The initial blog title rattling around in my brain for the last 24+ hours was, “You are THE ONE who really cares.” After all, when each of us is alone in the midst of a trial (particularly when it is medical), it is only you that bears the greatest burden of the suffering. Others offer comfort, prayer, helps of various levels, and if you are lucky will actually stick around for more than a few moments. But it is you, one and only, who must bear the pain . . . And that can be frightening to say the least!
Rather than rant about what to do with fear, give platitudes and verses with which to train your mind, and otherwise avoid ministering to the weeping heart, I will simply offer this:
Just lay your head on the lap of Jesus.
More than anyone, Jesus Christ knows what it is like to be killed, pained, abandoned, betrayed, falsely accused. He is the only one Who can be with you as the Holy Spirit, in your time of sorrow from its beginning until its end. He will never leave us or forsake us and always be there if we but call upon His name. He is worthy of our
thanksgiving. I was reminded of all of this just yesterday!
About 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon I was abandoned in a treatment room of my doctor’s office. The nurse practitioner (NP) had left the room after writing an order for me to get IV fluids and after “catching” me collapse during a short convulsive episode during the appointment. After all, that’s why I was there: to document the crisis, get the orders, and head over to the hospital for treatment thereafter. I was sitting there kind of dazed. Soon after she left the room (and after another nurse came into the room to revise the scheduling of some other appointments), I began to list to one side. There was a chair next to me with my purse and water bottle resting on it. The weakness increased and a few inches at a time, I began falling to my right side, coming closer to the purse on the chair. I could not speak. I could not brace myself. I could not do anything but be glad there was a chair next to the one upon which I was sitting so as to break my fall.
The next 20-30 minutes were very ugly. My body collapsed fully onto the chair next to me. My face smashed into the zipper of the purse while my glasses and cover-style sunglasses pressed into my face. I looked straight ahead with my head rotated completely to my left, straining my neck most uncomfortably. The front of my right ear was crushed underneath me on the purse whilst the back was free-falling unsupported; the back of my head pressed into the vinyl backrest of the metal chair. Not exactly pillow material! My right hip was twisted and pushed into the thinly padded, vinyl seat of the chair upon which I was sitting. The ringing in my ears had already increased with the headache that had been working its way into action over the past hour. Legs cramping, toe tips burning as much as my finger tips, and feet struggling to keep contact with the floor to stabilize my position . . . herein I would remain for the next 90 minutes.
I thought about many things. First, I prayed. I prayed again and again and talked to God about many things. Will they be coming soon? Do I hear them coming? Was I expected to go out to the nurse’s desk after the NP left the room or was she coming back with more instructions? I really could not remember since I was already in the brain fog of recovering from the earlier episode that she had witnessed before she left the room. Surely the staff would notice that I had not left the room yet? Or maybe not. I waited in that same treatment room (#4) TWO HOURS the last time I saw the NP before I stepped out to mention that I was in there waiting. “I didn’t know you were in there waiting for me,” she explained with her soft, sweet voice that I would learn never changes even in the midst of an emergency . . .
Time passed. It was hard to ignore the searing pain of the two pairs of glasses being pressed with my full upper body weight into the side of my nose. I could not move to get more comfortable. I still couldn’t speak. I tested this out and nothing happened. In a while when I tested it again, my arm would start shaking; if I tried my leg, my leg would start shaking. This is what I call, “neurological collapse” at it’s finest. I learned on in a Catamenial Epilepsy Facebook page that in true epilepsy (which I do not have) has a name for this phenomenon called, “Todd’s paralysis.” It can go on for up to 48 hours and mimic the signs/symptoms of a stroke. Todd’s paresis usually resolves on its own without any residual effects. I have experienced this complication at least once per week for the last 3 years. Gratefully, most of the time the residual effects for me resolve within 2 hours, at home, in the evening, and within reach of my beloved husband!
There is nothing I can do to quicken the process of recovery from an episode. It takes what it takes. Knowing this I tried to calm myself down and focus on my breathing despite my twisted posture. My rib cage was constricted so I did what I could to at least slow down each inhale, each exhale. I did what I could to keep my neck and shoulder muscles tensed a bit so as not to twist my upper torso any more extremely than it already was. I tried to relax the crushed tissues on my face so the pain would subside. This worked poorly. Suddenly the voices beyond the closed door seemed louder. Then I heard the doctor’s voice. This would be the time to try and vocalize something for help. My voice was weak. help. Help. I tried many times. Probably no one in the same room with me would have heard those first cries.
I redoubled my efforts. I took a deeper breath and vocalized a little louder, “Help!” Then I rested and made more attempts, “HELP!” Surely the door cannot be that thick! I can see a crack at the bottom between the wood of the door and the low pile carpeting. “HEEEEEEELP!!!” I cried again. My nose was running from the first time I had started to cry, dripping onto my purse. Fortunately it is made of an outdoorsy, washable fabric. Your mind thinks of all kinds of things when you are trapped.
To be continued in Part 2