The day of Todd’s stroke, I knew when it was time to call 911. I can’t explain how I knew except after taking blood pressures that were way too low and then way too high, I still tried to believe Todd was OK, but I knew he wasn’t and I needed to act urgently. It’s a helpless feeling when you’re on the phone with a 911 Operator and waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Then, watching the ambulance leave the house with the love of my life, left me feeling panicked and very lost. The one person who always helped me decide what to do was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital!
Thankfully, Todd’s son came over and watched for the ambulance and then drove me to the hospital. Once at the hospital, though, I couldn’t get back to Todd right away. They needed time to get him settled and assess him. I felt such an urgency to be near him, and it seemed like an eternity until they finally left me back.
Once I was with him, although I was scared, I did my best to remain calm while they did their stroke protocol tests, worked to get his blood pressure down and get him to CT. I remember sitting in his ER room waiting for him to get back from CT feeling so helpless, and needing desperately to be near him. It didn’t take long for them to bring him back and then came in and told us he had a brain bleed. She said the neurosurgeon that was on-call was going to operate to drain the bleed and get it stopped. However, not long after telling me this, she came back and said that after looking at the scans, they wanted him sent to Pittsburgh. They would fly him there and needed me to step out while they prepared him for the flight.
Standing in the waiting room, anxiety ripped through me. All I needed to feel better was to be near Todd. Not being with him was emotional torture, at least for me. Todd and I have always done everything together, I needed to be with him. Worse yet, I didn’t want him to open his eyes and be scared and worried and me not be there to reassure him.
I remember walking back to the area where Todd was in the ER and was stopped by a nurse because they weren’t ready for me to go in. I cried and said, I just need to be close to him and would stay in the hall. The nurse was so very understanding and put a chair in the hall where I could see his room and gave me some tissues. While I sat there, I made a quick Facebook post asking for urgent prayers.
Then, after what seemed like forever, they let me go into his room. The helicopter techs were getting him ready for flight and explained everything they were doing to me. I asked if I could talk to Todd and they both said it was perfectly fine. They didn’t think he would hear me but he would know I was there. I told Todd they would be taking him to Pittsburgh and I would be on my way right after so I would be with him.
I watched them wheel Todd out of his room and toward the helicopter and my emotions got the best of me. The one pilot came back and asked me for my phone number. He said he would call me as soon as they landed and let me know Todd arrived safely.
I then left and went outside to find Todd’s son and see if he would drive me to Pittsburgh. From where we were standing, we could see them load Todd into the helicopter and fly away. Feeling helpless, I knew I had to get home, pack a bag and get to Pittsburgh. I arranged for Pixie to be taken care of that night, packed a bag, kissed and hugged our sweet Pixie girl and left for Pittsburgh.
I felt numb….not scared, not worried, just numb. Our journey was just beginning.