Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fight or Flight?

I now know what fight or flight response is. I remember learning about it in anatomy class in the 11th grade but I didn't really know what Mrs. Crowder was talking about. But now I do. I experienced it the night that I did my last blog (two days ago) about my hatred of all things medical (ironic).

Mary Sessions, Mom and I went up to Tim's Ford Lake about an hour and a half away to our cousin's lake house to meet my sister Laura, Aunt Dixie, Uncle Ken, and cousins Will and Claire. We got there at about 7:30 expecting dinner to be ready, but Laura was standing at the oven about to put the lasagna in when we got there, not realizing that it took 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook. We gave her a hard time about it, but we were really okay with waiting to eat dinner at 9:15.

We decided to go on an evening boat ride in order to forget our growling stomachs. It was the perfect time of night, not too hot, with the sun setting in the clouds. We stayed out there until  about 9:10 (perfect timing for the lasagna).

When we came back in to dock, Mary Sessions was getting off the boat to tie it up, and she got off where a pole was that was holding up the dock, so her foot hit the pole instead of the dock, along with the side of her face. Then we think she fell backwards and hit the boat (because we can't figure out how the back of her head was bleeding). Then she fell forwards again and hit the dock with her legs off the dock, but top on the dock.

I don't remember getting off the boat or anything, I just remember knowing that she was unconscious and holding on to her with everything I could because she was falling into the lake. Then my marine Uncle Ken yelled, "DO NOT LET HER FALL INTO THE WATER!" I was having a hard time keeping her up. And then my mom was there holding onto her too, and then Uncle Ken was there, and he was able to pull her up onto the dock. Then I was yelling to call 911, and so was he. Laura was freaking out because couldn't find her phone (which was in her pocket) because she was panicking, but Aunt Dixie was already on the line with them. I think that all happened in about a minute.

That was my fight response, then I had a flight response. I had to get away from the scene because I knew the marine could do it better than anything I could, and I was completely freaking out seeing Mary Sessions laying there.  I went out and up a few stairs towards the house and had my hands lifted praying out loud to Jesus to save her life as she was having a seizure. Laura and Aunt Dixie were praying out loud over her, and Mom was whispering to her, while Uncle Ken was putting her on her side and holding her steady. It was a nightmare scene, but I kept my arms lifted, and for a brief second wondered if any of the many neighbors thought I was a freak if they couldn't see what was going on down at the dock, but I really didn't care at the moment.

I went to the top of the driveway to wait for the ambulance. I also yelled to an elderly neighbor to see if he knew of a doctor around, but he didn't answer.

Mary Sessions woke up and the first thing she said was, "I feel better." It was a relief to everyone! She said she couldn't figure out where she was, and she was really fuzzy, telling Uncle Ken that the president is George W. Bush, then laughing because she knew that was wrong. She could move, though Uncle Ken made sure that she not move anything at all.

And after what seemed like ages, a good 20 minutes, the ambulance arrived. I led the EMTs down there, and they asked her the president, and this time she got it right! Go Mary! I crossed my fingers as it took her a while to remember the year and month, but she got them right.

They said she needed to be life flighted to a trauma center because she had both a seizure and was unconscious. Apparently just because someone is talking doesn't mean that there isn't a brain injury, so they wanted her to be flown to Vanderbilt, Huntsville, or Chattanooga, and my mom begged for Chattanooga so my dad could be at the hospital when she got there.

Six men carried Mary Sessions up on a board about 50 stairs to the ambulance. We followed the ambulance to the place where Life Force came to see her off, but then the police wouldn't let us close. There were so many people there! Four sheriff suburbans, a couple police cars, and what looked like the entire volunteer fire department, and of course the helicopter!

Mary Sessions got a 27 minute ride on a hard board in a neck brace to Erlanger. Laura, Mom and I got a hour and a half car drive as we sweated bullets in two separate cars (brave Mom alone, Laura and I in another car). to Erlanger. Dad got to Erlanger an hour before Mary did because he wanted to make sure he was there. When we arrived, Aunt Anne G, Laura's small group leader, our two pastors, Laura Leatherwood and her brother Wade and a few of Laura's friends were there waiting and praying for Mary.

A very cute doctor (says Laura) met Mary at the helicopter and got her to her room to check her out. They only let us see her two at a time and I missed the doctor every time I was back there. I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

Dad was sure to take a pic of her on
his camera phone. She was even smiling
in a neck brace!

The doctor had very good reports and let Mary walk out of the hospital barefooted just 3 hours after she had arrived. Our family got home at 2 am after being stopped by a policewoman for Dad running a red light... After Mary intentionally made a very sickly face and Mom explained the story, the policewoman let them go without proof of insurance, but questioning if Dad was in a condition to drive safely. 

I was so happy that the whole family was home that night! I couldn't have even dreamed that would happen when I was praying over the dock just five hours earlier. 

Mom and I had trouble sleeping after all that, even though she was alright. I might have gotten an hour of sleep. I think I was still recovering from the fight or flight response adrenaline or something. I had to start taking every thought captive and Philippians 4:8-ing every thought like Paulette always told us to do ("Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things"). I had to make myself stop what-if-ing everything... And remember that Mary Sessions is great and anyways, God has it all under His control, and He loves her more than any of us do.

Mary Sessions has had lots of visitors, sweet texts, cards, flowers and candy. I am so thankful that she is completely okay, though she is still taking strong pain medicine for her headaches and very sore muscles from hitting things and having a seizure. To me, she's much much better than she could be. It's kind of embarrassing that I'm sore too, though not nearly as bad, from trying to pull her out of the lake.  I need to work on my arms and legs a little.

I remember praying that God's Will be done, and that I believed with my all that God could heal her completely, but I didn't even imagine that she would be fine and out of the hospital in 5 hours. This verse is it exactly:

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, 
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church 
and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Band-Aid

Tuesday morning I had a dermatologist check up appointment. Dr. Fenn looked at my skin and moles, and he found two moles that looked suspicious, so he ended up telling me that he needed to take biopsies on them. I was fine with that until the nurse led me into another room instead of leaving. You see, I thought that I would come in another day with my mom to have them taken off, but Dr. Fenn wanted to do it immediately.

I frantically told the nurse that my mother wasn't there and I was alone and had to drive myself home, but she just said that it was okay. That didn't work. Then I told her that I am not good with needles and with things like this, I get queasy sometimes,  and I've never had a mole removed. She said that it would be okay. (Not the reactions I was looking for.) And so, I just told her I did NOT want to look at the needle or see ANYTHING that they were doing. And she said, of course, that it would be okay.

And so she gave me the numbing shots. I closed my eyes and probably made weird faces. She gave me the one on my upper abdomen first, then the one on my back which hurt way more. He then razored them off and I didn't even know he was doing it except for the pressure.... Then came the worst part. The band-aid.

Ever since I was a child, I've hated band-aids. I've always hated blood and needles and casts and such. I would scream if someone came around me with a cast on or with any limb amputated. My extreme hatred of anything medically related was over the top. When I'd get a bloody knee, I'd be more upset because I had to put a band-aid on it and I knew that it was going to hurt when I had to pull it off.

I've improved since then. I got shots for Haiti last year all alone, and I got these numbing shots alone, though I did make some painful noises and faces. I can now help other people who get boo-boos and need band-aids. I can be around people with casts and not cry. I've come a long way, but the band-aids still get to me. Especially when I know they are going to hurt!

You see, at our house we have these intense water-proof band-aids. They are good in theory... until you put them on! They are the stickiest things I've ever seen. It's like those heart monitor stickies that they put on you when you get put to sleep for surgery. Has anyone else ever woken up when they haven't taken them off and suffered through the pain of ripping them off?

Well, these band-aids are like that! And they are painful to get off. It's hard to get them off because they stick so closely to the skin, you have to use your fingernails to peel it up. I have to change two band-aids twice a day, so I have to do it a lot.

To sum it up, the band-aids have caused me more stress and worry than the procedure itself ever did. 

Pray that the biopsy comes back with good results (no cancer) so that I won't have to have another worse procedure where they take out more. Skin cancer runs in our family and I have decided to wear more sunscreen so I don't have to wear more band-aids!