I'm not entirely sure how to write this post coherently, or if I can. I am currently sitting in a empty ICU room, shaking like a leaf, surrounded by disconnected wires and machines, waiting for my grandmother, Nana, to be brought back from her MRI. I realize this is probably a somber way to start a post, my apologies. To simply say the past seven days have been shitty is like saying "it's just a flesh wound" when in reality you've just had your arm cut off. Ten points if you caught that reference. You go, Glen Coco.
Monday of last week, the 19th, I had a bad health scare. Before I get to that, let me back up a little. On the 15th I woke up with numerous, horrifyingly dark, bruises all over my thighs and the back of my calves. It seriously looked like someone had beat me (and before anyone asks, I am not being abused by anyone). I bruise easily due to being anemic, plus I'm a bit clumsy, but I knew I hadn't done anything to warrant almost black bruises. I had physical therapy the next day and, like an idiot, I wore shorts instead of leggings. Naturally, Debbie, my bubbly and lovely PT, freaked. By then the bruises had faded slightly, turning into a deep purple, but it still looked awful. By Sunday evening they still looked scary bad and I decided to go see my doctor at walk-in clinic Monday afternoon. Her nurse was also incredibly freaked out when she saw them. I felt fine when I went to the clinic, but ten minutes after sitting in the exam room I felt incredibly light-headed and almost passed out. Plus the pain behind my right eye, the one I always get before I get a migraine, was hurting worse than ever (did I mention it had been hurting for a couple of days?). So I laid down. Tried to sit up when the nurse came in to take my vitals and when I tried to sit up she immediately said, "um, no. The color just totally drained from your face, what little you have anyway, lay back down". When my sweet doctor came in I tried to sit up and the same thing happened. "Lay back down. Don't even think about trying to sit up again," she told me. And then I felt like I was shaking so bad I thought my skin was crawling. Oh, and the migraine was getting worse. She called the lab and had them send someone down to draw blood while she called the hematologist at the cancer center. Four hours after going in I was finally allowed to go home (but wasn't allowed to drive). I haven't gotten the results yet, but we do know the bruising is "purpura". Now we need to find out 1) what's causing it and 2) where is the blood being taken from (meaning it's being taken from somewhere it shouldn't and redirected). I'm terrified of what's going to happen with everything, and I'm still shaking. But wait, it gets worse...
Tuesday evening while at college group I just happened to look down at my phone and I had a text from Mom saying, "text me when you leave. Nana at hospital. I think it's okay but hit her head? Don't know anything until I get there". Sidenote for those who don't know: my Nana is my world. I stayed at her house for a week when dad ran off, spending God knows how many hours curled up in a ball on her couch crying while she held me during that time. We've always been close. When I saw Mom's text I immediately stepped out to call her. Nana had stepped outside to put something in the trash. When she didn't come back in my Papa went outside to check on her, she was attempting to get up and there was blood everywhere. Papa realized she hit her head on the concrete and took her to the ER. She was completely coherent on the way until about two blocks away from the hospital when she started talking out of her head. I told Mom I'd be right there and hung up. As soon as I hung up, my Dad called. "I know, I just got off the phone with Mom. I'm on my way," I said. "They're taking her into surgery, Mom doesn't know yet. She's on her way. There's a bleed in Nana's brain that they have to get under control immediately". I got there in time for the surgery and I've barely left the hospital since. I ran as hard as I could through the ER parking lot and screwed up my knee so it's hurting again. I don't regret it.
I could go on and on about how things have gone this week, but let me see if I can give you the cliff notes instead: Saturday morning she was put on a ventilator and by that afternoon we were told she would most likely never wake up. When I got the second phone call, I finally broke. I had cried on the phone with a friend that morning, bless sweet friends who sit on the phone with me as I cry for half of the conversation, but this time I broke out into full-on panic attack hysterics. I was sitting in the floor at the time and when I hung up the phone I just went into fetal position. Penny sat by me patiently for a little bit, and then purposely laid all of her body weight on top of me and licked my face until I calmed down. Yesterday my dad and I convinced our fantastic neurologist to take Nana's case and he gave us hope. The part of the brain hit is the part that controls speech,but the fact that she was able to talk after she fell and that she was still thrashing her legs around in ICU is a good sign. Basically she hit her head with such force it was like her brain has 100 strokes all at once. Today? Today Nana opened her eyes numerous times, is trying to communicate, and follows us/our voices around the room with her head. I haven't seen it for myself yet but others have. The neuro gave us a good report this morning and, praise God, she may very well recover from this just fine.
Today I am thankful. For the support system I have through my church family. For genius neurologists who think outside of the box. For my family. For Penny. For professors who tell me not to worry about an assignment while I camp out in ICU. For sweet friends, whom I don't deserve, that listen to me cry on the phone and tell me it's okay to do so, remind me that they love me and that they are a support system I can trust and rely on, who talk me down with ease when I'm in a panic, and get me to laugh when I don't think it's possible. And above all, I am thankful for a God who puts these people in my life at exactly the right moment, who removes the people who drag me down instead of lift me up, firmly and constantly reminds me what/who is important in this world, gives grace and mercy when I don't deserve it, and blesses me more than I deserve and far more than I will ever be able to comprehend.