I am typing this at 6:58 PM October 5, 2019. This is a real time, evolving event. I will try to be coherent and cohesive, but realize I am not in the best head space at the moment.
My mother-in-law has had several strokes that put her daily care beyond our scope. She resides at a skilled nursing facility. In the last two weeks she has been admitted to the ICU three times now.
First time, UTI that went septic. She went unresponsive. She was in ICU for a week, then moved to the floor for 2 days, sent back to the facility, and the next day was found unresponsive. Back to Hospital.
Second time, one day after being discharged, admitted back into ICU for pneumonia. This was NOT a surprise, I argued until I was hoarse about her being discharged the day before because I had been told by a doctor - whom I never saw again - that she had pneumonia. Her hospitalist told me that he didn't know any doctor by that name, and that he didn't see any pneumonia. Eh... So he discharged her again, on Thursday the 3rd.
Friday the 4th and 1:08 PM my hubby called me and told me to get to the care facility NOW. She was unresponsive, had a pulse in the 30's and blood pressure of 60/30. She has Do Not Intubate instructions. I told Jerry to have them call the ambulance, I'll be there in 10 minutes.
This is background. It hasn't gotten paranormal yet. When I arrived it felt surreal, like I had stepped out of time. People seemed to be moving slowly. I wasn't running or even hurrying, but it was like I passed them in a blur. I beat the ambulance there by several minutes.
I tried talking to her - no response. Her eyes were locked and staring, her pupils pinpricks. I swear she looked terrified. The people there told me that she wasn't aware. I beg to differ, but I digress.
The ambulance did arrive and I went to my car, ready to follow. I still had that surreal feeling, like I was a step out of time but I was calming down. My hubby followed me out and kept asking if I was okay. I was but I couldn't understand why he was talking to me when his mom was being loaded on the ambulance. He went to get into my car and I heard, clear as a bell and loud as a clarion - my mother-in-law's voice, "Jerry has to come with me." I didn't even question it. I simply told him to ride with his mother, she can't be alone right now.
He went. She coded 3 minutes into the 15 minute drive to the hospital. They started chest compressions but did not stop to give oxygen. At the ER they put her on a thumper and started bagging her. After another ten minutes they were ready to call Time of Death. I stepped out of the curtain after my husband practically ran out of the room.
To the right of me, just above me I heard my mother-in-law's voice again. Sharp and urgent, she called to Jerry. I used that exact tone and told him "Can't you hear her? She's calling you, get back in there."
The pastor was in the hall, with my son and several milling staff. Each and every one of them turned to look at me like I needed the guy's with the butterfly nets. I grabbed Jerry and dragged him in there, right to her bed, and I reached out to stroke her cheek. Before I could touch her, the monitor that had only shown chest compression rhythm for over 10 minutes started beeping and moving. Her heart started beating on its own. The staff went from wind down care to rescue in a heartbeat. The doctor asked for more epinephrine and the nurse who had stopped bagging her started bagging her again.
According to everyone there, she was not breathing on her own. I disagreed. I could SEE her trying. I could see her coming back from wherever she went. SHE WAS TRYING. Nobody listened for several minutes. The doctor said they can't intubate, as it is against her advance directives and she will die. I knew she was trying... I knew it. So I asked them to put the bi-pap on her. It is a positive pressure type device that if there is any kind of activity it will pump air - but there must be activity. The doctor said it wouldn't work, but he humored me.
Not only did it work, she was breathing with oxygen sats between 96 and 100. Please do not think that this is me bragging or taking credit. I am VERY aware that I was being used as a conduit. I am humbled to be trusted with that role.
Since then, the last 24 hours, I have 'known' things that had to be done, guided by knowledge not my own, on keeping her safe and alive. Right now, she is awake, conscious, fully in charge of her faculties, eating and drinking with minimal assistance. I attribute that to the guidance I've received.
I don't know what the plan is that creation has for her, but I know it's my place to do all I can for her. Why else put me in the position to hear her voice while she was flatline over 20 minutes?
She is not out of the woods, not by a long shot, but she is still here, and now I'm not the only one hearing her voice. Did I mention her nickname is Loud One?