Monday, February 01, 2010

My own Lifetime Movie - Part I

Sometimes I think the Lifetime network is secretly filming my life. I used to really enjoy watching those kind of dramatic movies, but it started getting to the point where it felt like I was just emotionally worn out after viewing them.  As I look back over the last few years of my life, I am realizing that my own life has been far more intense, dramatic and even comedic than many of these network movies.  When I re-tell some of the stories of my life, sometimes I can hardly believe they really happened.

This past weekend, I "starred" in another intense, almost unbelievable real-life drama.  I'm not sure I've even processed well-enough to write about it yet, but maybe in doing so, it will all begin to sink in. (It's a long story, so I am warning that I may have to post it in segments.)

Last week, was a semi-typical week for us. Iain got called into work last Sunday and had a couple of long  days at work during the week. The last six months have been extremetly demanding and stressful at work for him (and us) but we've just been rolling with the punches and thankful to have a good job. (He's a chemical engineer at a local plant.)

He hasn't been sleeping very well and even when he's been able to sleep, he hasn't felt rested when he wakes.  We've all been there. 

Thursday night he had an extremely difficult time sleeping and got only about 3 hours.  So, Friday, when he came home, I expected he'd be tired.  It was obvious that he was exhausted when he began falling asleep rocking Gianna, so I told him just to go to bed. It was 6:30pm.

Gianna is usually up anytme between 6:30 and 7:30am on any given day.  Iain and I are both early risers and he is usually the one who will get her up and ready on the weekends.  On Saturday, I figured it would be the same way ~ especially since he was in bed at 6:30 the night before.  I heard her chattering around 7:30am and thought I'd go and get her and let Iain sleep in.

We played and had breakfast and went into our normal routine.  I worked at delaying her morning nap a little later than normal so she'd be good and ready for the birthday party for our 3 year old godchild. I felt good about letting Iain catch up on his rest, even though I didn't sleep all that well the night before.  As the morning went on, I began getting a little concerned that he was still sleeping.  He was actually snoring really loudly - more loudly than usual when he's tired.

After I put Gianna down for her nap, I did a little cleaning, and then thought I'd better wake Iain.  I figured he'd be exhausted if he slept too much.  He stirred a bit when I tried to wake him and managed to tell me he was really tired and needed to sleep a little while longer.  I told him how long he'd been sleeping (18 hours) and he groggily said, "Just a little while."

I was a little miffed that my morning was already gone, but knew I had to get showered and dressed. When I got out of the shower 20 minutes after I woke him up, decided he needed to get up and help me get things ready to leave on time. 

This time was much harder to wake him. At first I thought he was just giving me a hard time.  But then, fear started to creep in along with an awareness that something wasn't right.  I started asked him questions and he could hardly answer me. He was slurring his words and my hard was beating hard and fast.

He tried assuring me that he could get up and I begged him to try. I told him he was scaring me and if he couldn't get up, we'd have to go to the hospital.  I pulled him upright by his arms and he fell back onto the bed.

And in the midst of the mounting stress, little Miss Gianna wakes up and is happily summoning us from her bedroom.  I figure she's be a good motivation to get Iain moving so I run to get her and put her next to Iain.  She's talking to him and kissing him and he can't even open his eyes.  This is when I knew something was SERIOUSLY WRONG.

I brought her back to her room and put her in her crib, telling her she had to play in her bed for a little while.  Amazingly she was fine with that.

I went back and told Iain that I had to take him to the hospital telling him that he had to help me. I tried again to get him up and on his feet.  He said he could do it. He wobbled to his feet and then started stumbling and then crashing into the wall.  THIS IS NOT GOOD. 

While he was on his feet I thought I needed to try to get him into the living room.  He kept trying to convince me he was okay and that he could walk. I wanted to believe him but nothing about his demeanor gave me any indication that he was capable.  He tried and he looked like an inebriated clown bouncing off the walls of the hallway....almost like a ball in a pinball machine.  I got him to the couch but he went completely limp and rolled onto the floor.

Then - I could not wake him. THIS IS NOT GOOD.

I picked up the phone and called my friend, Dana, who thankfully lives 10 minutes away. "Something's wrong with Iain. I can't wake him up. Can you get come and get Gianna." 

"I'm on my way." she replied.

At this point, I knew I had to call 911.

"911 - where is your emergency?"

Where? Are you sersious? Doesn't my address flash up on their screen when I call?  Even Domino's has that nifty little feature!
"I'm at my home (insert address) and I can't wake my husband. He's breathing, but he can't wake up."
Did I just utter those words? This is not happening.
"Is that in between ______ Street and _______Street?"
"Yes ma'am. It's right on the corner."
"What seems to be the problem?"
"It's my husband. I can't wake him up. He's only 41 (actually he's 38 - but I quoted his age incorrectly at least 3 different times througout the phone call)  He's breathing. His heart's beating. I just can't wake him up."
"Is he on drugs?"
" ma'am. He's in perfect health. No drugs. Ever. No alcohol. I just can't wake him up. He's been stressed. He hasn't been sleeping much or well."
"Okay ma'am. I'm going to patch you through to  Ambulance service. ---
You have GOT to be kidding me?
One of the last things I remember the 911 lady telling me was,
"You know, you don't have to just use your voice to rouse him?"
Yes? Yes? Do you want me to guess them or do you care to give me some suggestions?
Then she said,
"The ambulance is on it's way ma'am. Just keep him lying on his left side and keep trying to wake him."

It occurs to me that his blood sugar might be low since he hadn't eaten since Friday afternoon. I found some baby organic apple juice that I managed to get him to drink. I waited for him to perk up. He didn't.  I tried to get him to drink another tiny bottle. This time he couldn't.

At this point. There were a couple of issues that were pretty critical in addition to the fact that my 38 year old husband was lying lifeless on the living room floor and my 18 month old was playing in her crib oblivious to the fact that we experiencing an enormous crisis and I had been suffiently ticked off by the 911 call:
#1 - Iain sleeps in his skivies (sorry, hon) and I felt like he deserved a little bit of dignity before we had a houseful of people
#2 - I had just gotten out of the shower when I decided to "wake" Iain up, so even though I had my makeup on, I ALSO was in my underwear. (Pardon the image I'm painting - but it's pertinent information considering  a bunch of emergency responder guys are getting ready to fly through my front door.)

So, I frantically dashed around throwing clothes on me and dressing my grown, passed out, dead-weight, not-so-petite husband.  I can't begin to tell you the things that were going through my mind. THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!

I got us both dressed with seconds to spare before Dana rushes throught the door.  Honestly, there's really no one better I could have asked for during an emergency. She's like me - great DURING the emergency ~ fall apart AFTER the emergency.

She runs to Iain to check him and says, "Oh my Gosh. He's soaking wet! Has he been sweating like this the whole time?"

Not sweat.  I used the cold water like the frustrating 911 lady told me to.  It didn't work.

"Please just get the baby, Dana.  The ambulance is on its way."
Dana grabs Max (our little dog) and goes in the nursery with Gianna.

And I'm on the floor...alone...with my husband.
My adreneline must've been pumping well enough to allow me to lift him up to a sitting position. I propped him on his extended arm and leaned him against me. I held his face in my hands just kept kissing him and telling him how much I loved him and how much I needed him to help me to get him better.
I refused to let terror register on my face...just in case he opened his eyes for a second.  I wanted him to see "calm" in me.  I smiled at him.
"Both Gianna and I need you to be really strong right now."
"You have to stay here with me, Iain."  I didn't want to go there.
It became abundantly clear that this could very well be one of the most life-defining moments of my life. 
I didn't want to embrace the possibility of what could be happening. But at the same time...if this was my last time alone with him....I wanted to say what needed to be said.  I HATE THIS!
When we marry, we both say, "Til death do us part." or "As long as we both shall live."
But when we say those vows, we focus on LOVE part, not on the DEATH part.

Death will separate us. Period. One of us will suffer through the grief of losing the other. Not a fun thought - but very real.

It was very real to me at that moment on that Saturday at 1:00 pm.

After what seemed like forever....the 2 Emergency responders came....and a few minutes later....another four of them came. Bad dream. Lifetime movie. Whatever this just didn't seem real.

CLICK HERE to read Part II

*** Okay, remember when I said I might not be able to finish this in one post?  Well, we're at that point.  I cannot write anymore tonight.  I really am not trying to create an irritating cliff-hanger. Honest.    But I need some sleep.
I'll fast forward to the end and then fill in the blanks later:
We don't have a whole lot of answers,
but I believe we're out of immediate danger.
That's my prayer.
More later.
Prayers welcomed and appreciated.


  1. Wow! Maria, I can't believe that you had to go through all that, but I am so glad that you were able to think calmly enough to have a friend come for Gianna so you could concentrate on Iain. Fill us in on the rest when you can.

  2. Maria! This is sooo crazy! I'm glad he's out of immediate danger! Besides prayer, please let me know if I can do anything!

  3. Maria I am so sorry you guys had to go through that! Sounds super scary and tense. I pray that he remains well and you get some answers so he can manage whatever it is that caused this.And thank God for your friend who was there for you and Gianna!

  4. My goodness - not anything anybody wants to go through. I pray for healing and for peace for you guys. I'm sure having to see your husband like that was hard and fear will try to creep in. I'm glad to hear he is okay now.

    I did get a giggle out of the undies and painting a picture of it. You're normal. That's nice!

  5. Oh Maria, how awful! You must have been scared to death! I do hope that Iain is all better and they can figure out what caused that so it doesn't happen again! Keeping y'all in my prayers!

    And I feel exactly the same way about life time movies - I had to swear off of them because they were such downers and at the ending was never satisfying.

    Please keep us updated on Iain's health.

  6. Maria,

    Praying for you guys...let me know if I can do anything to help. I can't imagine how scared you must have been.

  7. Lots of love and prayers for all of you. Praying for Iain's full recovery.


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