Yesterday my daughter and I were having a conversation about current events. I did my best to answer honestly and without fear about the coronavirus, self-quarantine, and the practicality of washing our hands and avoiding contact with others. And perhaps for obvious reasons, the topic eventually turned to my month in the hospital last June.
You see, I don’t really remember much about my time there. I know an ambulance came and picked me up early one morning because I had excessive hemorrhaging and was in excruciating pain. I remember one of the EMTs told my husband that hydrogen peroxide would get the blood out of the mattress and sheets, and the other EMT recognized my husband from when he had spoken at his church.
I remember that EMT holding my hand and praying with me in the ambulance, but I don’t remember getting to the hospital, or going into surgery, or even the few weeks after the surgery. I’d had complications during and after a six hour surgery. I never went to recovery, but went straight to the ICU. The surgeon took my husband into a private room and told him to say goodbye. He told him I probably wouldn’t make it through the night.
For the next few weeks my husband heard doctor after doctor tell him the same thing. I’d rally for a few hours or maybe a day before something else would bring death knocking on my door again. My lungs failed, my kidneys failed, I went into septic shock. It didn’t look good, but my husband was undaunted, and God’s church rallied around me in prayer, refusing to admit defeat. Refusing to see Daisy die.
So, that takes us back to my conversation with my daughter yesterday. She had been in the ICU with me and my husband on one of those occasions where things took a dark turn.
My arms were restrained to keep me from panicking and pulling any tubes out. I guess I fought at the restraints quite a bit. At some point that afternoon I forcibly yanked my arm free and pulled the breathing tube out before anyone could stop me! Yes, I extubated myself. My daughter said that Daddy screamed “NO!” and then yelled at Sophia to go get a nurse.
And yesterday, my daughter talked to me about that experience. She said that medical staff poured into my room. She told me how five nurses turned to fifteen and then she heard the terrifying words, “We’re losing her!”
She ran out of the room so she didn’t have to watch me die.
She told me how she paced down the hallways around the ICU waiting area. She saw people mourning. She heard a nurse say that I was the patient in the ICU most likely to die. She saw other families suffering while they waited and wondered what was going on with their own loved ones in critical care. So much death. So much fear. So little hope. She ended up praying with multiple families, serving others because there was no other way for her to work it out.
Yesterday was not the first time I’d heard this story. But it was the first time I’d heard it from her. With so many uncertainties in her life right now: Covid-19, graduating from HS, getting her first car, getting into the college she wants, the list could go on for days. But that’s not what she wanted to talk about. She wanted to talk about the time she almost watched her mommy die.
We talked about her fear. We talked about her courage. We talked about God and His power to turn the worst situations into blessings. We prayed together and held each other. And maybe we even cried a few tears together. We connected over our own entangled tragedy. We connected through the shared experience of overcoming death.
We stood in awe at the power of God.
As our conversation started to conclude, my daughter looked at me earnestly and said, “You know, Mom, you’re a walking miracle.”
I smiled and nodded and thought to myself, “Aren’t we all.”