Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Crossfires of Heaven and Hell

You know when something tragic happens to someone and they have a spokesperson represent the family to give details or the story.  I fully get why a family chooses to do that.  Today for this post, my blog gets to be my spokesperson.  I have gone back and forth as to whether I was going to write this post on my blog.  I have decided I will and I will explain a little further down in the post, why.  So here we go!

4:45 am Friday morning, Brian wakes me up: "Suzanne, I can feel a kidney stone coming on."  Ok, what do you want me to do?  He asks me to look up on the Internet home remedies to help him get through the pain.  Ibuprofen was the best thing that was recommended.  He hadn't eaten anything, so I couldn't give him the heavy stuff, so I gave him 2 Advil.  Clearly not helping.

5:30 am, Brian pleads for a blessing.  "Do you think President is awake?"  I'm sorry Brian, he is at his cabin, do you want me to call your dad?  "No, he is out of town fishing."  Well, then my next best bets are Shayn and the Bishop.  Are you alright if I call Shayn and Bishop to give you a blessing?  "Yes!  Please hurry!"

5:40 am, I called and awoke Shayn and Bishop to please come to our home to give Brian a blessing.  It was kind of hard call to make to them because I knew I would be waking them up and it was saying out loud that there was a problem and we needed help.  I did the best I could not to cry on the phone.
6:15 am, Bishop and Shayn came dressed in suits and gave Brian his blessing.  It was a beautiful blessing and we were so grateful for their willingness to serve us early in the morning.  I thank them!

6:30 am, Brian can no longer take the pain and we head to the hospital.  I had to drop him off at the door of the emergency room.  He hobbled in as Shae and I parked the car and ran into the emergency room.  Side note:  Shae was PUMPED to go the hospital.  Her last visit to the ER was when she cut open her chin and she had to get stitches.  ER made her visit so magical that it was like Disneyland.  Oh, how happy she was to take a trip to see her friends again.  Registration nurse interviews Brian and asks him on a scale of 1-10, what was his pain?  Brian replies "This is the worst pain I have ever experienced in my entire life."  To which she asks again on a scale of 1-10?  Brian then says "Well, I would have to say a 9, I would guess 2 broken femur bones would register as a 10."  I busted out laughing.  Even in pain, Brian can reference a good Brian Regan joke.

7:08 am, Brian is now hooked up to an IV, the heart monitor machine with the blood pressure thing and they give him his first dose of Morphine.  No relief is given.

7:23 am, a second dose of morphine is administered along with other drugs to help with the nauseousness and help the stone move along. Horrific pain still there.

7:53 am, Brian is given a 3rd dose of morphine and this time within minutes, he body begins to settle down and he begins to drift off.  Nurse explains that oxygen levels can drop when on Morphine, so she puts him on Oxygen.  By then he is just sleeping and Shae is ready to leave for grandmas.

A little after 8:00 am, Joyce (Brian's mom) comes to get Shae and check on Brian.  He was tired and in and out of things.   He complains of still having some pain, but he was not groaning and suffering like he was before.  I tell the nurse to not give him a 4th dose of Morphine.

9:30 am after sitting in the room with Brian for an hour and a half, trying to coax him to give a urine sample so they can confirm a kidney stone, he finally gives in.  A little while later the nurse says that there was no blood in the urine (common with kidney stones) and the doctor had ordered a CT Scan to make sure there was it was a kidney stone and that there was no blockage.  CT scan came back and confirmed that there was a kidney stone and it was just at the top of Brian's bladder.  It just needed to drop and he would be pain free. CT scan also confirmed 2 more kidney stones in his left kidney.

11:00 am, doctor comes in and recommends that Brian walks around to try and move his body around to help drop the stone.  I get Brian up and help him walk to the bathroom.  He is dizzy and nauseous.  We get back to his room (which has been a freezing 67 degrees this entire time) and I lay him back in bed and cover him with blankets.  About 20 minutes later, Brian thinks the stone has dropped.   I run and tell the doctor and he says he will come in as soon as he can.

11:45 am, doctor recommends prescriptions and gives Brian the OK to go home.  Nurse comes in and sees that Brian's oxygen levels are low, so she orders him a lunch to help his heart rate come up to help the oxygen levels rise.

12:00 pm the nurse brings in Brian's lunch.  Brian was served breaded fried fish, cos cos, broccoli and a chocolate chip cookie.  Brian refuses to eat it, he still feels nauseous (CAN you BLAME him?) with that kind of meal?  I am starving by now and eat the cookie because honestly, the rest looked gross to me too.

12:45 pm I am coaching Brian to breathe while he is still trying to sleep.  His oxygen levels needed to be above 91 before the nurse would send us home.  I figured if he is just going to sleep, might as well sleep at home.  He maintains his oxygen levels and we are given the thumbs up to go home.  Brian is so out of it, that we have to get him to the car by wheel chair.  I drive him home.

Now this would be a typical case of someone getting a kidney stone.  Very common, very everyday.  Not for Brian!  He describes it as the worse pain of his life.  He was beyond miserable, it was horrible experience for him.  However, come to find out all those who have had kidney stones can relate to the pain or describe worse than what he had.  Now comes my turn:

1:10 pm, I get Brian home and get him into bed.  I was freezing from the morning being in the 67 degree room that I decided to not go out and get Shae and Brian's prescriptions, but take a hot bath to warm myself up.

1:33 pm, I get out of the tub and decide to throw a batch of clothes in the washer.  As I walked pass the bed, I look at Brian and he is ash/gray in color.  Something is not right!!

I run over to the bed and his lips are blue and he is gray.  I yell out BRIAN!! and start shaking him.  He is not responding.  I am screaming out his name and shaking him and he is still not responding.  I put my ear to his nose and mouth, no breath.  I try to find a pulse, but could not.

I RAN to the kitchen and grabbed the phone and dialed 911 as I ran back to the bedroom.

"My husband is blue and is not breathing, I need help!"

She asks me my address, my number, his age.  

I need to give him CPR, can you coach me through it?  

Yes, she replies.  Open his mouth and see if there is anything blocking it.

I can't get his mouth open.  He has clenched it shut and his whole body is rigid. 

"I can't get it open!  Brian, please wake up! Please don't leave me!"

Suddenly his eyes open.  I couldn't tell if it was a reflex but his eyes had a complete blank stare.  The eye balls were not moving and his eyes are barely dilated. The look on his face was nothing but death.  An image that has been forever singed into my mind.

"Brian please wake up!" I am yelling and crying at the same time.

Nothing.....just the look of death.

Again, she tells me to get his mouth open, to which with both of my hands, I got his mouth open.  Nothing blocking.  

"Please Brian!"

He then blinks and his eyes start to dilate.  He starts coming back to and takes a breath.  

"He is coming back" I respond to 911.

What color is he? she asks.

He is coming back to a pinkish color.  I collapse to the side of the bed and started to bawl with my head leaning against the bed.  

Brian looks over at me and says "Tell them to not send an ambulance, I am going to be ok."  

I tell her that, but she tells me to stay on the phone with her anyways.  He rolls over in a confused state and just stares at me as to ask "what is wrong with you?'

Suddenly there is a knock on the door and I run to the door to be greeted by a police man.  

"Where is he?"  he asks.  He is in the bedroom, I reply.

By this time, Brian was out of bed and walking in to the family room.  He is light headed and sits down on the couch.  "I'm ok!" he tells the cop.

Within a minute and a half, I had 20 men in my front room.  The police department, the paramedics, the fire department all showed up to my humble abode.  Brian refusing anyone to touch him and getting mad at the first police man treating him as if he was doing drugs.  Brian had no idea what had just happened.  He finally gives in to a paramedic to take his vitals.  I was then given the instructions that morphine can cause a persons respiratory system to think that it no longer needs to work.  I had saved his life and I needed to keep him awake until the morphine was out of his system.

2:00 pm, Brian is struggling to keep his eyes open.  He is still not breathing well and he is pale.  The Bishop calls me and I am still in a hysterical type of state.  He gently counsels me to make the decision to go back to the ER to at least monitor him so if it happened again, they would be right there to help him.  Brian refuses to go back.  I packed up my stuff, put his shoes on him, put him in the car and cried the whole way there.  

2:30 pm, we are back at the ER and the nurse who previously helped us before, came running back out to check on Brian in the lobby.  He is taken back in the room and immediately put back on oxygen.  A new doctor comes in and orders the nurse to give him a drug that is opposite to morphine and to be prepared that he would vomit and his pain would come back.  2 doses later, Brian is fine.  No vomiting and he is much more alert.  Because he did not have the adverse reaction to the medication they had expected and his heart rate had stayed in the 40's the entire day, the doctor ordered an EKG and a chest exam.  I just sat in the room as he was wheeled in and out while answering texts and phone calls.  Best way to describe myself was complete shock.

4:30 pm, Brian's parents showed up.  His dad was back in town and they had come to the hospital to help.  Not much they could do other than just sit with us.

5:00 pm, Kristen shows up to have dinner with me.  We eat at the hospital cafe and she compassionately listens to my woes of the day.  She tells me I look horrible and Brian didn't look that bad, which made me laugh.  I got a call that the doctor wanted to talk with me, so I walked back to Brian's room.  We waited an hour before he showed up.  The doctor wanted to re-assure me, that he would not send Brian home unless he felt confident that Brian would be ok.  He offered for Brian to stay the night to be monitored to which Brian again refused as he is ripping off all of the tubes connected to him.  He was ready for home.

7:00 pm, we arrive back home.  Both in a state of shock.  Natalie calls and asks if we need help.  I said that Brian wanted a Strawberry shake, but I did not dare leave him.  She brought over a shake and offered for her and Audrey to stay the night with Brian to watch him sleep.  That way I could go into the other room and sleep without worrying about him. (yeah right!).  I accepted her offer with great humility.  Joyce and Grant kept Shaeler to have a sleepover at their house.

10:30 pm, Natalie shows up for the first shift and I have a very restless night sleeping.  Neither Brian and I slept very well.  He was mad because he had to sleep with a light on and I was mad because I really couldn't sleep at all with the images running through my head from the day.

So, there you have it.  Scary, huh?  I can say that it was the most horrible day of my life.  #1 spot for sure.  Now the reason why I shared this story is because I am a firm believer in learning from our trials.  These life lessons, I feel, are applicable to all.

1.  Morphine or any Narcotics are extremely dangerous.  If you take them for pain purposes, do not take them alone.  This was Brian's first exposure to Morphine and we had no idea how he would react.  If the hospital administers them to you or a family member, your senses need to become like a hawk and do not leave until the drug has worn off.

2.  Anytime you bring someone home who is sleepy from a drug, do NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE!  If I would have left my husband to just sleep it off, I would be a widow today.

3.  CPR certification is mandatory.  I had remembered CPR from a class that was taught to the YW, but I asked the 911 attendant to coach me to make sure I was doing it right.   There is a speed and a strength that is required to administer CPR.

4.  You know the machine that monitors your heart rate and blood pressure and oxygen?  It beeps that annoying sound when things are too high or low.  That is your best indicator to what is happening to the person hooked up to it.  If I would have known a bit more about the oxygen problem, I would have not left the hospital.

5.  I throw caution to saying "Is there anything we can do to help?" or "let us know if there is anything we can do to help."  I got that a lot.  I recognize that the best intentions are behind such sayings, but when you are talking to a person in shock, you will most likely never get an answer. I know for myself that I could not ask for anything at that time.  I can honestly say that for my ordeal, there have been a few people who have said that to me because they wanted the story and that was the comfortable way for them to end the conversation and made me feel that they really didn't care about what happened to me or my husband.  I am most likely wrong in assuming their intentions, but they made me feel like I was a gossip magazine that they got the scoop and then tossed to the side.  If you really do care, the spirit will inspire you to whatever small act of kindness that you can do for that person at that time.  Be careful that it is not your job to take over their lives for them, but I cannot tell you how much it meant to me just the small acts of kind gestures that I did not ask for, but came anyways.  (Editor note:  If you can read this blog, I promise that you are not the couple of people I was talking about.  I want recognize individually the phone calls, texts, pies, offering to take Shae, offering us meals, offering to fly in, watching Brian, mowing our lawn and of course the Strawberry Shake.  Trust me, I am as guilty as those who have said this phrase without realizing the lightness behind it.)  

6.  911 will come very quickly if you say someone is not breathing.  Make sure you are dressed and ready because there is going to be a WHOLE lot of people in your home.

I have always prepared myself that this life is about trials and tests to refine me.  I get that.  Striving to live a righteous life is not a deter from crisis.  I always felt safe to endure the moments because I always had in my mind that Brian would be right there next to me counseling me through it together as we always do.  One of the reasons I married Brian was because I always felt so safe and protected when I am with him.  Little did I know that one day, I would be the protector of his life.  For that small moment when he was not breathing, I really did feel that I was in a battle for his life.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done.

You know that new song by Brandon Flowers called Crossfire?  Ann talked about it on her blog and I thought it was ironic that it was the girl saving the guy in the music video.  She explained to me that Brandon Flowers wrote this song for his wife, that she is always saving him.  I cry when I listen to this song now.  The words hit so close to home for this trial of my life.  I felt like Brian and I were in the crossfires of heaven and hell and I was fighting the devil (aka morphine) for his life.  Now that it has been a few days later, I still have a hard time going to sleep next to him.  Sometimes, I will put my hand on his back to see if he is still breathing.  Sometimes, I fall asleep with Brian's death face staring back at me.  Hence, I can't help but cry when Brandon Flowers ends his song:  "Lay your body down, next to mine."  I get that invitation every night now when I am reluctant to go to bed and fall asleep with my husband, worrying what the morning could possibly bring.    

I end with my testimony that I know that God lives.  I know that this life will be tough and there will be times that are scary and we are seeking shelter from the crossfires that scare us to death.  No matter how scary it gets, we have hope.  I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will all be healed.  We will all be healed. I can feel myself being healed and I am stronger because of it.


The Dorsey's said...

I am thankful everything ended well. I like how you referenced Crossfire, if you haven't purchased the CD I highly recommend it. Only the Young is my favorite song at the moment.

I love you very much and I am sorry you had to experience something so horrific. Thankfully you had a lot of spirits and great people to help you through it.

Kristen said...

Very well written Suzanne. Still so sorry you had to experience it.

Jenice Henrie said...


Your dad and I are so relieved that Brian and you are alright. You were very strong and courageous. Like I said when we talked, I was planning to fly and watch him myself so that both of you could rest. I wasn't sure if I would be a burden or a blessing, but Joyce reassured me that he would be fine so I resisted the urge as you requested. I think she knew that the girls were going to watch him for the night. Thank goodness for Natalie and Audrey. Sisters are the best, aren't they?

Please don't be too hard on people that ask "is there anything we can do to help?" They (me) have good intention in our hearts, but have no idea how to help. Our concern is not so much "inquiring" as loving and not knowing what to say or do.

It's amazing to see how each of us deal with the trials we face. I can only imagine how scary it was for you. I could hear the strength as well as the fear in voice. You are so blessed to have Brian's family there to help. They are wonderful people and you can see where Brian's great character came from.

We love all of you and are so relieved that Brian and you are healing more each day. I look at the picture of the two of you on your blog page and I see how strong and loving the two of you are. You know what that picture did to me the first time I saw it. It still touches me the same way.

I will see you soon. Give Shaeler a kiss from Grandma and Bobbo.

Suzanne said...

Mom and Janet,

I want you both to know that even though you are not here, I felt your love and concern and feel blessed for you doing what you could in your circumstances. Do not feel bad! I feel your love and that is really what I needed! Love you guys! -Suzanne

Clarke and Kamie said...

Wow wow wow. Super scary. It makes it real how fragile life is and how we could be sent home at any given time. So glad everything turned out ok. I had morphine after mariko's birth and your story will make me think twice if I ever get it again!

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

Wow! I am so sorry this happened to you and Brian. Soo scary! I'm glad that it all turned out well. Thanks for sharing the lessons you learned. I'm sure that many will be helped by them.

Julie Harward said...

I hate this way of becoming strong! I am so glad that he is going to be ok...what a super scary ordeal for you and him! I know that this is the most painful thing to have happen...God bless you and him..take care!

Heather said...

I can't believe that happened! I am so sorry Suzanne!! ((Hugs)) That must have been horrific!

I am CPR certified but I don't know if I would even do it right in that situation. How scary!!! I am so HAPPY that every thing turned out for you guys!

I will keep you in my prayers that that image will fade away! You poor thing!! ((Hugs))

BTW, I love Brain Regan!! He is hilarious!!

Amber Burt said...

I had no idea that his happened, what kind of neighbor am I??? I am glad that everything turned out the way it did. This is a good reminder that we never know what can happen each day.

Carrie said...

Oh Suz!! I cannot even imagine what you had to deal with. I am CPR certified, but I don't know if I could have handled it if that happened to Lane. I am so glad that everything turned out the way it did. You guys are in my prayers. Lots of love your way!!!

JENNIFRO said...

Suzanne, this is absolutely horrifying. I was so shocked as I kept reading and found how serious the situation became. I am so glad that this trial had a happy ending I can't even imagine how frightened you must have been. Wow... well done keeping your wits about you. Gosh.. I am so sorry you had to go through all this. I'm just so glad Brian is okay. All my love. I will write back to you soon. Thank you SO MUCH for your email--I loved it. xoxo



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