Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Hard Time: July 2011

Dylan has been sick on and off for years with IBS. This year has been up and down like many, but with the added kidney stones (was it a kidney stone? still don't know) strange and horrid pains in the abdomen, and now what appeared to be a heart attack was something else.
Right outside the Miette restaurant at the cabins, the pretty red cabins with black trim, the varnished pine picnic tables and rustic benches. I called 911 from the pay phone, thankfully we were close to a working phone, and they kept me on the line while park medics rushed up and put Dylan on oxygen. "Do you know where you are?" "What is your name?" "Can you tell me approximately what time of day it is?" and then taking his pulse, weak and very rapid, at intervals. The blond man in his late 40's looked like a former surfer, and the younger woman was sweet and capable, with brown hair and caring eyes. They were a good team and they took good care of Dylan. God bless em. The Miette owners were great, bringing blankets and giving me a free apple juice because some passing aged Doctor told us it looked like his blood sugar was low. The apple juice didn't do much. I was holding his head on my knees at this point, sitting on the low bench outside the restaurant, as the male medic had to change places with me... they had left their car in the turnaround which was causing traffic havoc. I gave Dylan sips of juice, but he couldn't concentrate on it and didn't want any, said it wasn't helping. He was pale and sweating, and breathing fast, holding his chest. When he said his hands and arms felt numb and tingly, I thought, okay, this is it, this really could be a heart attack. I might lose him right here. Oh God, not like this, not in front of his children. I'll always remember the anguished, shocked look in their little faces, eyes wide and blinking, trying not to cry, trying not to be in the way, silent with trauma. I held Keegan's little boy hand and squeezed it, and put my arm around Lauren. I tried to keep them close to me, but I was watching Dylan and the medics were talking to me and asking questions, and people were walking by and trying to get in the door, and Keegan was often right in front of them, oblivious.
   After about half an hour of this, cold and shivering with the recent mountain rain that came out of nowhere, Dylan seemed to be breathing a bit easier. His eyes looked less frantic and glazed - he was focussing and talking a bit. I knew he would be okay. I wasn't so scared, and I could take better care of the kids. The ambulance came, and they put him on the stretcher and loaded him up. Two fairly young but obviously experienced women. I wondered how the drive had been for them, fighting switchbacks and foreign drivers and bear sightings all the way.... We huddled on the bench outside the restaurant and waited for them to do what they needed to do. I was freezing in a t-shirt. Thankfully the kids had sweaters. We sat frozen in place while people walked by with ice creams, licking and looking at us and at the ambulance, jabbering in their mother tongues, the more polite looking at us sideways and then walking away, the more bold staring and waiting for something exciting like blood or tears - but none came and they left. A few people gave me a sympathetic look and asked with their eyes or their mouths if we needed anything; I shook my head. It was going to be alright, I was pretty sure now. We followed them down to the Hinton hospital and by the time we got in there, he was sitting up and strapped to various medical equipment monitoring his heart and other things. I could tell by his eyes that there was more spark, that he was feeling stronger. Two sets of blood tests and many hours later, interrupted by a swim in the hotel pool (just the kids. There was a waterslide. It distracted them and gave me a moment to think and make a phone call) we left the hospital.
Dylan was restless in the hotel, couldn't lie down, but he fell asleep sitting up and in the morning was grumpy but more relaxed. On the drive home I began to feel panicky about a million things that I couldn't talk about, and my shoulders tightened and hunched, I'm sure. Can still feel the tension in them. The last few days have been tests, appointments, reviewing what happened, working hard in the sun cutting grass and pulling weeds, waiting and wondering and feeling strange and helpless. Health, and certainty, are two amazing things that I can never take for granted. I can't wait until this hard time is over. I've never felt more lost.


  1. This was written last year, just published now. The event occured 1 year and 3 months ago.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It was almost like being there (which I wish I was). Very scary and a reminder to never take life for granted.


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