This was actually the first of three times Evan saved my life over the course of a single year. Read on to find out how my husband became my hero.
#1 My oxygen has dropped to 82, but I can’t find it in myself to care. In fact, I don’t care if I live or die. I just want to sleep. I try to think of Evan and how devastated he would be if I died, but instead I imagine him healing and finding love again.
“Hang on, sweet pea. The ambulance is coming,” he says, desperation in his voice.
I don’t remember being in the ambulance or even the emergency room. I wake up in the ICU where I learn part of my left lung has collapsed. I also learn I will be getting a tracheostomy, the surgery to put a trach in my throat and let me live on a ventilator. I thought I had more time before this life-altering surgery, but then I realize this complaint pales in comparison to the fact that I get to live, and all because Evan called 911 in time.
To hear about the other two times he saved my life, read on…
#2 One day when we are hanging out, the ventilator – the machine that breathes for me – starts making the oddest sounds. High-pitched beeping like the alert for when I am breathing too fast, musical chimes like when my lungs need suction, and the alarm for when there is a leak, but all at once.
Evan jumps up to look at my numbers and sees on the screen they are all crashing. Then the screen goes dark. Evan runs (and I mean RUNS) to our medical supply closet, grabs the travel ventilator and races back to me. He hooks it up before I even realize or feel that I am suffocating. He truly is my hero.
The third time Evan saved my life is the best, most dramatic story, so I saved it for last! Also we’re going in chronological order and this was most recent, so there’s that. But anyway, wait for it, wait for it…
#3 Each crisis almost always starts the same. My oxygen drops. This time is unique for two very important reasons, though. The first is I remain somewhat lucid, and the second goes a little something like this…
“I’m scared of going to the hospital again,” I say, a slight tremor in my voice.
“Well I’m scared because your oxygen is dropping fast,” Evan replies, rushing around the house and grabbing the things we need for a long hospital stay: fresh underwear, protein bars, and medicine the hospital pharmacy won’t be able to provide, though we know from experience that they will demand absolute control of all meds.
Evan’s admission that he is scared shakes me. I’m the one who leans on him. If he’s scared, and if he’s telling me, I am in danger. Suddenly I wish the ambulance would get here faster, but I’m unconscious before I even hear sirens.
I wake up in the emergency room feeling amazing. Upon seeing my eyes open, Evan springs up from the tiny plastic chair where he’s furiously texting (my mom, I assume based on how these crises usually go). He hurries over to my hospital bed and wastes no time getting my tobii eye gaze computer set up so I can speak.
“I feel so much better!” I tell him with a smile.
“That’s because you’re on 100% oxygen Rachel,” he says gently. “Your oxygen was in the fifties.”
Before I can really start worrying about brain damage and other long term effects, the doctor enters.
“What we have here’s a Whiteout,” he pauses like he expects us to know what this means. Seeing only confusion and worry, he goes on to explain. “Lungs are supposed to be black on an x-ray, but her left lung was completely white. It’s not functioning at all because it is totally filled with fluid. This is obviously very dangerous.”
“That’s where part of her lung collapsed last year,” Evan supplies, scared but trying to be helpful all the same.
“We saw that,” the doctor says, his patience wearing thin.
“But she’s safe now, right?” Evan asks.
The doctor hesitates, then says, “It’s a good thing you bought her in when you did.” With this cryptic, unsettling answer, he leaves.
As terrified as I am, I realize this could have been much, much worse, probably fatal. However, when minutes counted, Evan called for help, saving my life.
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