The end of January 2010.. A snow storm had taken over our world. It had truly become a winter wonderland. News reporters were urging people to stay inside, for the roads were too dangerous. Golden Corral, my employer at the time, excused me from work because of the weather conditions. A Saturday off with the family.. what better opportunity to go sledding with some friends. We head over to the Crosses all bundled up. The whole neighborhood was sledding down a neighborhood road.
My first trip down the road… I remember the speed. I remember the bush I whizzed by. I remember shooting headfirst towards a tree. OH NO!! I put all my might into turning. Hitting the left side of my abdomen instead of my head.
Every pocket of air inside me was slapped shut. No air. That was the first pain. I took my time, determined to get back up the hill and try again. But the more time I took the more pain that wrecked my abdomen.
My mother came to my aide. Trying to help me breath. Trying to help me stand. Trying to help me walk. Quickly all of that effort became too much.. So she became intent on keeping me from passing out.
Quickly our focus switched from trying to get me to our friends house to trying to get me to the car. Knowing that the day was over.. No more sledding for me. Our options were to go home or go to the hospital. After a miserable journey to the bottom of the hill I got in the car.. With GREAT effort + pain! So many hills in that neighborhood. (If anyone has tried to drive up snow covered hills… You can imagine the dilemma.) My poor father was driving. Trying to rescue us from that icy neighborhood with me, in the back seat, moaning at every bump. I was half slung on the floor, half on the seat, grabbing the headrest to lift myself and maybe alleviate some pain. But no luck. The pain inside me was determined. To cripple my body and my mind.
Our experiences in that car made us realize we had to go to the hospital. Eventually.. we made it there. Many patients were sitting in the emergency room. But there was no waiting time for us. The pallor of my face made my condition apparent. They gave me pain killers, ran cat scans, x-rays and ultra sounds. There was nothing! No explanation of the pain. They were about to send me home when the doctor decided to do another ultra sound to show his trainee. That’s when they saw it… A grey blur. A fog. A cloud. Filling up my abdomen. A sign that something is very wrong.
That’s when things became chaotic. The only doctor who could do a spleenectomy was on vacation. They wanted me airlifted to either Vandy or Erlanger hospital. But the air pad had too much ice on it and could not be used. So it was decided I would be taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt. We were informed the probability of my survival was very slim.
That is when the peace came. My parents next to me. Holding my hand. Quiet. We said our goodbyes. Told one another that we loved each other. Kisses. Hugs. Goodbyes. I was not scared. Or sad. We all knew if something happened we would see each other again when we share our life in the presence of our Lord.
That was the greatest feeling. Facing death and not being afraid.
The ambulance loaded me. + God gave me a friend for that long, bumpy, painful journey. A man from my church, an EMT, sat beside me the whole journey. Filling my body with morphine and made sure I stayed awake. We made it to Vandy. My ambulance crew stayed with me awhile. Told me they would be praying for me.
I sat in a Vanderbilt hospital room, alone, for an hour and a half. MISERABLE!! NO pain medication. No medical attention. No one answering the buzzer. Until my parents joined me and my mom handled that mess.
There we were together again, a little more hopeful and somewhat anxious for the surgery. I had the surgery that night. And came out alive.
There was still pain but it was different. A far better pain. My body was healing instead of breaking. The next days + weeks I was overwhelmed by the love, encouragement and prayers of my church. So many visitors. So many calls. So many cards. SO MUCH GOD.
Over three years later I am still alive. I wear out much easier.. But God has made me strong again. He held me through that storm. And to stand here on the other side of death… I know God has big plans for me. I know He wants to use me. I know I owe Him my life. I know it was not my time to say Goodbye.