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Derrolyn Anderson

I'm a writer, painter, and a reader.
I don't review, but if you like random humor, funny kitties & book related art or writing inspiration, you've come to the right place.

The Worst Day Of My Life

It started out like every other day. Last Friday I filled orders until UPS came by the house for their daily pickup. My husband and I and sat down for our usual late afternoon coffee and he went to go mow the lawn while I hopped in the shower. By the time I stepped back out all hell had broken loose.


I heard someone pounding on the front door and my 15 year old daughter burst into my room, gasping, “Dad fell down.” I rushed outside to find my husband on the lawn, his hands seized up and stiff in front of him. My neighbor was bent over him in a panic, and she looked up at me with terror in her eyes.


His face was a dark bluish purple.


I yelled for someone to call 911 and started CPR, desperately trying to remember everything from the class I’d taken many years ago. Fortunately for us, a neighbor in nursing school was home, and she arrived almost immediately to do chest compressions while I focused on the rescue breathing. When she tired out she barked commands to my other neighbors, always counting, counting, counting.


We followed the ambulance to the first hospital where they shocked him repeatedly, unable to get his heart to stop doing, in their words, “funny things”. I stood outside the room clinging to my daughter, watching them pummel his chest, breaking his ribs in the process. They yelled out scary, scary, words like “he’s coding” and something that sounded like, “agonies extremis”.  The doctor pulled us aside to tell us they were moving him to a second hospital with a cardiac wing, mentioning that it would be a miracle if he pulled through.


I held it together for the kid, arriving at the second hospital to wait for hours while they located a blockage and inserted a stent, finally moving him to intensive care. By the time their uncle brought my twins home from college I was a wreck. We left the hospital after two in the morning, and I went home to fall on my pillow and cry until I could barely open my eyes.


I went back to camp out by his bedside a few hours later, finding they had chilled his body down, turning him into a human popsicle in the hopes of saving his brain. He was hooked up to innumerable monitors with dozens of different bags of fluid dripping their contents into his body. After 24 hours they started re-heating him slowly and easing up on the paralytic drugs. Eventually, he opened his eyes and panicked, fighting so hard to remove the ventilator that he had to be strapped down to the bed. He surprised the nurses with his strength.


His lungs improved and he opened his eyes and nodded to questions, so they took him off the ventilator on Cinco De Mayo, and now I have a new favorite holiday. Soon he was weaned from all sedatives and started saying things like, “Is this a dream?” and “Get me the hell out of here!”. When I told him he’d had a heart attack he refused to believe it, and was short term memory guy in denial for a day, repeatedly asking what had happened and why he was there. I’ve spent every night since then on a recliner by his bedside, watching him get better every day. He’s wobbly on his feet now, sitting up to eat and remembering pretty much everything before what I will refer to as “the event”.


This came entirely out of the blue. My husband has always been fit and active, and unlike me, his weight has never fluctuated by more than a few pounds since I first met him. He’s been completely healthy in the 25 years we’ve been married, and both of his parents are in their eighties and in good shape. The doctors figured he’s probably been walking around with a partially blocked artery for years, lying in wait.


He’s got a lot going for him. He’s young, fit and has three daughters and a wife that love him ferociously.  My twins did me proud, taking care of their younger sister and the house, helped along by my awesome neighbors who are filling my refrigerator with casseroles. I owe everyone so much, especially the amazing cardiac surgeons and intensive care nurses. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine we survived “the widowmaker”, and from now on, I’ll never take a single day with my man for granted.


Nothing, nothing, nothing inconsequential will ever phase me again.


My husband got a second chance at life, I got the love of my life back, and now I’m going to go all medieval physical therapist and dietician on him whether he likes it or not. It’ll do us both good. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll probably be a little scarce around here for the next few months – I made a ton of promises to God, and I intend to keep them all.


Wish me luck :)