Saturday, February 9, 2013

Superbowl Horror


Last Saturday, I had a wonderful excursion on the motorcycle with Bob and a group of friends. It was a day that helped me breathe freely again, refreshed my spirit, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. With the help of Derek's dad Joe, who took Derek for the day and overnight, and Brooke, who came to the house to stay with mom, I was able to be free. At least for a little while. And it did a world of good for me. I've even heard people say how relaxed and “good” I looked Sunday morning at church. Hmmm, I wonder what I “normally” look like?? I guess sometimes I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and there are some days I'm really dragging. But just one afternoon out in the fresh air and with friends helped bring me back to the surface again.

It was Superbowl Sunday. After church, I was on my way to meet up with Joe to pick Derek up. When I called him to check in, he said Derek had started vomiting around 11 o'clock. It was now 12:15. He said he had seemed fine in the morning, ate breakfast and lunch, was riding his bike, and then he just started vomiting. He didn't have a fever, and otherwise seemed like nothing was wrong. Except the vomiting.

We met up and the minute I saw Derek, I knew something was wrong. He got in my back seat and immediately started wretching. But the only thing coming up was spit and snot. And he was making a horrible wretching sound. I knew immediately he needed help. I needed to get him to an ER. That's not my normal reaction to Derek vomiting. Derek had a kidney transplant 27 years ago, and things are never “normal” with him. He can dehydrate very easily; it could have been his medication causing a problem, even rejection of the kidney. A virus could wreak havoc in him.

We went to an ER close to proximity to where we had met up, about 45 minutes from my house. I had my mom with me as well, as I had just left church. I wanted the doctors to draw blood to check his kidney function and to see if might have a urinary tract infection. Meanwhile he was wretching every 20 minutes. There was no wait, Derek was brought in right away. An IV was started and blood was drawn. Urine was tested. And the wretching continued. The blood results came back, and everything looked fine. Kidney was good, no infection. The wretching continued. I thought food poisoning, but Joe said they all ate the same thing. No one else was sick. The doctor ordered xrays of his abdomen, thinking maybe he had an intestinal blockage. The films came back normal. No blockage there. The doctor then decided to give him IV fluids, to keep him hydrated. I agreed. She said she wasn't comfortable discharging him in this condition, and there was no way I was taking him anywhere. His primary doctor was called and the decision was made to take him to the hospital close to my house where his doctor was and admit him for observation. Transportation had to be called, as he now had an IV and would not be allowed to leave in my care. It was now 5 pm. And the wretching continued. Every 20 minutes. This wasn't how I had planned on spending my Superbowl Sunday. We had the game on in the room we were in.

Meanwhile, Joe had taken my mom home. I now had to call Bob to pack me a bag to bring to the hospital. While we were waiting on the ambulance, Derek started to wretch again, and as I ran over with the bin for him to use, he made this awful face as he was wretching, and it looked like he was choking. Nothing was coming up. I yelled for help, and all of a sudden, he wretched and all this fluid came up. It looked like blood. I thought he was vomiting blood. It was darkish red/brown, and there was a lot of it. And then something else came up. Large chunks of hot dogs. All this went all over my hands as I was holding the bin for him, but this was such a violent wretch, it didn't all make the bin. And I lost it. I thought it was blood. I had kept my calm up until now, when I realized that for six hours, my son had been choking on hot dogs. And couldn't tell me. The horror was almost too much to bear. 

When he finished, he sat back, crossed his arms, and looked so relieved. It was over. All I could do was cry and hug him. Only by the grace of God, and God's protection, was he still alive. All he had needed this whole time was a good ol' Heimlich. Joe didn't tell me he ate hot dogs. I don't know if I would've figured it out even if he did, who knows. But I know my son. And I knew he was in distress.

We still had to go to the other hospital. So Derek rode in the back of an ambulance by himself and an attendant, and I followed behind. Every few minutes I could see him in his stretcher, waving at me through the window. He was fine as long as he knew I was coming. He made fast friends with the ambulance attendant, and I saw the guy put his hat on Derek. Then I saw them both clapping. And I cried all the way to the hospital.

We were brought into the ER at the other hospital, a doctor came in who had been briefed by the previous doctor. I told him that Derek would be fine now, but I wanted him to have a drink to make sure he could manage now. He was a little afraid to drink, but once he did, he was thirsty! And he kept it down, and we went home at 7:30 that evening. And Derek high-fived everyone as he was leaving, and made a beeline for the car. To say he was happy to be going home is an understatement. He was back to being Derek.

My son has had countless miracles performed to save his life. As soon as I knew we were in trouble, I asked friends and family for prayer. And I truly believe that God reached down and gave Derek the Heimlich he needed that brought the hot dogs up. It took 6 hours. And it could only be the grace of God and His protection that Derek didn't choke to death. Or could function that long as his trachea was blocked. Derek can't speak. How unfathomable it is to know that he couldn't tell me he was choking. And that he had to suffer this way. But God knew, and he rescued Derek once again.

On Monday, I had to go for a scheduled cardiac stress test.  Gee, I wonder what THOSE results will show!