The Art of Storytelling: The Time I Almost Died in a Credit Union Parking Lot

11 Oct

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Ahhhh….the story I reference the most on this blog but have never told.  Gather ’round hustlers…….

Picture it, August 2005.  I was a carefree 25 year old, doing regular 25 year old shit, like staying out until the sun came up and dating fuck boys that drove white Dodge Magnums.  I was generally an all around healthy person and my periods were always regular and normal (put a pin in that).  So in late August/early July I started getting these gas like pains in my stomach.  They were also a little crampy at times but I didn’t think anything of it because I had been spotting for an entire month.  The fact I was spotting went completely over my head because I had just started using a little something called the Orthra Evra Patch.  You know I am all for easy birth control so this was super easy.  One week the pain got worse.  Because I had a really poor diet I thought it was just gas from all of the crap I was eating.  I didn’t want to go to the ER because in healthcare we laugh at those who get all dramatic about stomach pain and all they have is gas.

On August 13th I went to work as usual, but by this point the “gas” pain was so bad that it hurt to even stand up straight.  I still kept on working, and I figured since I was getting off early that day I would go home and get some rest.  I got off at 2 and headed to the credit union so I could get a money order for an apartment I was trying to rent.  Everything was fine until I got out of the car.  I immediately felt like I was going to pass out and something strange happened to my vision.  The world looked like I was looking at it through a paper towel roll, if that makes any sense.  As I stumbled to the door of the credit union unable to catch my breath, I sat down in one of the chairs and tried to compose myself.  What the hell was happening to me?  Maybe it was the heat.  I hadn’t been drinking enough water.  Maybe I was just dehydrated.  I got some of my strength back and headed to the counter and got my money order.  When I got back outside, it happened again!  This time I couldn’t hear or barely see.  I started my car and made my way out of the parking lot to the stop sign.  I had two options.  I could go left and head home, get some water and sleep whatever this was off.  The next option was to go right and head to the hospital down the street.  There was a little voice that said, “Go right, even if it’s gas you will know it’s gas.”

When I got in the ER I explained my symptoms and when I got to triage, the nurse took my blood pressure.  She looked at me with a very concerned face and called another nurse over.  The other nurse took my blood pressure again and I took a peek at the number it was 80/50.  I could tell by their faces that was not good, and they got a wheelchair and wheeled me to the back.  I started to feel a little bit better as I waited for the doctor to come so in my head I am thinking that I was right about the gas and this stay was going to be pretty quick.  The PA asked me some questions and when he asked if it was possible that I was pregnant I cackled and showed him my patch.  They still made me pee in a cup and the waiting game continued.  After about an hour of waiting the PA returned and said they were going to wheel me down to ultrasound.  After verifying my identity to the tech, she asked, “Besides this time, how many times have you been pregnant?”  Beg pardon?  What the hell did she mean by “this time?”  I couldn’t be pregnant.  I had the patch.  I asked her to clarify and her eyes got big.  “They didn’t tell you that you were pregnant?”  I shook my head no.  She let out an exasperated sigh and left the room.  When she came back she said, “I am sorry, I wish they really would have told me that you didn’t know.”  I couldn’t register a damn thing she was saying.  Pregnant?  What?  Now, by this time The Girl was two and I was in NO WAY prepared to be a parent again.  To make matter worse, I was pregnant by the King of all Fuckboys AND I was still living with my parents.  If I was not laying on that table I would have wall slid right into the ground.  There was talk of the pregnancy possibly not being inter uterine and I have never stared at an ultrasound so hard.  I didn’t see anything that resembled the little jumping bean I recalled from when I was pregnant with The Girl, but if you have ever seen an early ultrasound you never know what you are looking at.  They wheeled me back to another room and by this time my mom and sister, who was in town were there and they brought The Girl because I wasn’t able to pick her up from school.  When I saw my mama all I could think of was, “She is going to kill me.  Right here in this hospital.”  The doctor came back and she asked if I wanted to clear the room.  I said yes and my family left.  She said, “You are pregnant, but it is an ectopic pregnancy and you are going to need surgery.  We may be able to save your fallopian tube, provided it didn’t rupture but if it did, we won’t be able to save it.  Right now we are planning for a laparoscopic surgery but if things are complicated there is a possibility that we will have to go to an open approach.”  My mom and sister came back in the room and I finally told my mama what was going on.  Her response: “PREGNANT BY WHO?!?!?!”  I really didn’t think that was important and thank God for the Mama-I-Am-Dying card because I really think she was going to kill me.  My sister circled the wagons and addressed what I was really scared of.  Daddy Page.  Listen, Daddy Pope has nothing on Daddy Page.  Daddy Page is the hell, high water, fire, and brimstone.  She leaned in and said, “Listen, this is the story.  Vicky has a cyst.  The cyst has ruptured.  Fin.”  In that moment she became my personal Olivia Pope.  As I waited for the nurse to wheel me up to the OR, I was secretly relieved that it was an ectopic, I loved kids, but I was still living in my mama’s house. Furthermore, my baby was only two, this was all for the best I rationalized.  In the quiet of the OR the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face and told me to count backwards from 100, 100, 99, 98……..

I woke up shaking like a Polaroid picture because guess what?  I have malignant hypothermia, so I was placed under a lot of blankets and they had a french fry warming type of light on me.  My throat was dry.  Where the hell am I?  Why is my nurse talking to me about her reinstatement of a bad smoking habit after her divorce?  Where is my mama?  They let my mom come back to recovery and she patted my back and gave me some graham crackers.  I just looked at her and said, “I’m sorry, Mama.”  I lifted the hospital gown and noticed that I had three little cuts that were covered with band aids, they did the laparoscopy.  The rest of the night was a little foggy, but I do remember that my dad met us at Walgreen’s and I sobbed like a baby in the car because I felt like I let him down.  I got home and worked on the business of recovering.

Three days later, I returned to the GYN who did my surgery for my post operative visit.  He showed me the pictures from my surgery.  I was shock.  “Miss Page, that first picture is what your inside looked like when I put the scope in.”  Y’all, that picture was pitch black.  My abdomen was FILLED with blood.  According to the doctor, I had probably been bleeding out into my abdomen for the last few days.  He told me that I probably would have died had I waited any longer.  The words hit me like a sledgehammer.  That is how fragile life is….if I had turned left and went home, I would have not woke up, just like that.  I did lose my fallopian tube, which didn’t prove to be an issue as 4 years later The Boy was born, but that day I learned a valuable lesson.  I will never ignore my body and the signals it sends when something is wrong.

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