The day I nearly died
25th February 2022
I lay in bed in complete agony, I was having hot flushes and could not think straight. I had spent the past night screaming in pain, shivering and feeling delirious. At this point I was living in 6-hour intervals waiting for the time I can get the short relief from this terrible agonizing pain with the strong painkillers that my oncologist prescribed. I thought to myself - three more hours before I can take my medication - but I felt I will not be able to last that long.
Casper randomly drops by for a visit and immediately feels something is wrong. He asks my mother whether they checked my temperature, but she says no. At this point, my parents were my fulltime care givers. My father took the night shift - lifting me to sit on the commode, changing my position in bed and giving me water, food and medication at the right times, while my mother cared for me during the day, preparing me food, helping me to shower, dressing me up and changing my position in bed.
The thermometer showed I had fever of 38.2 degrees Celsius. Casper found this alarming as from oncology they stressed that we should go to hospital if my temperature was higher than 37.5. I reassured him and told him “Don’t worry love! It will most likely drop as soon as I have my next painkillers which are due shortly”. He did not want me to wait for two hours before taking my painkillers and insisted I take them immediately. I was always reluctant to take painkillers early as then it was a longer wait for my next round. I took the pills and 20 minutes after I started shivering uncontrollably. Casper checked my temperature again and now it had shot up to 39.5. He immediately called the ambulance and asked my mum to call my father to come home.
I was awake but it felt like I was in a dream. I could see Casper pacing up and down impatiently in the room and I could hear my mother calling my brothers and sisters informing them that I was being taken to hospital. After a while I could see people coming and going next to the door of my room – everyone was coming to see me before the ambulance arrives. My father, my brother, my nieces, my nephew, my sister-in-law, all gathered outside the house, taking turns to come in and look at me from next to the room door – keeping their distance to make sure they don’t infect me with anything. All had reassuring things to tell me, but I could see the fear and worry in everyone’s eyes. Was this my last goodbye?
The ambulance came and the nurses informed my husband that he cannot ride in the ambulance or be in hospital with me due to COVID19 policies. I was loaded in the ambulance, and I begged Casper not to leave me alone. I was scared and felt slightly anxious. “I will follow the ambulance in my car” he said. The pain of being in the stretcher was too much to handle – I felt nauseous, I felt like crying, but I didn’t and instead I just lay there with my thoughts. The nurse that was riding with me just sat there in silence looking at me – being both relaxed and somehow also concerned. I wondered whether Casper would manage to get to hospital in time, whether he will be allowed in, whether I will die in hospital alone without my family.
When we got to hospital, Casper was there as soon as they opened the back of the ambulance. I still don’t understand how that is even possible, but he was fast. He got into emergency with me – he did not seek approval, and no one told him otherwise, so he stayed. The emergency room was full of people, and I could hear an elderly woman screaming in agony. At this point I was keeping my eyes closed and silent – not because I was not in pain, but because my energy was so low that I could not take it anymore.
After what felt like hours (which later I discovered was just 40 min) I was seen by the doctor, they run some tests and I was put on several IV treatments. The doctor explained that my heart could stop due to my extreme low levels of calcium and hemoglobin in my blood which was even complicated further with the infection that was causing the fever. I heard the conversation while in a semiconscious state, and, in my head, I was saying ‘NO! NO! NO! My heart will not stop!’ but nothing came out of my mouth. This was a turning point for me. At this moment, I decided that I wanted to live. I wanted to live for my family, for my husband, for my children but above all I wanted to live for MYSELF!
The weeks leading to this day were very hard for me and I was giving up on life. I was in constant terrible pain and having extremely negative side effects to all the medication and treatment I was on. I was not able to eat because I was throwing up anything that I would swallow. I had just moved in with my parents a few weeks before as they agreed to take me in and be my carers 24/7. This decision was taken with my rational mind together with Casper and my parents but as a wife and as a mother my heart was broken. I needed the moment of crisis to realise that my life is precious, and I needed to keep pushing forward no matter what my external circumstances were.
I spent the following 3 and a half weeks in hospital and was given heavy pain medications, antibiotics, blood transfusions, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatment. In my time there I went from being bed bound to being able to make a few steps. I received excellent care in hospital, but I also attribute my improvement to my positive mindset and doing inner healing work. I needed to hit rock-bottom to be able to start the way up – I will now keep going till I reach the stars!