lucky

I know I haven’t written in a long while. I haven’t been in the mood to write.

Today, January 24th…….is my lucky day. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years! It’s amazing how time goes by so quickly and yet it feels like it was yesterday. I have been quite emotional this past week coming up to my anniversary. I think I always will not because it’s sad, but because I am so grateful.

It’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about the day of my collapse (in a good way). I think about how lucky I was at the right place, the right time and how lucky it was to have the lifeguards doing their first aid meeting. The lifeguards will always be apart of my life for what they did for me. Gave me life. Again.

Lots have happened in the past 2 years, I got to drive again, ran a 5k and walked another, watched our daughter D graduate, moved to another province, was apart from DC for 9 months because we couldn’t sell our house, sold our house, got clearance to go back to work again, travelled, and to become grandparents.

I can look forward to the many years ahead, to watch my children grow and have their own families. I have learned life is short and to not take it for granted.

I am lucky!

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difficult but healing

I know, I thanked the lifeguards for saving my life back in February, but I got a call on May 9th from the BC Ambulance Services letting me know that they were giving the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, and to the person who called 911 the Vital Link Award. I was so happy they were going to give them recognition for saving me. The spokesperson told me the ceremony was the following week and wanted to know if I could attend. I really wanted to see them all get the award. I told the spokesperson that I would get back to her by Friday. I had such mixed emotions during the phone call because of the questions they asked in case I wasn’t able to attend, and told me the media would be there. I know that the media wanted to show the community how proud they were of the Lifeguards, and Paramedics but it was just very overwhelming knowing they were going to be there.

I talked with DC and he thought it would be great to see the Lifeguards again since the last time was emotional. Not that it wouldn’t be emotional again but it may help me feel this way of thanking the Lifeguards/Paramedics could help me move on. I talked with my brother K, he said that if I couldn’t attend he would go on my behalf, but thought it would be good for me to come as well. I even asked my Therapist if it would be in my best interest to go. If I could handle it emotionally. She thought that it was wonderful that they were going to give them recognition for their actions, and asked me how I felt.  I told her I thought it was wonderful too, and wanted to be there. That I was thankful too. But I was really nervous because the last time I went to thank them, I had 2 ATP’s before I had even entered the building!! I didn’t want to be so emotional that my ICD would shock me. Dr. H said to remember about letting all the emotions out, not to hold it in, so that it wouldn’t get my heart rate up. It’s something that I am still learning to do. After I had talked with everyone, I knew I had to be there.

On May 15th I flew to BC to be at the award ceremony the next day. It was difficult to leave DC this time because the last time I left him I almost didn’t come back. DC reassured me, told me not to worry (DC couldn’t attend the ceremony) and I would be alright. Even thou I am sure DC at the time was worried too.  I even remember how scared I was flying that day. We had a bit of turbulence, and I remember thinking to myself “calm down S, don’t panic, don’t get your heart rate up!” I didn’t want to have a shock on the plane! I know it was minor turbulence but when you are nervous you think the worst haha.

K, M and I went to the Rec Centre for the ceremony and I couldn’t believe how many people were there! I wasn’t expecting that many people, I figured there was just going to be the three Lifeguards, the two Paramedics, the person who called 911, BC Ambulance Services and the Media. But there were Paramedics, Lifeguards, staff, family, the Radio and the Media. It was overwhelming, but it was great to see all these people who come to see them get the recognition they deserved!

I was really proud of myself, I only cried once when they talked about my story. After the ceremony was over, I met with one of the Paramedic that attended to me that day. (I didn’t meet the Paramedics when I thanked the Lifeguards back in February). She was more emotional than I was! She thought it was wonderful to see I was doing well! She said in all her 18yrs of being a Paramedic, I was the second person she helped save, survive. I was really happy for her knowing she helped me too. I even met one of the Lifeguard’s family member, and I told them how thankful I was for their daughter that day. The Media asked if I would give them a quote and picture of me with the Paramedic and Lifeguards. I decided to let them have a picture and quote because it would make this story complete. When I left the Rec Centre that day, I felt so good! Like weight had lifted off my shoulders knowing they all got recognition and another way of saying THANK YOU. Having this ceremony for the all the people that day made me know I could start healing………………………….


shocked!

After all the things that I had gone thru in the beginning of the year, I finally felt that I was going to be alright! I was healing nicely and I had even decided that having an ICD wasn’t going to be that bad. Our oldest C had come down for Spring break to visit, because she didn’t get a chance to see me while I was recovering in BC, or for my father’s death. When C arrived, we had a family photo done so that we could update the old one, plus D had her Grad photos done at the same time. It was so nice to have the 5 of us together.

The next day, I had decided to make lasagna for supper and cherry cheesecake for dessert. While I was preparing the meal, I was standing at the stove making the meat part of the lasagna and I thought I felt something in my chest. I just shrugged it off thinking it was nothing, so I just kept cooking, but then I felt something again. I stopped immediately and knew that I should go and sit down. When I was at the Pacemaker Clinic they told me that no matter what I was doing whether it was cooking, showering, walking etc, and I felt anything I was to find a safe spot and sit down.

I immediately went to the dinning room table and sat down but I didn’t have much time because I had received my first shock! My ICD did what it was supposed to do when my heart needed it. The shock was very quick, and it was not as painful as I thought it would be, don’t get me wrong it did hurt and like someone had kicked me, but not what I was expecting. The jolt to the heart was so powerful it almost threw me backwards and off the chair but DC rushed over and held my legs down so I wouldn’t. I was so thankful that DC was home that day. I was in shock for some time and tried to stay calm because I was afraid it would go off again. When I went to bed that night however was hard, I was scared that it would go off while I was asleep and what if I went to sleep and I didn’t wake up? DC was so thoughtful, he knew that I was struggling with the thoughts of not waking up that he left the bathroom light on.

I had a lot of trouble that night with my heart rate. The more I felt my heart go up the more anxiety I had. The funny part of it all was every time DC got into our bed my heart rate would go up, and I would get hot. This happened at least four times. He would get up get me a cold cloth to put on my forehead, and check my heart rate to make sure I was okay. DC wanted to take me to the hospital but I refused. I am a very stubborn, and I didn’t want to go to the hospital! after all I had just been there.
As I have said before DC is very thoughtful, after all the in and out of bed, he felt that he should sleep on the floor beside me. He slept on the floor with his pillow and one blanket all night. To this day when I think of what he did, I cry because knowing he had shoulder surgery only a few months earlier he slept on that hard floor for me…..

The shock happened on March 23, 2012 @ 2:45pm. I will never forget this day. I will never forget the feelings that I had that day, the hurt, the worry, and most of all………..
the love………………….


time

The last post I had said I was home to start my recovery but something happened…………

Before I start on what happened, DC and I left British Columbia on February 9 th and flew to Saskatchewan to see my sister B and my Mom. We had flown there because when DC heard about my incident, he could only get a flight out in Saskatchewan, so he had driven there with our truck and left it at my sister’s place. I was so happy to see B because I knew she had been so worried about me. When I was in the hospital I hadn’t spoken to anyone but my children. I was not ready to talk to people yet. So I knew that I wanted to see B to make sure that she knew I was alright. We had only stayed one night since I was very anxious to get home and see our children. DC drove the 7 hrs that it takes to get home from my sister’s, it was a very long trip and all I wanted was just to get home and be with my children.

My wonderful Sister-in-law J (who flew out from New Brunswick) was with our two out of three children, D and E (C lives on her own in Alberta) who were waiting for us to arrive. When we arrived, there were balloons and welcome home sign. I was so over whelmed, (they even baked me some goodies!) and really emotional, that when I hugged D, I am sure that every mother would agree with me when I say this, but when you see your child (I am tearing up as I type this) seeing your child’s face looking at you and is glad that you are alright. Seeing that look, is the hardest thing I could ever see. Something that I do not want to see again. Ever!! But E just had come home from a friend’s birthday party to see me too. Another hard thing seeing our son so emotional and happy to see his mother.

So as I said earlier something happened, well we had only been home for two days and we got a phone call from my sister B………….More bad news!! As if 2012 couldn’t be any worse!! Well it did turn out even worse because B said Dad was rushed to the hospital by ambulance because he couldn’t breathe. B said that she would find out from the hospital what his prognosis was and get back to me. B called telling me that when he couldn’t breathe, Dad had a small heart attack and then in the middle of the night he ended up having a stroke, so they needed to send him to a bigger hospital. They had transferred him to another hospital and he had another stroke that next day. The doctors called and told me that there was no chance of him surviving this and didn’t know how long he had left. This just couldn’t get any worse!!! DC and I had made the decision to go back to Saskatchewan. We had decided that we would leave that next morning (because it’s a 7 hour drive and by the time we had talked to the doctor it was already late) which was for Feb 16, but…….. We got the “call” my father had passed at 11:51 pm on February 15. We left at midnight.

K,M, DC and I arrived at the same time, us coming from Manitoba and K & M from BC. We all saw our father and I still feel like I had dreamed all of this and still haven’t mourned my father’s death since I was still trying to recover from my episode. I don’t have any regrets, but I think that no matter what you will always have that feeling the back of your mind……. Did he know??? I am sure he did but because I hadn’t spoken to him in about a year you just never know. Like I said earlier I still feel like this is all a dream and that he is just going to call me up and see what I’m up to or why I haven’t called in a while? I know “it takes time to heal”, and I know now that I have been given more time to heal………………….


“miracle”

When I last left you, I was in the hospital…………….. doctors had requested some blood work, what they called Blood Gas, it’s supposed to check your blood levels and they have to draw it out of your main artery. Which hurts because they took it out of my wrist.

The Doctor said they were keeping me over night for observation. I told them that they didn’t need to keep me over night, that I was fine and that I just fainted. The Doctor held my arm and looked at me, said “No you didn’t just faint, you suffered Sudden Death”.  I just sat there in the hospital bed in shock. Just thinking to myself, really?? Sudden Death?? I really thought I just had fainted. The Doctor then said that I was going to see a Cardiologist in the morning, to see what we should do next.

I won’t lie, trying to sleep in a hospital is not easy let alone try to sleep when all of this happened. I was in shock still and they gave me a sedative to help me sleep. However, I had so much adrenaline that the sedative didn’t stay down. The nurse said that I had an allergic reaction to the sedative. I was actually scared to sleep, because I thought if I had supposedly suffered this “Sudden Death”, who’s to say that if I go to sleep and I don’t wake up? It actually took me a few days before I could sleep and when I did sleep it was every 2-3 hrs so it wasn’t all that great either but it was some rest.

The next morning the Cardiologist came in and discussed what he thought and clarified it to Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome. He also said that I was a “miracle” because only 1% of the population get this and out of that 1%, less than 1 % survive. Well talk about shock! plus I still couldn’t get over the fact that I had “died” so to speak. So that evening they airlifted me to another hospital. I was airlifted to another hospital because the hospital I was at didn’t have all the equipment, for Cardiologists to do intensive testing with my heart. That was the first night I spent by myself with out DC and K. I must admit it was really hard not to have them there, since they hadn’t left my side. I didn’t sleep well that night.

In the morning they already got the intensive testing started. I was so nervous because DC and K weren’t there right away, they had to drive, it was going to take them 6 hrs and I wasn’t sure exactly what they were going to do . My first test that they did was an angiogram. I have heard of angiograms before because my grandmother had this done. She told me that they went in her main artery in her leg, and in her arm, well when I remembered that, I was so scared! Scared that it was going to hurt! No matter how many needles I have had, I still get scared of them. The nurses told me what exactly they were going to do, that they were going to freeze my wrist and use the main artery. Then they were going to put a tube up with a camera and dye to see if there were any blockage in the heart. Well let me tell you, I think that I would have rather had my three kids, open heart surgery and the Blood Gas done again instead! It was so painful! I couldn’t feel the poke but I could feel the tube go up my arm to my heart. After they did it I remember thinking to myself, wow! my grandmother did this three times???  twice in the arm and once in the leg!! I knew I had more respect for her after that!

The test results of that came clear, had no blockage at all. Thank goodness! On to the next test!!

What my arm looked like after the angiogram, the top picture was when they took the plastic bracelet off to keep the pressure on my artery and bandaged it up, the bottom one was when they took the bandage off.


some say luck, fate, I say “thank you”

As I left you off last post, I said I didn’t make it to the hot tub that day………………. I am going to tell you what happened that day…………………..

You know the saying “second chance?” I had my second chance with my Mitral Valve repair in 2004. My title “some say luck, fate, I say “thank you”, well I say “thank you” because that day I got a “third” chance at life.

January 24,2012.

I remember running on the treadmill in the fitness area, at the Rec Centre and while I was running there was an elderly couple that came to exercise beside me on a couple of stationary bikes. I remember because I apologized for the heavy running noise, the elderly woman laughed and said to me not to worry, and made a joke saying that they were part deaf anyways. I laughed, still ran on. I noticed that there was a gentleman working out with the weights diagonal from me, and I still ran on. I looked down to see where K was with the boys because the fitness area was above the pool so that you could look down and watch. I noticed a gentleman in the pool that I thought was K but it wasn’t. I panicked looking around for K and noticed that he was walking with the boys. I thought to myself “uh oh they are going to the hot tub already without me” and I wanted to finish my run. I looked at the clock, wanting to know what time it was and it said about 2:38? So I still ran, knowing that I only had about 6 or 9 mins left in my run. Then I looked to my left and noticed a blonde girl coming to run on the treadmill beside me, next thing I remember was looking forward and my vision went like when a television loses connection and it goes snowy, well it did, then it was black…………

The next thing I remember was someone saying my name over and over which I later found out it was K. A few moments later I hear a gentleman saying my name and asking me if I knew where I was. I mumbled the place, and he said that I had to keep the oxygen mask on, because I remember fighting it with them trying to put it on my face and then I hear sirens. While I was in the ambulance, K was on the phone to hubby DC, telling him that I had collapsed and was on my way to the hospital. DC was in the grocery store when he got the news and he was so shocked that he dropped everything and left to go tell our children that their mom was on her way to the hospital. DC didn’t know what to do, whether to just drop everything and get to me or wait to find out what was wrong with me first, because he was three provinces away. K also had called M to let her know what had happened, and that he was coming to get her. A lifeguard ended up watching the boys,and there were a couple of friends of K at the pool too that knew the boys and took over. Which was a relief to K since he needed to rush to the hospital as quickly as possible.

I arrived to the hospital and I remember a woman saying to me it’s alright, you’re alright and you’re going to feel a warm sensation, don’t worry you didn’t pee yourself. I was having a CT Scan done to check if there was any brain damage, and a X-ray to check for any broken ribs. I didn’t have any damage to either brain or ribs. The whole time I was in and out of consciousness I didn’t have my eyes open. I then remember hearing K talking to someone about my information, my name, where I lived etc. Then suddenly it was like someone turned on a light switch and I could open my eyes! I looked over and saw K standing beside me and he says to the nurse” could you pass me her glasses? she’s pretty blind with out them” and he gives them to me. I put them on and looked over to K saying “What happened?” “What happened?”. K came over to me, cried, hugged me and said “you collapsed”. I was really shocked at this moment because I only remember running on the treadmill and now here I am in the hospital???

I asked K what had happened over and over, it was probably more than 5 times within an hour or more and K was getting worried, looked over at the nurse and she said it was normal for people to have a little amnesia. K explained as much as he could about what had happened…….

K said when I collapsed, the elderly couple noticed that I had fallen in between the treadmills and was unconscious, so the elderly woman rushed to get help. A lifeguard came and started CPR, while the lifeguard was doing CPR there was another one getting the AED kit. The lifeguard with the AED kit came opened it up and it had said that it was needed. My heart had stopped. They put the AED on me used it. It brought me back. All of this happened less than 2 minutes. Another lifeguard had called 911 and the ambulance was on their way. Ambulance came. Ambulance took me to the hospital.

So, you can call it luck, fate for that day but…..

I say “thank you” because those lifeguards saved my life and gave my third chance.


the beginning

As I sit in front of my laptop to type out what was one of my most difficult days of my life……January 24,2012. From the beginning, I had told you before that I have become to love running, and after my half marathon back in Oct, I hadn’t run for almost 3 months. I was busy working and being lazy at the same time, so I decided to get back into running right after New Years. I was feeling right back where I had started when I started running, which I was thinking that I shouldn’t have stopped in the first place but at least I was starting back up again. I only ran 2 times before that day, January 5th and 10th, because I offered to help out my brother K and sister-in-law M.

M had gotten a new job, and they needed a sitter for a short while until they found a daycare or day home to watch their two boys. Plus I got a phone call from M that K had to go to the hospital, January 7th, because he couldn’t walk on his left leg. We found out that K had a DVT (blood clot) which worried me because he is only 35 yrs old. I was so glad that I was flying out to help out on the 10th since K wasn’t to work for a few days and try to get this blood clot to thin.

I flew to British Columbia where K & M live and everything was going great. I was helping out with the boys, who I adore, helping M around the house while she was at her new job and driving too since M doesn’t drive. K took me around “touring” which I must say no wonder they call it “Beautiful British Columbia” its beautiful! with all the mountains, orchards, lakes and there is just so much to see and do!

On January 24,2012, K was off that day and we decided to take the boys to a program called “Strong Start” where kids can go meet other kids, do arts and crafts etc. So we took the boys to Strong Start and we had a great morning. It was “gym” day and the boys got to use the gym equipment like the basketballs, hoola hoops, floor mats and scooters that you sit on and roll around the gym. K even had both boys on the scooters holding hoola hoops, and rolling them around, swinging them, they were having a blast! I had fun watching them laugh and smile too. After Strong Start we headed for home and had lunch, put the boys down for their short afternoon nap.

When the boys woke from their nap and we got them ready for the Rec Centre for a swim, I decided that I was going to get a run instead because I hadn’t done any running since the 10th.  I went up to the Fitness Centre which looked over the swimming pool so I could run and watch K swim with the boys. I decided to run 30 mins on the treadmill and when finished, I was going to meet K and the boys in the hot tub.

However, I didn’t make it down to the hot tub that day…………………………………………