At this time of the year, we reflect on what we are thankful for, and typically one of the first things out of our mouths are our health and our family. Makes perfect sense as these are truly what matter to us, when all else is stripped away. The problem is, we forget to live that way the rest of the year.
Our family has an extra special reason to be thankful, and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a strong reminder, but not as you may think. We had a dreadful thing happen the Saturday/Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend in 2008.
The weekend that changed us forever
My hubby had never been a hunter, but decided to go on a weekend duck hunting orientation with some guys from work. The location was remote, plus he accidentally left his cell phone at home anyway. Because of the remote location, he met up with somebody and left his car near the interstate. We are in GA, but this happened to be a very wet and cold weekend. He left on Friday morning and was expected home sometime on Sunday afternoon.
That Sunday, I went with my youngest daughter, 15 at the time and another teenage friend, to IKEA in Atlanta (about 40 miles from my home). Just as I was getting in the car to leave, I get a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was my hubby, who sounded horrible. He said, “I’m sick, baby”. He was calling from our local hospital ER phone. You have to realize, my hubby doesn’t go to the hospital. I asked “if he had a fever, did he catch pneumonia?”
Then he said, “I think I had a stroke”.
My first thought was to shrug it off, that he was overreacting, but it became apparent he wasn’t. I called my 17 year old son who was at home, to get his dad’s phone and to go directly to the hospital. I left from IKEA straightaway and headed there as well.
When I arrived, the had confirmed my husband had bleeding on the brain, but that it looked as if it had stopped. They were sending him to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. At this point I knew it was serious, but didn’t understand how serious, and the local hospital didn’t explain.
Transferred to Emory
I chose not to ride in the ambulance as I thought I would want my car with me in the city. As soon as they left with him, I went home and grabbed 2 changes of clothes and a few toiletries. Then I went to Emory.
When I arrived, they had him in a Neurosciences ICU. The doctor had looked at his scan, and proceeded to tell me that hubby had suffered a brain aneurysm. The blood and spinal fluid were building pressure in his skull and they needed to release that. They also said he would be in the ICU for 14 days and the hospital for at least another 7. In my shock of the situation, I remember thinking “I’m gonna need more clothes”! That’s insane, when I think back!
This story is long, and I am not going to tell the whole thing here in this one post. I will tell you this, that my hubby is a walking miracle. He was in ICU for 11 days and then in a room for 2 days before going home. He has no lasting effects from the aneurysm. Everything they said could happen didn’t, with the exception of needing a shunt in his skull to drain spinal fluid. That is a surface procedure and not open skull!
While we were in the hospital, I saw several families lose their loved ones. It was very sad, and I felt a little guilty that my husband was doing so well. We know now that it was not his time.