Monday, July 18, 2016

One year ago today...

I'm really not quite sure how to approach this post. I've watched today approaching for months, because it marks a significant milestone. I don't know if I awaited it with anticipation, or with dread, or with some multitude of nameless emotions. Nothing is particularly different today than yesterday, and yet today feels... important.

I'm really not quite sure how to approach this post... but I felt I should write it.

One year and two weeks ago today, I was in Seattle, Washington with my entire immediate family, plus a step or two past that. We had all gathered there to board a cruise ship the next day for a week-long cruise to Alaska in celebration of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was the Fourth of July, and we celebrated as a family over the course of the day.

One year and one week ago today, we were on our final stop on the cruise in Victoria, Canada. It was my first time in Canada (check another country off on my list!), and my Canadian brother-in-law introduced us to poutine. It was actually much better than I expected, and I've actually kind of been craving it ever since. We saw a 7-11, but didn't put two and two together that it was Free Slurpee Day until after we were back on the boat.

One year and a few hours ago today, I was driving my nephew to meet his dad and siblings at Five Guys for lunch before going to see the movie Minions. After the cruise, he had driven back down to Utah with me to spend a week with his favorite uncle. It had been a good trip and a fun opportunity to visit with him without his family around (which I'm sure he appreciated). I also learned that while I get along very well with my nephews and nieces, I'm finally reaching the point where I'm old enough to not quite understand how to interact with teenagers on a regular basis anymore.

I remember being at Five Guys and feeling a bit lightheaded. I felt a bit shaky, and so I assumed it was due to a low blood sugar. At one point, I sort of blacked out, which sort of scared my brother and his kids. They'd gotten some root beer into me, and sort of roused me, and I felt a little bit better, but a tiny bit nauseated. I remember checking my blood sugar and it actually being a bit higher than normal. Still feeling a bit queasy, I got up to go to the bathroom. My brother was still a bit concerned, so he asked if I wanted him to wait outside the door for me. Normally, I would have said no, but I remember deciding that it might be a good idea and telling him so.

I remember instinctively going to lock the door to the bathroom once I'd gone in, then having a sudden thought just happen to strike me that, if my brother was waiting outside for me just in case something went wrong, then locking the door would be counterproductive. I remember very little after that.

One year ago today, right around the same time as I'm writing this, I woke up in the hospital, and everything was different.

As it was related to me, my brother didn't hear anything from me for a bit and knocked on the door, and he knocked on the door to check on me. When I didn't respond, he opened the door and found me unconscious. When he checked for a pulse, he couldn't find one, so he shook me and found a pulse after that. He yelled for someone to call 911 and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived.

As it was related to me, the cardiologist on hand in the emergency room just happened to be the only one at that hospital who was able to perform a potentially invasive procedure in a much less invasive way, inserting a stent through my wrist and up the brachial artery rather than the upper, inner thigh, which would have left me strapped to the bed for at least a day while the insertion spot healed. As it was told to me, that cardiologist just happened to be right there at the entrance when I was brought in and was able to begin work immediately.

I believe that sometimes, things don't "just happen" to happen.

As it was related to me, my heart stopped beating twice while I was on the table, and they had to use the shock pads on me. I woke up with two conductive patches attached with sticky adhesive to my (freshly shaven) chest.

That was one year ago today. It doesn't feel like a year. It feels like a lifetime ago. It feels like a dream, like it never happened, like all of this is a story I made up in my head. But it wasn't a dream, though the only physical reminder I have on my body is a scar about the size of a popcorn kernel on my wrist.

I really wasn't quite sure how to approach this post when I started, and I'm still really not quite sure what I wanted to get out of it. But I felt like I should write something. Like I should actually write down the story. Like I should remember it.

Like I should acknowledge what happened in my life one year ago today.