Monday, March 30, 2015

The Friday I Coded

And there I was again...being rushed through the back hallways of a hospital by a concerned party, someone silently whispering "it's going to be ok", me doing my hardest to keep my head up, my mom trying her best to carry our collection of purses and coats and keep up.  

I had been here before - many times in fact.  Almost my entire MS journey has been a collective case of re-active catch-ups, instead of pro-active solutions.  I'm always one step behind where I should be, sometimes five, trying my best to catch-up.  

I woke up last Friday semi-excited (and ridiculously early).  I was going on an adventure to the hospital to receive a new drug (a cancer chemo type that some have had luck with "weird" MS cases).  There was hope in this drug and the side effects, though not cute, were limited compared to some of the drugs I have had prior.  Or so I had been reassured prior.  

It was going to be a long infusion - 6-8 hours.  We arrived at the hospital early and ready; I even wore a new sweater for good luck.  

I had my own little private room for the infusion and we settled in pretty nicely - they even warmed their blankets at this hospital!  I started out with the pre-drug drugs to help eliminate the side effects.  They got a stick on the first try and an hour later they had started the infusion. 

15 minutes in I looked to my mom, expressing that I wasn't exactly feeling right.  I had been warned of the side effects and that they start as soon as the drug hits the blood stream; in typical fashion, I sort of shrugged it off.  

Except the feeling was getting worse.  To distract myself, I decided I'd download an audiobook to listen to while the time passed.  And that's the last concrete thought I remember.  

The nurse had come in to check and I expressed that I wasn't feeling so well.  What "feeling so well" meant was that I was feeling pressure in my chest, confusion, weakness.  

One minute I'm looking at the nurse trying to explain how I'm feeling and the next thing I know my mom is gone, I'm surrounded by 13 or so people asking me questions, all with that concern look on their face.

I was coded.  

It was probably a bit dramatic for the situation (but to be fair, better safe than sorry).  My mom filled me in on the details later - they escorted her back to the waiting room, Code C being broadcasted throughout the hospital, a counselor finding her to sit with her and make sure she was ok.  

Hey mom, what if it really was just an early April Fools joke?  Did I get you? (:

After my vitals were brought to a stable enough point, I was transferred to the ER.  From there I was admitted.  The pain was some of the worst pain I have ever experienced.  I consider myself having a high pain tolerance which only furthered my concern - if it hurt this bad, what the heck was going on?  

This picture is so gross - but shows what a difference an hour makes huh? (:

I got to do all the tests, all the great hospital things that come with being admitted, and I had a room with a view.  The nurses were empathetic and the doctors in search of answers.  

And yet again, none were really found. 

It's a little terrifying to go through some of the worst pain of your life, location - chest, and not know why.  

Today as I was driving back from the neurologist's office, I thought how easy it could be to just become overwhelmed with being upset. To be frustrated.  To be mad.  To be angry.  Those feelings are there, suppressed on some level.  I told myself that it would not be irrational to express them - I deserved to be all of these things.  I thought how I could use the MS trump card to anyone who complained and how I could clear my conscious with the same.  

Then a little question stirred up inside: "Why?".  Yeah, I had earned the right to be upset and frustrated.  But why should I fall in to that?  What good would come of it?  Would it make my happy?  Would it make those around me happy? 

Would it help the situation?

I'm a Catholic and this week is what we call Holy Week - a week to recognize the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection.  

One of my favorite stories of Jesus is when He is in the Garden of Gethsemane   He knows what is coming - He is going to be crucified on a cross.  It's a gruesome and ugly death.  And we find Him in a garden, overcome by it all.  Not just overcome, but actually begging God to make it not be.  "Let this cup pass...".  Jesus was pretty tight with the big man upstairs, he had performed many miracles, in fact he rose a guy from the dead a few weeks prior to this.  He was strong.  

And yet He cried because of the suffering He had to endure.  He was upset.  He asked for it to all go away.  

This is the thought that runs through my head often.  If the Son of God fell in despair because of suffering, then how can I blame me for not wanting to do the same?  

But you know what happens after He cried?  He got back up and completes the sentence "....but your will be done".  And then He goes and carries his cross.  And yes, He dies.  But then He is resurrected - He comes back to life, except to a life with no pain and only glory.  

So I'm going to try my best to keep my head up through all the frustrations.  Mostly because I like being happy.  Mostly because I think life is too short to be cranky.  Mostly because I really like laughing.  But mostly because I look forward to following in the steps of Jesus - I've heard heaven is a really cool place and would love to make it. 

Here's to trying again - because I'm not going to have a little incident keep me down.  

If you find yourself in a little bit of a hole in life, do not be discouraged.  I may play it down or express how easy it is to not be in that hole, but I know this is not the case for some.  If you ever need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out.  And never get mad at yourself for being upset - if Jesus did it, I think it's ok if you did too.  Just remember how beautiful it can be if you get up after.  You are not alone!