As far back as I can remember, I recall feel of my eyes rolling as I heard people say, “Things happen for a reason.” Of course things happen for a reason. It doesn’t make any sense to say anything otherwise. Every action causes a reaction, and every action you have taken has led you to the place where you now find yourself. So, you are the reason.
As I am typing this, I think I am learning the truth my view , as in how it came to be my reality. They moved me upstairs from the E.R. I am not sure how many days it had been since my hysterectomy, I only know my fever was over 104 and I had spent the night having chills and vomiting, unable to move. I am not sure if I was in pain, or if I would have been aware of pain, at that time. What I do know is my dad came the next morning and he took me to the E.R.
On the way, I called the doctor that was on call that day. It was not my gynecologist. It was her colleague. I told him that I was passing air vaginally, and he said don’t make any stops, just get here.
A lot of what happened next is fuzzy. I remember the E.R. doctor giving me something for fever and the gynecologist coming in and saying, “This is my patient, and she is going upstairs.” I said hi, he said, “Did anyone tell you you have cancer?” I kinda laughed and I said, “I had cervical pre-cancer, and I do not have cancer.” He said, “You had adenocarcinoma, too.” I remember arguing and he said he was in the O.R. during my hysterectomy, and I was going upstairs.
I do not remember much after that, until I was sitting in my room and I put my hand down beside me on my bed and I felt it. Up to my hips was a pool of blood, and I could feel it on my hands. I grabbed the nurse call button and in came a LVN who looked at me, and she froze. She did not move. “Get my nurse,” I remember saying that.
A lot of the next few minutes is a blur. The nurses came in, I was laid flat. I wasn’t really thinking anything, I was calm, and I was just laying back. The doctor started packing me, and I must have said something because I remember him saying to me, “I am so sorry, I know it hurts.”
I am not sure of the exact sequence of events that happened. What I remember was I was watching my bp drop and my heart rate accelerate. The doctor said, “Lower her head,” He kept saying he really needed me upside down. I knew they needed to keep blood flow to my brain. A nurse was on my left side, holding my hand. She kept telling me that I was going to be alright. I looked over to other nurses behind her, and I saw one put her mouth up to her mouth and it was wide open. Then she began to get blurry. I looked at the doctor on my right side, and I told him he looked pixelated. There was no other way to describe it. Then he looked so far away, he asked what I had said. I replied, “It looks like I am looking at you through a telescope backwards.” He said, “Close your eyes.” I remember saying NO.
I remember being very calm, but I also remember the feeling of that NO. No way was I going to close my eyes. No way was I going to die right then.
“I NEED THAT BLOOD, NOW,” was what I heard that kind of made me realize exactly what was happening. The doctor came back into the room, and I remember the nurse saying I was going to be alright. My response was to the doctor. I asked him, “Am I going to be alright? I am going to be alright?” and I was still calm. His answered very slowly and quietly, “I…. don’t…. know…”
I can’t say I felt afraid, I don’t know that I did. I can’t say I felt anything. I do not recall feeling anything. I did not see a light. I did not see anyone who had passed before me. I really do not believe it was even darkness. It was nothing. It was just this indescribable thing that was not really even there. It was a peace I never had, and it did not even exist. Unless you have been there, I cannot explain it to you.
I woke up hearing a nurse throwing her phone, I think she was a nurse, and there was my white light, just above my head. I was on a table in the operating room. The nurse was saying there was a complaint she should have been there in this number of minutes and she was a few over, and she was upset. The other nurse was busy. I said, “Hey,” and I hear this, “Oh my God, she is awake!” I am guessing they didn’t expect me to be. They kept talking to me and the doctor came in and I remember being told to count backwards. My response was, “No, I am…..” and I think I just thought the words “not going to sleep.”
I do not remember waking up. I do remember three doctors coming into my room to tell me I had a temporary colostomy. I argued. No way did I have one, but I had a morphine drip and his name was Andy. I remember that conversation very well. I also remember the doctor telling me, “Someone was looking out for you.”
I had had a hysterectomy not long before. The reason for that was fibroid tumors and endometriosis and cervical pre-cancer. During surgery, they found a very small adenocarcinoma and I am not sure what caused the nick to my colon, but they nicked it during the hysterectomy. From that, E-Coli had eaten my insides and cause a fissure between my hysterectomy incision and my intestines. It was a mess, and I am grateful to be alive.
I kept on hearing about that someone who was looking out for me. No one greeted me upon my exit, but I had this feeling I cannot describe. I will never fear death, even though I am not wanting to go. One day, it will be a welcome and familiar friend. I have no reason to fear it, that was the most peaceful I ever felt.
The thing is that when you go through something like that, for a little while, you feel like you have a secret. When I went to bed at night, I felt like I could make that choice every time I closed my eyes for days. I felt like if I wanted to, I could just slip off into that peace, but I didn’t. Little things that seem so mundane become so beautiful. The color green amazed me. It was like when I was young and got my first pair of glasses and I could see the leaves on trees. Food was different. I will never forget the way a chili dog tasted, and the taste of a waffle bowl from Dairy Queen with vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and covered in cherries was…. indescribable. I think I may have cried, and I am not even joking.
The tragedy in this is that life continues to happen. People, by nature, are cruel and the beauty begins to fade. Things are again mundane. I want so badly just to feel that again, without the circumstances. I did change. If only for a moment, I did change. I had that gratitude.
I talk about this a little too much, and I feel like the message is always missed in the details, and it is the details I have forgotten. I know the series of events that led to the entire ordeal, that I never went to the doctor. I realize a lot more than I give myself credit for. The thing I am struggling with is why am I here. I can tell you I wanted to be, or I wouldn’t. My life never passed before my eyes, I never thought that deeply into anything but staying calm would save me. I just want, right now, to feel like there is a reason. I want that innocence of having faith. I want the stories I cannot believe.
In all that I forgot, maybe it is possible I forgot the near death experience, that part of my journey. I am not sure, but right now, I am thinking I want to have at least a semi-fatalistic view and believe this happened so I could write, or tell my story.
My story is crazy.
But my story is real.
And I am here.
And so are you.
So, maybe there is a reason. I really can no longer doubt there is. Do you?
This was after the last surgery.