Thursday, June 18, 2009

Into the Darkness

Last night at dinner, I swallowed a "big bubble" while sipping Sprite. I remember saying, "OW! That hurt!" And I felt the super ball-sized object lodge in my throat. I felt no fear or panic, just physical pain. Then I felt it lodge in my upper chest. "OW!!! That hurts!" I grabbed my chest where it was lodged and I felt it slip down into my esophogus and felt it move every inch through my body. Next thing I know, my daughter was tugging on my hand yelling, "Momma! Momma! Come back!" The diagnosis was "vasovagal syncope" which means my vagus nerve interpreted that pain in my chest as life threatening, instructed my heart to slow down, dropping my blood pressure drastically and causing me to pass out.

In between the moment of "OW" and having Kait pull me back, I went to a place that felt really right. Everything was bright and there were so many people I knew, who knew me. I talked and laughed and related with them and felt like I spent forever there. Kait said I was out less than 30 seconds, though. I was so surprised to find myself sitting in the booth at the restaurant, rather than in that bright space I had been in. The restaurant was as loud as if I were sitting right next to the speakers at an AC/DC concert. The overhead lights were as bright as suns. The smells were overpowering. It felt like the room was 500 degrees and I was drenched in sweat like I had just got out of a pool. And even the tiniest movement caused me to spin and almost barf.

When the EMTs insisted on and assisted me with getting on the gurney, I did throw up in a red bio-waste bag, filling it 3/4 full. It was violent and unstoppable. Twelve rounds and then I lost count. I felt seemingly every pebble in the road as we raced to the hospital. Each turn seemed as the ambulance and I were going to spin off the planet. The needle the tech poked in the crook of my left elbow to start the IV felt as though it were an epidural needle and it was going to poke out my shoulders.

I spent the first couple hours at the hospital with a cold, wet rag on my eyes and forehead and, behind that, I was in a dark space. There was a moment when I was laying there and it felt like I was experiencing tunnel vision, the space got darker and narrower somehow. At the same time, it felt like I was being sucked into the bed, there was a vise grip squeezing my head and I could feel my brain moving around in my skull, like it was trying to slide out the back. My leg muscles twitched for hours, as if I had been working out for days and I was so cold to the core that I had three heated blankets on me and was still shivering.

It wasn't until about 11:30pm, 6 hours after it started, that I felt like I was fully back in my body. They ran blood tests, xrays, EKGs and a CAT scan. Every test and scan came back the same: you are in perfect health, more than perfect health. The doctor was mystified by my experience and totally at a loss for words. I felt afraid.

Today, I feel tired and achy and uncertain. There isn't much else I can tell you. Anything beyond what I've shared now goes into story.

Thank you for your love and holding space for me to return.

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