January 25, 2017 by CassieCravings
I cannot place the noise. It’s a noise of struggle, a gurgle, as if something is stuck. “Breathe,” my body whispers to me. It isn’t a gentle hush, but a weak command. As if waking from a dream, I try to make sense of it. I am still foggy. My body is still twitching from the seizure. I am frighteningly aware that I have no control over my own body.
With a head-crushing rush, the world comes flooding back to me: my baby screaming in the backseat, my husband begging 9-1-1 to come quickly. As the world is crashing back to my awareness, there is still a great mystery. What is that noise?
The noise is me. I am choking. I cannot breathe. For a moment, I panic. I feel the strangle of my own tongue in my throat. I fight against the tightness. Rolls of spit slide down my chin. My mouth is foaming like a rabid animal. And I still cannot breathe. My breath is barely a shallow gasp. As much as I will my body to work, it will not obey. “Breathe!” The command came again. It’s stronger than the fear. I begin to chant to myself.
In. Out. In. Out. Good. Just keep going. It will pass. God, let this pass. Please. In. Out.
Willing that breath in and out of my body is like willing the world to exist again. It rushes at me like a crashing wave, furious and loud and strong. Suddenly I am aware as if I have never been aware before. Sounds are deafening. They swallow me. They press me against the passenger seat of my car.
My baby is screaming in the backseat. He is only 2 weeks old. I wonder if he is frightened. I would give anything to reach for him, to hold him, to comfort him. But I can’t. My body is not my own. It is stuck between heaven and earth. I no longer control it. Except perhaps my breath. If I can focus. I have to breathe.
I hear my husband’s tears. He is pleading with a 9-1-1 operator, trying to give directions to a gas station. I don’t have the energy to wonder how we got here. I ache for him as he pleads for the ambulance to hurry. I wish it to hurry too.
Try again. Breathe. If you keep breathing, it will be okay. Breathe.
“Please, God, please….” He doesn’t finish the prayer. So, I do.
Please don’t let me die.
It’s not that I am afraid of death; It is dying in front of them that seems unbearable. It seems so unfair. If my husband has to lose his wife, if my 2 week-old baby must lose his mama, please don’t make them watch. I suppose death is rarely fair. But I want it to be as kind as possible to them. They are my world: my husband, my newborn and my 6 year-old. And I am their’s. What would we do without one another? How could I go on, even in eternity, without them?
He’s a good father, the very best. But there are things he has never had to bother with. I should have shown him. I should have taken the time. Does he know that Eli likes water and then toothpaste on his toothbrush? It must be in that order. He can tell when it’s not. “God, I will never complain about toothpaste quirks again if you will let me see my little boy again. He doesn’t even know that we were going to the ER. God. I didn’t say goodbye. What was the last thing I said to my boy? Was it kind? Was it worth the words used? If I could go back. Please, Father, give me another chance.”
Breathe. Just one breath. Now try another. Are those sirens?
EMS rushes in with an armory of equipment and questions. “Can you tell me your name,” one shouts a bit too loudly in my ear. I open my mouth to answer. I suppose noise came out. I suppose the question was sufficiently answered. He begins to call me by name. “Can you move your feet?” I wonder why he’s yelling? I wonder if it’s a good sign that I am annoyed by his yelling.
“Wiggle your toes for me.” If I currently had the where-with-all to roll my eyes, I would. What a silly direction. I’m still struggling to breathe, and he is asking about movement. “Try again, Mrs. Ortiz. Wiggle them.”
Try again? I can move. This is silly. There are more important things at hand.
I struggled to look down at my feet. My entire head rolled forward at the effort.
My blood rand cold. My left side isn’t moving. There’s not even a twitch. My eyes fell to the right side of my body. Yes, yes. They know what to do. My heavy head slumped to again catch a glance at my left.
“Don’t worry, Mrs. Ortiz. We’ll get you onto the stretcher.”
However, I do worry.
I am carried to a stretcher. With one of side of my body utterly useless, with my own saliva still plastered to my chin, without knowing if this would be the worst of it, I was pushed into an ambulance. In all of my years, I never felt so alone. In all of my years, I had never known fear. But now I am well acquainted. It feels cold and ruthless. The sirens blare as the ambulance jerks into motion. I close my eyes to pray for what it is to become of me.
Thank you for your support and love throughout this very scary time for our family. This incident happened on 29 December 2016. I will tell the rest of my story very soon. I am so grateful to be able to tell it at all. Much love.