I hate hospitals. I understand many good things can happen in them, from saving your life to giving birth. They’re just not my jam. And when you add a stubborn streak the size of the Mississippi, you’ve got a girl who has to feel like real shit to even consider going to one. And this girl ended up feeling like real shit, so we went to the ER.
My restricted breathing became really restricted breathing. Apparently, the hospital staff had more faith in my body’s ability to wait for hours on end, as we checked in around 10:00 am, I didn’t see a doctor until 1:00 and wasn’t in a hospital room until 9:00 pm. The sheer panic and pain of not being able to breath is probably one of the worst feelings I have ever had (and I’ve had two 100% natural births!). They put me on oxygen and I attempted with complete fail to try to find a comfortable position to lay in. I couldn’t lay back because of the restriction, so my only option was to pile pillows in front of my and lean over them. My feet would fall asleep and my legs would cramp and I can’t say I got more than 2-3 hours of light rest/sleep.
Each day, they would run blood work and CT scans and EKGs and echocardiograms and bacterial infection swaps from my nasal passages (also known as the brain tickle, one of the worst tests ever). And each afternoon they would say they hadn’t found anything and “why don’t you stay with us another 24 hours.”
The days were bearable. My endurance could only get me from the bed to the bathroom and back. I would have to immediately slap my oxygen back on after the journey to try to get my body to calm down enough to breathe semi-normally. Not knowing what was wrong was a special kind of hell.
The nights were absolutely terrible. The horrible hospital bed that blew up and deflated at will, the over-thinking that brought both panic and the lack of sleep produced one despondent girl. It all felt so hard, so unfair, so far from God. I’m still working on our relationship status, and this turn for the worse did no favors in feeling supported.
I finally settled on a thought that kept me kind and calm company. I have a friend named Danielle. When I say friend, I actually mean she’s married to one of my ex-boyfriends. But in the spirit of small towns, we all knew each other. Danielle has advanced Lyme disease with complimentary bacteria to double the pain and misery. I have never personally known someone who has endured unimaginable pain, complete exhaustion and moments of thorough hopelessness as doctors refused to acknowledge that this disease was real and very present in her body.
To share a window into her heroic story, here is a sample. Wife to one and mother to three, Danielle would spend her nights in profound seizures, blacking out from the sheer, overwhelming pain. Her husband would have to “jaw thrust” her to re-start her breathing. Her kids are old enough to know how scary this all is, and no one can give them the answers that would relieve that fear. Their family unit had been dealt one of the biggest challenges I can think of. And the reason I know this is because she was brave enough to share. And because she let us into her dark night of the soul, I didn’t feel alone in mine. My mantra was “If Danielle can get through a night, so can I.”
And now I’m sharing in hopes that someone out there might not feel so alone in their place of darkness. I finally took a small turn for the better, and was released on Tuesday. I am on oxygen because they don’t want my body to stress itself out. And they still aren’t sure what it was, but they suspect the possible beginning of pneumonia. And since my system is compromised, that’s not a great thing to battle.
The hospital took a little bit of life out of me. I left completely exhausted to the point of hysterical tears which led to a tightening up of my chest which led to a panic attack of sorts that night. The fairness piece was broken to bits, the idea that God would allow this and my inability to do anything about it felt like too much to bear.
But last night, my parents prayed over me, asking God to come alongside in some tangible way. Within moments I felt a physical weight lifted from my chest. I slept so hard, I woke up in puddle of sleepy drool. I had made it through the night and cannot see it as anything less than a loving miracle that was gifted to me. I realized that I am stronger than I even thought, and my endurance just got bumped to the next level of badassery. I didn’t think I could do it, but God knew I had to pass the test. And I did, dammit.
You are not alone in your dark night of the soul. You have brothers and sisters that have gone through these pains and fears. You have angels and spirits and surrounding you, not always to take the burden away but to support you through hell to a stronger and wiser self. I almost lost my way this week. But my soul kept me anchored to the truth that I can and will make it through each and every challenge that is put in front of me. I don’t even need to know how. God is taking care of that part.
If you want to check out Danielle’s blog, A Beautyfull Mess, you may benefit from her beautiful brutal story. Xx, Brita