If I Had 30 Seconds to Live

This entry is a true recollection of the events that took place April 29-30th, 2013.

It was the day after my Junior Prom and while all of my friends were recovering from a night of dancing and after-prom parties, I was in excruciating pain. A pain so unbearable, I couldn’t walk. My dystonia was kicking my butt. My mom drove me to see my pain management doctor. Every bump, every turn, every sudden stop sent unbearable pain surging through my body. It was a challenge just to remain conscious despite the unimaginable pain and I was unsuccessful at suppressing my tears, as several drops rolled down my flushed cheeks.

I sat patiently in the waiting room while my mom filled out some paperwork. All I remember thinking is, “Someone, anyone please make this pain stop. I can’t take it anymore.” I was sleep deprived and unable to eat due to high levels of pain. Even my soft, relaxation music could not distract me from the intense fear and suffering I felt. “What am I to do? I can’t go on living life in this kind of pain,” I pondered. That 15 minutes in the waiting might as well have been a lifetime. After they called my name to go to an examination room, I slowly rose from my chair grimacing and groaning with every move I made. The walk to the exam room was like running a marathon. By the time I got there and settled on the table, I wanted to sit there and sob. But I didn’t because I hate crying in public.

When the doctor came in, he immediately noticed how distressed I was from the pain. He suggested doing two lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks to try and relieve my pain. I’m my head, I’m thinking “yeah, yeah, I’ll get my pain relief in a week”. Then, he asked me when the last time I ate was. I thought this was a strange questions but I told him last night. As it was already 2:00 in the afternoon, he was shocked. He responded with “Don’t eat or drink anything. We’re going to the OR tonight.” “Tonight? What? Last time I had a block, I waited for 2 weeks.” I was very calm about it. After all, I’d had blocks before. Piece of cake.

When we left the office, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. A peace so relaxing that I can’t describe it. My mom and I went home to pack up a few essentials for my overnight stay in the hospital.

As we pulled out of the driveway, little  did I know that I wouldn’t see my grandma, brother, dogs, and house for 18 days.

Just as the ride to the doctor’s office was excruciating, the ride to the hospital wasn’t much better. However, I still had this overwhelming sense of calm that I just couldn’t explain.

When we got to the hospital, we sat in the admissions waiting room for hours. This was extremely taxing on my sensitive body. I listened to music, drew pictures, watched TV, but nothing could distract me from the dominating pain that ravaged my body.

Finally, after hours of waiting, I got to go up to the adolescent medical floor, 9A. 9A has pretty much become a second home to me. After talking with the admissions nurse and getting an IV placed, I was put on a Dilaudid PCA. I was so hopefully that the medication would help, but my hopes were quickly crushed, when the medication failed to even take the edge off the pain. There were a few emergency surgeries that night, so I didn’t get into the OR until 1am; 3 hours after my scheduled time.

To pass the time, I watched movies, talked to my mom, played games, and listened to music. My cousin, who I had not spoken to in months called to chat and wish me good luck. After she hung up, I listened to my music again. The last song I listened to was “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. Remember this detail because it will be very ironic.

My mom had made plans to go home and help my brother with a Spanish project after I was settled back in my room after the block. She did, got a shower, took him to school, and came back to the hospital to be with me for the next procedure.

The procedure went smoothly. I went back to my room and my mom left as planned. At 7:45 in the morning, the nurse came in and found me unresponsive and in respiratory arrest with a weak pulse. She called a code and members of the Critical Care team rushed to my bedside. They started artificially ventilating me and rushed me down to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or PICU.

Shortly there after my mom walks into my room and thinks that she has walked into the wrong room. No bed. No Meghan and the crash cart was thrown open. Just then, the PICU fellow called and told her how to get to me. She doesn’t remember the conversation, except for where I was.

Now back to my side of the story, while they were wheeling me to the PICU, I regained consciousness briefly, told a joke, and they asked me for my mom’s phone number which I provided. Then I fell unresponsive again. But just before I fell unresponsive, my life flashed before my eyes and I was filled with regrets. Would I ever get to drive? Graduate high school? Get married? Have kids? Become a surgeon? Be a grandma? But I had some regrets too. I regretted not going to a high school dance and not leaving my mark on this world. I can proudly say that when I die, I won’t have these two regrets. I went to Homecoming in a CRPS flare, walker and all. I truly believe that by the time I die, I will having changed someone’s life.

Near death experiences make you think about what the last words that you would say to certain people would be. These are the real original thoughts going through my head down below.

Mom: I love you to the moon and back. Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be with Jesus. I won’t be in pain anymore, Mom! Never forget that I love you. I’ll always be your baby girl.

Dad: I love you more than words can describe. I’ve always been and always will be Daddy’s Girl. I take after you so much and I couldn’t have asked for a greater dad. Don’t worry about me. I won’t be in pain anymore. Love you more than you’ll ever know.

Brother (Evan): I love you, dude! Work hard in school because you are the smartest, strongest and best little brother in the world. For that I am so blessed.

Grandma Nan: I know that you won’t remember a single word that I’m telling you, but I want you to know just how much I love and appreciate you.

After 24 hours, I was finally out of the woods. If that nurse had been 30 seconds later, I would have died. Doctors say it’s a miracle I survived.
Remember that song I mentioned, “I Can Only Imagine?” Now that you know my story, listen to the song and you’ll see the irony. Link is below. I do not own this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPhIp0DsLH0

I spent 8 days in the PICU followed by 3 days on the regular floor 9A, before being transferred to an inpatient, rehabilitation facility to regain my strength, improve my function, and reduce my pain.

Something divine happened in my room that night and God and my guardian angel, Grandpa Bayer were definitely watching over me. There is nothing like an experience like this to make you remember just how very short life is and how it can be over in the blink of an eye when you least expect it. It made me realize  that I had not yet left my mark on this world. I believe that is why God sent me back. I wasn’t done with his work yet. It is my hope that when I do die someday, that I can truly believe with all my heart, mind, soul, and being, that I’ve made my mark on this world and hopefully changed at least one person’s life.

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” –Diane Ackerman

May you be showered with God’s Blessings today and everyday,
***Meghan***

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