Friday, August 14, 2009

The First Time I Died -Part 1

I was a high school senior. It was the first football game of the year. I was fortunate to be my team’s starting tailback. After a pretty good half (65 yards rushing and two sacks as a DE), my muscles started cramping up. I always had problems with cramping while playing sports. Staying hydrated was always a major focus of mine. There were two times before this incident when the cramps got the best of me. Once, the summer after 8th grade, I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of severe muscle cramps and the inability to hold down any liquid (I was outside working on a house renovation in the heat of summer without any water. I know. How brilliant of me.) And also when I was visiting my father over one summer in San Antonio, I started severely cramping after a game of flag football. I was rushed by ambulance again to the hospital and luckily my dad (a military hospital administrator) was able to get his friend (a doctor) to meet me at the hospital doors and begin treating me right away. After blood and urine tests (in which my urine looked like Root Beer) the doctor said that he felt I was just minutes away from some of my organs shutting down. Both times was quite a shock to the system and even more of a shock to my parents.

Well, back to my senior year. This episode of cramps was like nothing I had ever felt before. We’re talking here about muscles cramping in areas that I had no idea contained muscles. They started during the game, but I was able to stretch them out. By the time half time hit, they were all over my body. There I was on the sideline, lying on the ground with trainers surrounding me trying to stretch what seemed like every part of my body. We soon realized that they were not going to stop. So now the question was, do we call an ambulance or do we just go to the ER? We decided to just go to the ER. Bad decision. My uncle carried me to the awaiting minivan and off we went. The whole time to the hospital he was rubbing and stretching all of my leg muscles. To try and describe the pain would do the pain an injustice. All I can say is, picture a “Charlie horse”. Now picture a bunch of Charlie horses all over your body. When I (or my uncle) would try to get rid of a cramp in my quad, it would move to my hamstring. Work on my cramping bicep and it would move to by tricep. I’m telling you, every muscle in my body was cramping in differing strengths for different lengths of time. There was a time during this episode that my eyelids cramped open. I couldn’t close my eyes. Never knew that could happen.

We arrived to the ER and my uncle ran in and got a gurney and a staff member. This is when we realized it was a mistake to not call an ambulance. In a move I can still not explain, they determined that I was not an emergency. There I was sitting, or more accurately laying, in the emergency room with every muscle in my body cramping. My mom and my uncle were diligently rubbing the various parts of my body that were affected as I was writhing in pain. We told everybody working there the situation. I had Cystic Fibrosis and this had happened twice before but not as bad. I pleaded with them to please just get me started on IV fluids. At one point, I banged on the glass partition and said, “You really don’t get it, I need help right now!” I felt helpless. Over the years I have learned to gage when I’m really in trouble and when it was something I could work through. I knew I was in trouble. I needed to be seen and I needed to be seen right away. Nothing seemed to get their attention.

That all changed when I started to hyperventilate and get tunnel vision. I had always heard about tunnel vision but I had never experienced it. I remember trying to catch my breath and just not being able to. I was looking at the ceiling and a dark circle seemed to be closing in around me. It got to the point that I could only see probably a foot or two of the ceiling. It was if I was looking through a scope. With this new development, they rushed me to the back.

When I got into the room, I was pretty much out of it. I don’t remember much in between the tunnel vision and actually getting back into the room. When I got back to the room, I do remember feeling a sense of relief. Finally I was going to get “better”. Boy was I wrong. It only got worse. They had started an IV on me and there were more and more people coming into my room. I remember looking to my mom and she was such a calming force. I thought to myself that something must be going on because there are now a lot of people around. I could not catch my breath and I started to panic. The last thing I remember was taking a ton of short and shallow breaths one after the other and a doctor saying, “Ron, you need to calm down and try to take deep breaths”. When she said this, the medical staff was in the process of sitting me up. That’s when it happened. I had respiratory arrest. My eyes rolled into the back of my head, I stopped breathing.

To be continued....

Part 2 coming next Friday

Miss the first "First Friday"? Click here to check it out.

12 people had something to say...:

casey jones said...

AAAHHHH!!! This is like a T.V. show! Now I gotta wait till next week to read the other half!
I hope its the "Good News" half.
Your blogs get better and better.

niki36 said...

wow! what an intense story..can't believe you are waiting until next week to tell us the rest!! the suspense is killing me LOL
but seriously..thanks for sharing! it definitely gets the importance of hydrating during exercise across.

~nicole

punx87114 said...

man i hate cliffhangers......

Kellee said...

Dang buddy..that must have really stunk!

I remember the 1st time (for me, not M) when M died...I was in shock for a good month after...I dont even really remember much of that time. It was during a Bronch and we got caled back after 2 hours or so and the automatic doors to the lab opened and the doctor just as simple as could be says "Well Michael died on me" and the stupid doors closed!! So here we are on one side of the door and the dr and what we think is M's dead body on the other!! It was horrid! It seemed like it was 5 mions before the door opened again but Im sure it was like 2 seconds and the Dr/ finishes his sentence "but I was able to bring him back" grrr rough day! The whole story is my first entry on my blog if you havent read it.

Oh and I just knew you were gonna do some to be continued post...tsk tsk =)

Denise said...

WTF!!! NEXT Friday...why not tomorrow??

Geesh, this sounds terrible...but I'm happy to know how the story ends.

Chris Donaldson said...

A great read as always. Keep them coming and keep fighting the good fight!

Chris

Deb said...

well, at least we know how it ultimately turns out, since you are not dead (see how smart i am?).

i will admit, you do write a compelling cliffhanger! i can't wait until next friday.

i hope you are drinking plenty during your running workouts.

Lucy's mom said...

WOW! A to be continued??... Way to keep us on our toes!

Katey said...

Wow! Very interesting!! Can't wait til next Friday! I might post the time I "died" next Friday...thanks for the suggestion!!!

I'm trying to catch up on all the blogs...lots of reading to do =)

Mandi said...

Oh man, I hope they were able to revive you!

niki36 said...

LOL mandi!!

Somer Love said...

YIKES YIKES YIKES!!!! and to leave us hanging like that....

I am glad I know you pulled out of that one tho but can't wait to read the rest!

Have the best weekend EVER!

~Somer