My Story, Part 1
I worked as a college business instructor, and ran a small business. Ii was rare to have a day when there wasn’t a deadline to meet and I was busy, my life was busy but it was never stressful.
I’m Just Tired
It had been a long day and I had a right to be tired. I had been really tired for the last 6 months. On days that I was working part time I was coming home at noon and popping right into bed for an afternoon nap. That was very out of character for me. In passing I was concerned but not enough to get checked out.
The Aging Process
I could blame my age. I was, after all, turning 60. Age was catching up with me because I rarely had afternoon naps in the past. I had never been a good sleeper so I was aware that an afternoon nap usually meant no sleep at night. Lately, however, afternoon naps had not been affecting my night sleep. I could sleep until 5:00pm and go right back at 11:00pm.
I was a pack a day smoker for a long time. So, it came as no surprise in October of 2015, when I was diagnosed with COPD. I was waiting to see a specialist. I learned that being a preemie, and having a history of blood clots, phenomena and pleurisy made me a bigger risk for developing COPD.
January 6, 2016
That night at about 10:00 pm, I was having a glass of wine before bed. I sent a text to my son to come up from downstairs. I don’t remember anything after that text. He knew it was a serious attack, he called my daughter. I told her that I felt like my heart was coming out of my throat. I was sweating and struggling and gasping for air. My feet and legs were burning from what I would later find out was lack of oxygen. My daughter tried talking to me, I told her I thought I was dying. That was when she called the ambulance.
By the time the ambulance arrived, I was vital signs absent. The paramedics revived me twice on my kitchen floor, got me stabilized and ready for transport. Transporting me was tough because of all the snow and ice around the house so they had to carry me out in a bag.
About half way to the hospital I lost vital signs again and having to pull over the ambulance to get my heart started a third time. My kids were in the car following the ambulance, they called my husband from work to meet us in the emergency room.
Emergency room doctors worked from 10:30 pm until 6:00 am getting my heart and lungs stabilized. My carbon dioxide levels were 3 times higher than normal, leading doctors to believe I was a retainer. I was placed on life support and put into an induced coma to rest my heart and lungs and I was moved to ICU.
In January of 2016, I would spend 5 days in a coma, 18 days in ICU and 23 days total in hospital.