Early morning. Not ready to start my day. The alarm is about to go off. My head hurts. Rollover to sleep a little more. Now the news is on. I know if I don’t get up now I’ll go back to sleep and ruin my morning, lose my time with Brian.
Little did I know I may have ended my life.
I stumbled to the bathroom. Reading a devotion first thing has become a habit. December 4 shared verses carrying God’s promise to answer when we cry out to him. Off to the kitchen to get our coffee. The alarm has now gone off. Brian is waiting for me to bring the coffee.
Queasiness, shaky, headache, cold sweat. I sit down.
Feeling better I rise again. I’ll get the coffee and go sit in bed. I should feel better soon.
No, better sit down again.
I wake up on the kitchen floor and make my way onto the seat I had tried for a moment ago. I sit with head in hands wondering, “What could this be?”, “How could I get so sick so fast?” “This is the worst flu ever!”
My questions are interrupted by the sound of a waking child.
What I hear tells me they are not feeling well either. It is far too early for them to be awake. I begin to rise. No, I’d better let them wake their dad. It would not be good for me to pass out again trying to help.
In the bathroom, I hear my son and husband.
My son feels like I do.
I make my way into the bathroom and sit on the floor. The eldest comes moaning and stumbling. Crashing into the doorframe. Collapse. Now the youngest, into the bathroom. Collapse.
Oh God, what is this!
I grab the devotion from the counter and begin reading, wailing, crying out as never before. “We need an answer, God!” “We need you, God!” “What do we do? What is wrong?” “You promised to answer as we cry out!” Now even the dog is collapsed in our midst, all of us in our small bathroom.
“It’s carbon monoxide! Get out of the house!” Brian has received our answers.
Thank you, Lord.
I would have comforted my children to death, sitting and consoling while we breathed in our death.
Time for action. Grab sleeping bags, the blankets off the bed. Out into the cold, only slightly sheltered, windy, entryway. We wrap the blankets around our three precious blessings. The dog collapsed in their midst. He’ll help keep them warm. Into the house to get clothes, open windows, shut off the boiler, read what to do. Back comes the sickness.
Our home is not safe.
Off to a friend’s warm fire. He’ll be up getting ready for work. We know we need fresh air. Pure life-giving, no more poison. We have no insurance. Going to the emergency room is not happening if we only need fresh air. “I’ll call my mom” our friend suggests. She’ll know what to do.
“Call poison control.” her wise advice.
We have headaches and nausea. Feeling much better now.
Go to the hospital. You need treatment.
Back in the van.
Off to the hospital.
They will be expecting us.
Oxygen masks, blood draws, pregnancy test for me. A baby would suffer most from this poison. Questions. Waiting. More questions. “You need hyperbaric treatment to remove the poison.”
Poison, it seems, has a very strong hold.
Only in a pure and pressurized environment can the blood be cleansed.
No driving this time. Ambulance ride. Oxygen masks. Another doctor. Climb into a big steel air tank. Cushions on the floor. No crayons, no pens, no watches. No children’s sized masks.
We make due.
The staff serves us.
Going down takes an hour. The children learn to clear their ears. Brian ruptures something. Painful to increase the pressure we need to heal.
We must stay down for 5 hours. Watching movies we can’t hear. Answering questions. Can we focus? Can we think? Break from the masks. Back on again. Tired. Thankful. Holding on masks. Holding our children.
No real idea how close we were to holding them in heaven instead of this tank.
Coming back up goes better. “Who found you?” “How did you get here?” “Did you call the fire department?”
“We woke up. We drove.”
That’s not possible. Your oxygen level was so low you shouldn’t have even been able to wake up. This after 2 hours is fresh air. For the first time, I realize I almost died. Almost lost my husband, my children. It’s too much to take in.
Friends are waiting. Welcoming. Providing. Loving. Dinner is ready. We will stay as long as we need to. Their hospitality overwhelms me. We eat. We sleep. Another treatment tomorrow.
Why this day, December 4?
Normally I am home. This day, missed appointments. I missed taking my children to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. I missed an appointment with my Pastor’s wife. Brian and I missed an appointment with a friend and investment counselor.
God saved us.
How do I live to make it worth His while?
How do I make the most of my second chance?
Where do we go from here?
Deeper into His love. Stronger on His promises. Reflect more often. Live a life of gratitude. I am here for a reason. You are here for a reason.
To know, love, and enjoy our Father God and bring Him glory.
13 years and counting. The blessings of God continue to flow in and through our lives. I am eternally grateful.