Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It has been a wild week. There's really not a way to make this into a funny, or moving story, but I want to write it down to remember anyways. So here goes...

Last Sunday (the 14th) the kids and I went to our niece's 2nd birthday. She was the one born a day before Baby. They are two now! Hubby stayed at home, still trying to get everything together to water our very dead, very dry pasture. We left the party around 4 pm, went shopping for a few groceries, then headed home. This must've been 5:00-5:30 or so. Hubby wasn't around the house, but I was busy getting napping kids out of carseats and groceries into the fridge, hanging out some laundry, etc, so I didn't have time to look for him at first. The kids asked about him, and I said I didn't know. Finally I stepped out onto the porch to have a look-see, and his truck was indeed gone from tits parking space.  However, it was parked just across the fence in the pasture, and he was walking across the lawn.
There you are," I said.

Hubby, working on The Hole in Spring. This is near the site he was working.

"What?" he replied. He looked quite hot and tired and was kindof short with his answers, so I went back into the house. I expected him to come in for a drink or a rest, but the next thing I saw, he was zipping back up the pasture in his truck.

Some time later I wondered how things were going, so I decided to call him. This was perhaps just after 7:00. I couldn't find my cell phone, so calld him with the house phone, but he didn't answer. This is not terribly unusual; the phone could be in his stuck and he might bhave stepped away for a time, or have his hands busy. I located my ocell phone, and called him again, and yet again, without answer. The last call was at 7:16. I decided I might walk up andcheck on things, and wondered if he had any waterwith him. I stepped out and looked in his work truck, and saw his big insulated thing there, so knew THAT wasn't with him. Nor was the water jug from the fridge, so I took it in hand, and told the girls I was going up to take water to Daddy. They said they would stay t the house. I walked up there, scanning for his shape, but didn't see any movement. I could see the truck, even earlier from the porch, but no movement. I got close, and saw him.

Face down, in the dirt and weeds.

I ran to him, and crouched down in front of him. It was a hot, sunny day, and his (recently shaved) head and arms were sweaty. "Are you okay?!?" I asked, and he made some sound. He had thrown up on himself, and in several places between him and the truck, which was maybe 10 feet away from him. I kept asking if he was hurt, or if he had been drinking, or what he ate. I instructed him that I would pour some water past his mouth so he could sip some or swish out his mouth, which he kindof tried to do.  I looked in the truck bed and saw a reciprocating saw, but it didn't seem to have been used yet. The door to the cab was open and there was an empty bag of Fritos on the seat, and some other things, but no water, no vodka bottles. :) I turned the key off to stop the loud Christian music that was blaring, and went back to him. By now the neighbor working just along the other side of our driveway could see there was a problem, so he appeared. By this time Hubby wasn't responding much, though we turned him to his side. He was not injured, and I had threatened to call 911 if he didn't tell me what was going on, or what had happened. He told me not to call. The neighbor told me to call. His wife brought a bowl of water and a cloth, and I washed the bits and dirt from his face and I called the 911 operator. Who I think was some dude just hanging out at home, and not at all like the "Rescue 911" show I remember watching.

Does Hubby look like a splat? I hope not; there were only so many shapes to choose from...

The First Responders (volunteers) showed up, with directing from the neighbor they found the gate, and drove into the pasture. After a time more people came, real live paramedics, the local firehouse's ambulance, I'm not sure what all. Among all the walking feet, I asked the neighbor if he could pick up Hubby's glasses which I'd seen on the ground between us and the pickup, but hadn't had a chance to get. Hubby wasn't responding to anyone, and they started an IV and took his blood pressure, which for him was quite low at 90/58. There was an oxygen mask on him at this point, and we'd strapped him to a stretcher. He started to heave again, and as I was sitting at his head, I moved the oxygen thing off his mouth and nose and grabbed the stretcher (as did everyone else) to turn him to his side so he wouldn't aspirate. After a few minutes of this, he was laid back flat and the mask replaced. Perhaps after this I moved out of the way, because I was more towards his legs/feet when they gave him epinephrin. Several people asked me if he was allergic to bees, and I was pretty certain he wasn't, but he seemed (to them) swollen about the face so they administered it through the IV. They cut his shirt off at some point too. I sent a text message to his mom (which she didn't see), and called the house to check on the girls (the calves were out, they couldn't get them back in, but a neighbor lady was around. I suggested getting a bit of grain to lure them, which she did, as well as drug them with the halter-rope).

A woman First Responder talked to me and answered my questions as things happened. I do not remember all of it, nor in the right order, but there was discussion among the people there, and the people on the radio about the dryness (fire hazard) of the field, and the bumpiness, and the inconvenient gate placement. When they decided they'd have to go through the fence at the nearest point, I asked if we couldn't just toss his carcass over or something..? We just *finally* finished that fence, after all! :] Someone on the radio asked if they "should send fire." The lady replied "yes." "Oh no, DON'T send fire," I joked (I suppose it could be weird to talk like that at such a time. I do the same thing in labor). She smiled and said, "oh, we have the local fire department prepare all our landing sites." I nodded, though I wasn't sure what this meant. They kept traffic away from the ambulance? 'Landing site' = 'staging area' perhaps?

Um, no.

'Landing site = landing site.' For the life flight helicopter. Discussion about the site, the field, the buildings, the small trees in the field... Mouth agape I asked, 'they're sending Life Flight???" Yes. "Because we have a fence??" Oh no. NOT because you have a fence...

Before or after this, a man addressed me and said "because he can't protect his own airway, we have to intubate him." Wow. I always thought that was for pretty severe cases, but I was in no position to argue it. I suppose they didn't want him puking into his lungs on the trip. :]

Life Flight landed alongside the driveway in the neighbor's clearing. The fire department had shown up and sprinkled a bit of water on the dry dustiness. It would not be enough. :)

They finally had him to the point they were ready to move him, and weren't sure how to get him to the helicopter. One of the first responders (the one who'd driven into the field - and left the gate open for the calves to escape. :) ) offered to load him into the back of his pickup, and they all agreed. He backed his pickup nearby and many of them climbed into the pickup with the stretcher. Thankfully they didn't *cut* our fence, but only un-clipped it from the t-posts and laid it on the ground. The truck drove over and they loaded him into the helicopter. At first I didn't want to walk by all the people standing where the ambulance and vehicles were, so I walked in the field for a short distance, watching to see when they would take off. Then I decided I had better go that way after all, for the fence would need put back up. The pilots gestured for me and another person or two to move back more, so I joined the people alongside the ambulance. But first I took a picture with my cell phone, because I knew he would never believe it...

The helicopter engine whined as it sped up. The dust from the area they were parked, and the driveway, was unbelievable. The setting sun was completely obscured. Before it was THAT bad though, I crouched down and put the hem of my dress over my nose and closed my eyes. I wish I had stayed that way, but there must have been a change in the dust, or the sound, or something, because I eased up on my improvised ventilator....

Oh. My. Gosh.

Next time I'm in the vicinity of a helicopter taking off from a gravel/dirt/dust pad, I'm running a whole lot farther a whole lot faster. After the dust came the rocks. It was like a sandstorm, a macro-dermabrasion, a sandblasting of amazing proportion. I dared not take a breath, but I was out of air. I shook my head and turned as much as I could away from the pelting, but was barely able to hold it long enough. Finally it stopped, and I pried my eyes open and carefully gasped for air. The neighbor next to me said, "I'd have offered you my straw hat, but I see you already have one." My hair was FULL of straw - dried bits of dead grass and weeds and seeds and DIRT and ROCKS. Wow. Truly this was almost more incredible than the whole experience with Hubby had been! A paramedic told me to go to the ER in Town to find my husband, but to do what I needed to beforehand, that there was no hurry. I (very ladylike) paused to spit out a mouthful of grit before responding. : \  This was about 8:00 or shortly after, I think.

By this time all four girls were under our nearest neighbor's willow trees, sitting as though it were all a grand show. A neighbor lady from further west was sitting with them (I believe she was the one to help with the calves), and the sweet lady who lives there was standing in her driveway wringing her hands and shaking her head (she is a wonderful neighbor, and loves us to pieces. She is not a believer though, and has a hard time with some things). I paused to talk to each neighbor in turn (as well as a girl with a baby on her hip.. I think she might be the daughter of the first neighbor who came to help me in the field), and gather up my girls. I told them Daddy was sick, but was being taken care of and we had to go to the hospital to see him and see how things were going.

We walked up the dusty drive, me spitting occasionally and trying to brush debris from my hair. Reaching down the back of my dress, I could pinch dirt and grit right off my skin. My underwear were gravelly. (!) At home I gave instructions and tried to think straight (get pajamas, change of clothes, Baby's quilt, Hubby's vitamins?). I brushed at my hair (which was pinned up kindof into a bun, mind you, but I carry a halo of fuzziness after working for any amount of time. Ugh), and changed my clothes - and the gritty panties.

We climbed into the van and I made a couple phone calls - I think I had called my folks from the house, asking them to pray, which they did immediately. I found Hubby's work phone in his work truck, and was able to access his contacts and call his boss and let him know Hubby would not be working in the morning. I called my mother in law, who answered without much excitement, and I knew she had not seen my text message. I told her I was headed to the ER, that they'd taken Hubby there because I found him face down in the field semi-responsive. It was slightly comedic, as she asked "his heart?!?" and I heard the echo from others in the room with her  "heart? heart attack?" I told her they didn't know yet, but hoped to find out soon. I told her we might be imposing on her, or would need perhaps somewhere to keep the kids, and she assured me that they "would be there." This was 8:45.

She was at the ER by the time I arrived - also my fatherinlaw, both sistersinlaw, at least one of their husbands, plus the little birthday girl, and a 7yo niece. The other's husband might have been there too; I know he was there later, but I didn't see him at first, or I don't remember it. Hubby's folks and I went in while the aunts/uncles/cousins and my girls stayed outdoors. The sun had set by now (9pm or shortly after).
Sunset from my home, June 2010

Hubby was tied to a bed, had the endo-tracheal tube hooked to a ventilator, an OG tube pumping his stomach, a catheter, and IVs in both arms. They had him sedated, were doing more bloodwork, and took him for a while for a CT scan. They said he seemed to be less swollen than even he was at arrival, so was responding to the epinephrin. LOTS more questions and information, and a bag full of sliced-and-diced underwear and shorts. :] Plus his wallet and cell phone. They left his shirt in the back of his pickup.

I will end here for now, because I've been working on this nearly a week, and won't have it done EVER at this rate. I will add that Hubby is doing well, and though there are things we still have to follow up with, he's home and functioning fine at this point.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness ... that title scared the living daylights out of me.

I'm glad that your husband's home and doing better.

Warm thoughts and prayers in my heart for all of you. Take good care of him ... your love for him shows in your words.


Carol said...

You really left us "up in the air." Was it bee sting, heat, heart? Whatever, I know prayers are being offered for him and you and the family.

Fatima said...

Praying for you all.... very much so.
Many hugs to you.

Benny said...

Oh wow. I had no idea any of this was going on. I'm so sorry, it must have been so scary. But how thankful you must be. God is so good! I hope they find out what it was so he can avoid it in the future, though!