My baby Llama is not a baby anymore - she'll be five years old in six weeks. Her real name is Sarah.
My sweet husband, Bucket, is in ICU after surgery to resect a brain tumor and complications. His real name is Gery. And I'm going to tell the story here, because as much as I love texting (and I do love texting!) I am spending more time texting than time with him or with Sarah. Time is the one thing I have never had enough of and now it's even more precious than ever before.
I'll start at the beginning, tell chunks of it as I have time, and update daily or close to daily.
Saturday, January 26, 2013Gery and I took Sarah to gymnastics and got in the car (my new car - the first I'd ever bought for myself with financing) for a quick weekend trip to Erie. The Thursday before, we'd decided to go up, visit the Children's Museum with friends, take my brothers to dinner, stay at a new hotel with a lake view, and I would go out to the bars for a few hours with my high school and college friends while Gery and Sarah swam around in the fancy hotel pool and bounced on the fancy hotel beds. What can I say? We're easily pleased.
We got close to Erie and stopped for lunch at McDonald's. We bribed Sarah to finish her chicken nuggets with the promise of getting to play with her friend Claire-Bear at the Children's Museum in a few minutes. Everything seemed okay, even in retrospect.
As we were getting off the Bayfront Highway onto State Street, I gave Sarah a piece of gum and offered Gery one. He said, "No, that smells like... disgusting. Like solvents and... garbage!" and put down the window to try and get the smell out of the car. I thought he was being ridiculous. Gum? Seriously? It's the same gum I always have in my purse.
I don't know why, but a few seconds later, I asked him if he felt okay. If he wanted to pull over and let me drive. He didn't answer me. As we passed UPMC Hamot, I asked him if he needed to go to the emergency room. He didn't answer me. I didn't think his not answering was that strange, because Gery just does not answer questions that he thinks don't deserve answers. He passed some parking spots right in front of the Children's Museum, and I got a little snippy and asked him why. He didn't answer that. He turned right and came to a red light and stopped. We were the first car at the light.
The light didn't change. Gery jammed on the gas, completely floored it, and I looked at him angrily, about to yell at him for screwing around. He was having a seizure. I grabbed the wheel as I realized we were rocketing through a busy (for downtown Erie) intersection against the light, against traffic, and toward pedestrians and buildings. I don't recall saying anything, but when Sarah re-enacted it at school, she had the passenger saying, "You need to give me the wheel. You are having a seizure. You're okay. You need to give me the wheel," very calmly over and over. I was absolutely panicked. I thought we were going to die, all three of us, in a terrible car accident in Erie.
I remembered, somehow, that Gery had told me several times that if I turned the key off, I would lose what little control I had of the car, so shift it in to neutral and try to steer. That's what I did. The engine was still racing because his foot was still jammed on the gas pedal, but it wasn't making the car go faster. As the car slowed, I steered it into a pile of snow (thanks, Erie, for not plowing side streets!) and it stopped. I put it in park as Gery stopped seizing. But he didn't start breathing. I got out of the car and went around to the driver's side to put the seat back and do CPR. My car is too nice and has electric seats, so it took forever to get the seat to recline. He started having a second seizure, and I thought, "Well, you can't seize if you're dead," and took Gery's phone out of his pocket to call 911.
I gave the dispatcher the wrong street. Forgive me, I haven't lived in Erie for 10 years. Gery stopped seizing and started puking yellow foam on himself. I got off the phone with 911 and looked in to reassure Sarah that everything would be okay. Gery started seizing again. I heard the ambulance one block up and called back to 911 to report that I was one block north, but I could not remember the street names. (I was on Fifth Street, so that shouldn't have been difficult for me).
In the middle of all this, my friends texted me to say they were running late and would be at the Children's Museum in a few minutes and I called back to say we would not make it at all. They came and picked Sarah up, took her with them, and between them and my brothers, Sarah still had a sweet little vacation weekend. She did not come to the hospital except to leave with us on Sunday morning, and she never came inside.
When Gery stopped seizing for the third time, his eyes came to the front. He looked at me and I said, "You had a seizure. Don't even worry about it, you're going to be fine," and he took my hand and kissed it, then said a bunch of sounds that were not words. He clearly thought he said something, though, so rather than upset him further, I said, "I know." The ambulance arrived.
TO BE CONTINUED... Sarah's up and getting in the bathtub.