I'm always excited for a new year. It seems like a second chance, a chance to start over and do better. And 2014 felt like a bad year (although I couldn't say why without really thinking about it), so I was happy to move into 2015.
But we were only five days into 2015 when it all started to fall apart. I've told this story so many times, but I really want to get it down, both so I don't forget anything, but also for Bob, who, while he lived it, was unconscious for most of it.
Bob had been having some back pain which we first thought might be kidney stones, which he has had before, or it might have just been back strain. Then he also had some pain in his stomach, which we thought could be related to the back pain, i.e., your back hurts, so you walk differently, and that strains your abdominal muscles. This all happened over the first weekend in 2015, and Bob asked me if I would make him an appointment to see his doctor, who is also his best friend. His day off was Tuesday, so I made him an appointment for Tuesday morning.
I asked him if he wanted me to drive him, and he said no. Later that evening he talked to John (his doctor) on the phone and told him his symptoms, and Bob told me that John was concerned, although he didn't have any specifics. He changed his mind and asked me if I would take him, and of course I said I would. I thought maybe John would give him muscle relaxers for the back pain and he wouldn't be able to drive home.
So we got there and he was called back to the doctor's office, and I waited in the waiting room with all the sick people, all the while praying that it would be something simple When John came to the door and motioned for me to come back to the examining room, I knew it wasn't. When I got back there, John said that Bob was having an ultrasound, and he thought it could be one of three things -- 1) nonspecific back pain, 2) an aortic aneurysm, or 3) transverse myelitis (which I immediately Googled), an inflammation of the spinal cord similar to MS.
About that time, the ultrasound technician came out and said that it was an abdominal aneurysm, and it was the largest one she had ever seen. So she prepared a CD with the ultrasound results on it, and John told me to get Bob in the car and take him to the emergency room at Centerpoint, the closest trauma center. The ultrasound tech was giving me directions to get to the hospital when Bob suddenly had terrible back pain (he said later it felt like someone hit him in the small of the back with a baseball bat). I shouted for John, and he came running, yelling "Call 911" to the office in general.
He drug a chair over and had Bob sit down in it, and we were waiting for the ambulance when Bob stood up. John said, "What are you standing up for?" and Bob said, "I'm going," and he collapsed. John eased him down to the floor, and we (John and I and probably the whole office) thought we had lost him. Someone said, "Is he breathing?" and John said, "I don't know." I had backed into one of the doctors' offices to be out of the way and just stood there, shocked, and so scared.
He was breathing, and the paramedics got there VERY quickly, but he had collapsed into a corner, and it was a struggle the paramedics to get positioned to get him off the floor and onto the gurney. I was praying for them not to drop him, and to get him to the hospital quickly.
The clinic is a family practice clinic, and seldom sees anything like this, so everyone was standing in the hall trying to see what was going on, and a lot of the young girls were crying. The ambulance driver had to call in to his supervisor to get permission to take Bob to Centerpoint, because that would mean passing up a closer hospital. But the closer hospital didn't have a vascular surgeon, and Centerpoint did. I was standing on the sidewalk waiting to see what was going to happen, and one of the office girls came out and asked me if she could pray with me, and she held me and prayed and we both cried.
The ambulance crew finally got permissions to go to Centerpoint, and they took off, and I started for my car, but the ultrasound tech looked at me and said she would drive me, and we could worry about my car later. John told his nurse to cancel the rest of his appointments for the day, and he and his brother Mike, who had been visiting the clinic at the same time that we were there, drove to the hospital, too.
To be continued . . .