of it can be potentially fatal.)  I knew this was important, but doctors in the past had rarely listened to us.
            However, the poor paramedics don’t have Hydrocortisone, and couldn’t give it to her if they had it.
            A couple miles down the road, she started seizing again. 
            And screaming.
            It was very painful to watch my wife in such an altered state.
            They reassured me she’d be okay and would stop in a few minutes, but I could tell the seizures were getting worse and not better.
            And then they finished putting in the IV they had started when she began flailing about.  With your Grandma being a hard stick to start with, it was not easy in a moving ambulance while she was thrashing—a moving target.  She was not very cooperative.
            Finally we reached Akron General Hospital.  They told me to go around to the admittance desk while they wheeled her through the ambulance entrance.
            I gave them the necessary information, but they wouldn’t let me go back.
            I then tried to convince them that she needed Hydrocortisone.  They told me they would call me when I could go back, but for now I would have to wait. 
            Just wait . . .

To be continued . . .

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