The surgery on Monday didn't go like we planned, to say the least.
And by that, I mean they couldn't even do the surgery. Because it was a laparoscopy, the first step was to inflate my stomach with gas. Usually, when they do this, a patient's blood pressure and heart rate slowly decrease to a low level and remain there during the surgery.
Well, with me, the queen of freak extreme reactions, my heart rate went from 60+ to 0 in just a few seconds.
I was clinically dead for about a minute, until they managed to restart my heart with drugs and chest compressions.
Needless to say, they stopped the surgery there. I woke up from the anesthesia as they were wheeling me to the post-op, and I remember my first thought being "I should be in a lot more pain than this." Not long after that, the anesthesiologist started talking, and I could only catch bits and pieces of what he was saying, but those bits and pieces were plenty.
"couldn't do the surgery" "heart stopped" "a minute" "epinephrine" "chest compressions"
It's hard enough to figure out where you are when you're coming out of surgery. That's one hell of a wakeup greeting. I immediately started sobbing, but they had an oxygen mask on me, so everything was super dry, so there were no tears, just my whole body shaking. It was...not pleasant. Holly could barely speak when they brought her in there and I told her what happened.
They kept me overnight to monitor my heart and run a couple of tests, just to make sure that my heart was okay and that this was indeed just a rare extreme reaction to the gas. I figured it would be, because I've never had a problem with my heart, surgically or otherwise.
Once I got upstairs, I had to deal with this crazy old lady roommate, so it was about an hour before they moved me and I actually got somewhere comfortable. She was screaming because some friends of mine from church called to pray over me, even though I had headphones in and was speaking barely above a whisper. The nurse was in and out doing things, so I even confirmed with her that I was not being loud (because I know that sometimes I can be without realizing it), and she looked at me and mouthed "No, I'm so sorry." So they moved me to a different section of the floor where I didn't sleep (because I never do in hospitals more than a couple hours) but I at least had some peace and could talk to people without being screamed at. Hospitals make me incredibly anxious when I'm there alone. I was not going to apologize for talking to my people.
The best part of the whole time was getting to FaceTime with two of my soccer boys. They were so, so sweet, and it was really humbling to see how worried they were about me. Don't get me wrong; obviously, I knew they love me, but I just never really thought about how important me being in their lives is to them.
The first one told me that losing me was something he didn't even want to think about as a possibility, and so I just tried to reassure him like "Hey, I'm right here. I'm fine. I'm right here." I was kind of cracking jokes and trying to laugh it off because that's generally how I process stuff like this at first, and he said "You're suppressing the emotions, aren't you? This is the last thing you should be laughing off." I told him that if I didn't laugh, I'd cry, and not long after that, he started crying. That broke my heart. This kid is the type of guy who is always Mr. Stoic, cool, it's all good. The only times I've seen him remotely upset outside of a soccer game loss are the first time he saw me have a seizure and the night he found out I got bullied. So to see him that emotional just at the idea of something happening to me was so, so humbling. The cutest part was that he was practically falling asleep while on FaceTime, but he refused to hang up until he knew that the second guy was awake and was going to call me. He told me "I can't leave you alone right now," but I think that was more for his own sanity than it was for me.
The second brother called me while I was saying goodbye to the first one, and I ended up going out in the hallway to talk to him because at this point it was really late. He told me some of the same things the first one did, about how badly it scared him when I sent him the first text about my heart stopping. He said he and the first guy (they're close friends) had texted each other when they first got my message freaking out. He told me that he refused to let himself cry all day until he got to talk to me because he thought that if he did, he wouldn't stop. That made me feel so bad for scaring them like that, but again, it was just so humbling to hear that stuff from him, about how losing me or something happening to me would kill him. He told me some of the reasons why I was so important to them, and it was honestly so mind-boggling to hear it spelled right out for me. Like I said before, it wasn't that I didn't know they love me, because of course I do, I just didn't really realize how important having me in their lives is to them. They really would miss me if I was gone, and that's something that is incredibly humbling for me, especially because I spent so long before I met these boys really feeling like no one would care if I disappeared. I'm so lucky to be so loved. Anyway, this second brother and I basically spent the rest of the time just cracking jokes and laughing with each other, which is the norm for us, I think because he just didn't want to let himself get emotional over what happened.
I texted them the next morning to let them know nothing had happened overnight, and they told me thank you. Not even kidding.
Tuesday was when the reality of it all really sunk in for me. I mean, I had the words of the anesthesiologist ricocheting around my head all night (I only slept about two hours), but it still sort of seemed like a dream. No one really wants to think that would happen to them. I broke down crying after I talked to the doctors because it was sinking in for me, but my nurse gave me a hug and helped me calm down. And when I was getting the echocardiogram (basically an ultrasound of my heart) and the tech doing it said that "asystole" was in the order for the scan I was sort of like "Oh crap, this is real. This really wasn't some bad dream."
I got home at like 6:30 on Tuesday, and I was so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained that I basically just collapsed in the chair and didn't move unless absolutely necessary for the next three days almost. Everything about me was exhausted in every sense of the word, but because I was finally in the comfort of my own home and had peace and quiet, the nightmares came out.
All I could think when I was awake about was the fact that I was dead for a minute and barely more than 24 hours after the fact, I was home almost as if nothing happened.
And when I sleep, I've been having variations of the same nightmare: people are nonchalantly telling me I'm gonna die soon and there's nothing I can do about it, and I just keep saying over and over again, "I don't wanna die. I don't wanna die."
You know, I think I do a pretty good job most of the time at accepting the difficulties of the life that I have. A lot of the time, I can even honestly say that I'm grateful for it, because of the ways that I know it has helped people and given me ways to support others through their own struggles. At those points, it's easy for me to focus on the purpose that my life has.
But this week, I've really been struggling with understanding what the point of what happened on Monday was. Why did I need to have another near death experience? This was supposed to be a relatively minor surgery, compared to a lot of the other ones I've had. Is it not enough that I have all of these medical problems to deal with? Does treating them really have to be so freaking complicated, too? Isn't the story I have to tell great enough?
Basically, I'm at that point where I just really wish I could get a break from having to fight so hard to do the most basic things. I don't like feeling or sounding self-pitying, but that's the truth. I'm tired.
So little of this makes sense right now. I feel like I could be handling it a lot better if I just had a little bit of a clue as to what the point is. I know that God's ways are greater than mine and I'm not always supposed to understand, but I'm kind of going, "Can't you just give me a little bit of a clue?!" right now.
It's not a matter of me doubting my faith or anything like that. I know that God is good and faithful as much now as I ever have, and I am so, so grateful to have made it through that surgery alive.
I'm lucky to serve a God who is greater than medical standards and explanations, because God has made it clear that it's not my time to go yet. I guess that, for now, all I can do is try to make the best of the extra chance I've been given.