My husband and kids were still by my side as I wake up. They have never left me.
In Hindsight It All Makes Sense.
Leading up to the holidays I became bloated, a feeling that is so uncomfortable and stifling that I could hardly eat anything. I felt an increased shortness of breath and had a problem keeping 02 up to 88, even while using supplemental oxygen.
For the first time ever I felt the swelling in my ankles and feet. I had a hard time exercising and was wheezing with every breath. I also developed a slight cough and wondered if I was coming down with something, although I didn’t know of anyone who was sick with cold or flu.
My Internal Tug of War
Deciding to go or to stay and weighting my symptoms always causes an internal tug-of-war. I made my choice, I wanted to attend the celebrations with family and friends so I decided to push through and attend regardless of how I felt. My doctor was on holidays and gave me a bottle of Lasix, told me to take care and don’t land in hospital over the holidays.
At Christmas Eve, my sister has the family event that is not to be missed and everyone attends. My niece commented on my shortness of breath and encouraged me to try to breathe deeper. It was almost impossible to take a deep breath in. I was shaky and irritable and having a problem following conversations. I was almost unable to get to the bathroom, just a few feet away, and yet I felt I may loose control of my bladder.
Getting To The Car
I did get through it and when it was time to leave I started to plan my trip to the car. It was snowing out and we were in the middle of a very cold snap so I anticipated that it was getting to the car would be tough. Tough was not the word but I did get to the car and after about 10 minutes of gasping my breathing finally calmed and we go on our way home.
I don’t remember much of the rest of the week, thankfully my daughter and husband did Christmas dinner and I had very little to do. I know I was still not feeling well and having a tough time exercising and keeping my oxygen saturation’s up even with supplemental 02.
I am still not feeling great and I didn’t really feel like celebrating but I am always the first to say let’s just stay home. I sensed that my husband wanted to go to the party so I mustered the courage to get ready and go.
We were experiencing a polar vortex temperatures in Southern Ontario and I should have known to stay put but off we went.
Still I cannot eat, or drink. I am having problems following conversations, I am agitated and can hardly get to the bathroom. At 11:00 I asked my husband to start the car and we began preparations to leave.
Fatal Mistakes That Took Place.
Getting ready to leave I made a decision NOT to take my rescue inhaler before we left because it makes my heart race and keeps me awake at night. I figured if I needed it I could do it in the car.
Since I have an ICD implanted my upper body strength is diminished and my tank is too heavy to carry. I put the canulas in my nose and asked my husband to carry my tank. While he walked in front of me down the steps my oxygen tubing was exposed to freezing cold outside.
I do not like to feel restricted so I did not cover my face with a scarf or a balaclava, which remained at home instead of with me and on my face.
I tried to keep up to my husbands pace instead staying at my pace and I tried to hurry because it was cold out.
Down two steps and along a walkway I hurried to get to the car and get in as quick as possible because my tubing was exposed to the elements and it was freezing out.
In The Car
As I reached the car I began to gasp for air, I had my rescue inhaler in my hand but could not inhale it, nor did I have the strength to get it to my mouth.
The shorter my breath the more I gasped and the harder I gasped the harder it became to gasp and then my throat closed.
I could not get a breath in and I called ambulance in my husbands direction.
The ambulance got lost in the snow storm and my husband had to go back to get the hosts to confirm the address. Soon I had 14 adults surrounding the car as I gasped and gasped for air that would not enter my lungs.
It took an hour for the ambulance to reach me. All the time I was gasping and labouring for air that my throat blocked and that air could not get past my throat to reach my lungs.
I was exhausted.
By the time the ambulance got to me I was exhausted and unable to move and could not get on the stretcher. I vaguely remember the firemen tell my husband he would have to move the car so they could get me out. Only after would I learned that the firemen had to lift me on the stretcher.
The next thing I remember was waking 24 hours later ,on life support in the ICU of Hamilton General Hospital.
My husband and kids were still by my side as I woke up. They have never left me.