Oh' The Blood: A few months ago, my head experienced an unexpected leak. To the best of my knowledge, blood from a bursting vein flooded parts of the subarachnoid layer of my head, and apparently this is bad. It was a strange and unexpected experience for me and my family. We are trying to learn from it and to be thankful it ended in life. There are many ideas I want to share from this experience, but I'm still processing them myself. I'm still not sure how to situate my thoughts but here are a few highlights that stick with me.
While I Waited: This is a part of the story that speaks to the hour and half after I initially felt the pain, loss of hearing and pressure in the back then front of my head. While I sat in the darkness of my room, my family sleeping, Shanna, the lady I love most, laying just feet away. And while I silently sized up the pain and wondered, what is going on, are these my last moments, why can't I think clearly, what should I do, is this just a headache??? The conversations I had with my self and with the Lord are intimate and personal, but likely a point of contact for many others who experience pain on a daily basis, mental, emotional, physical pain, pain that threatens to drive you crazy or take your life. For now, I can only share this......I made it out.....I made it through the worst parts and to the other side, where I can see, hear, think clearly (my wife would question that), walk, talk, eat and even drive again. (I'm actually back to normal, but normal has always been a fluid concept with me)
City Lights: This part of the story is about the "life-flight" experience from Colorado Springs to Denver, from St. Francis to Sweden Medical Center. The pain was worse, the moments were a blur and before I knew what was going on, I was saying goodbye to Shanna and being put into a helicopter. People were talking, in flight medical and air staff asked questions, pulled and poked me, I must have answered correctly seeing they didn't throw me out. Thoughts of the end flooded my pounding mind. I can't share much now, except for how amazing it was to mentally shut everything out, to find myself in a bubble for just a moment where my physical senses seemed to no longer transmit sound, feelings, or smells. One minute I was fully absorbing what the physical world told me, the next, just a faint sound of a helicopter blade at high speed and a slight wobble left and right. At that moment I decided to look, to make my last view from earth a spectacular one and to look upon the Denver City Lights from my seat above. Not many people get that kind of view and I wasn't going to miss it. I'm not sure moving my head was in the "in flight rule book" for bleeding brain victims, but I was not going to let my last picture be the back of my dark eyelids. It was a fleeting and strange moment, one I barely remember, but one I will likely never forget. Most importantly on this side of the ride, I am thankful that it wasn't my last view from the sky. It seems I will live to see those lights again.....thank you Father!!!
Pulling the Plug: For now I only have one other moment to mention. Several moments actually, moments I don't remember, moments I was not aware of over my 12 days in ICU and moments that leave me with deeply mixed emotions. See, my vein must have burst open, leaked blood in places blood should not be then sealed itself up. Doctors don't know why but it happens, both veins and arteries just sometimes burst and the head is filled to some extent with unwelcome blood, in small or large amounts. It doesn't seem to matter, when this happens, the result can be fatal, cause strokes, other bleeding and brain damage. At the least it can be surprisingly painful for a long time. In my case, the bleeding seemed to be done by day two. It was sketchy but I was in the fight and winning. You couldn't have told my head that from day 3 to 8, nonetheless, I was in the fight. If you don't believe me just ask my nurses and family, rumor has it I was a "difficult" patient. Meanwhile, down the hall, others were loosing the battle, the fight for them was ending and they were in essence pulling the plug. They tell me that three other families lost their loved ones while I was there, I only hope they had a great last moment, a spiritual encounter with their creator and I pray now that their family learns to grieve well. Eternity is real, life and death are real, and for now, I just pray that broken hearts would be healed and that the Spirit of Christ would minister hope to those others, deep, abiding hope. I am deeply grateful to have made it out and to be sitting in the same chair I sat in on that night when I thought it was all about to end. But, I do wish I could have done something to help save the others or to help them find the light of God's Love before the end came. I'm not sure where all this is going, but it has me shaken, in a good way, down to by bones.