Saturday, April 26, 2008

This has been a very long week not including the 30 minutes I was clinically dead.

Some of you may be wondering where I have been. You're never going to believe this story.

I had to attend a job related conference in Rendondo Beach, Californian April 16th and 17th. As many of you know, I don't fly. It freaks me out. For the first year of my employment with my current company they accommodated my fear of flying. That ended last fall when they made me go to San Antonio. And now recently I had to fly into LAX.

The trip home was extremely stressful. We had to leave the conference during the afternoon break (2:45pm) in order to catch our flight to Denver where we would change planes. As we disembarked our first flight we heard them announce the final boarding call for our connecting flight. We were at gate 21 and the departing flight was at Gate 42 so with luggage in hand we hoofed it to catch the next plane and fly into Kansas City. We landed a little after 11 pm, looked for our vehicle in a dark deserted parking lot and finally got on the road about midnight where we would then begin our two + hour drive home in a rain and thunderstorm to C0lumbia. Stopping briefly to grab something to eat in Blue Springs as we had not eaten since lunch earlier that day. It was well after 3am when we arrived in Columbia and I still had a 45 minute drive home to Moberly. I got into bed at 4:15am and had settled in just in time for our 5.2 earthquake at 4:35am.

This brings me up to 4:35 Friday morning. I didn't go back into work that Friday although I had been told that I was expected but could wait until noon since I had "a late night".

Now here's where it gets interesting....

Saturday (April 19th) evening about 6pm I was sitting here at my desk and working at my computer when all of a sudden it felt like someone had sat a cinder block on my chest. No pain, no sweating, no racing heartbeat - just as this strange sensation of weight. I went outside and told Dana that I thought I needed to go to the hospital...

We got to the emergency room and although it was Saturday night there wasn't anyone in the waiting room. I walked right in, went through the triage where they add insult to injury by weighing you , and was put in a gown and sat on a bed. Dana sat down in the chair along the wall. The doctor came in and introduced himself to me and asked me to sit forward so he listen to my heart and lungs. When I did I said, "wow - I'm having a really bad dizzy spell." And that was it!

The next thing I was aware of was waking up in Columbia Missouri, tied to a bed on a ventilator. I could hear people around me talking and saying I was waking up and Dana came to my side and asked me if I knew where I was? I shook my head no and he proceeded to tell me that I had suffered massive heart failure.

I don't remember anything significant here's what I have been told. Although the signs started at home, it was when I sat up and complained of a dizzy spell my heart had stopped. They doctor told me that I has "dead" for over thirty minutes. They did constant CPR , and I have the broken ribs to prove it, shocked me with the paddles three times and still couldn't bring me back. Dana had left the room to give them all space to work in , he tells me there were over a dozen people in that room trying to keep me alive. The doctor gave up and sent the nurse to bring Dana in to say goodbye and they tell me that although it defies reason, the minutes he stepped into the room and I heard his voice a nurse yelled out, "WE'VE GOT A PULSE!"

After being stabilized I was air - lifted to Boone Hospital Center in Columbia where by the time Dana and twenty or so other friends and family arrived I was undergoing surgery to have a stent inserted to repair an artery that was 85% blocked.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I'm doing well, moving slow, lots of pain from the CPR but it beats the alternative. The doctor says I can't do anything for several weeks and then I can begin Cardio - Rehab. Back to work way down the road, way down. Doctor "Cutie Patootie" (he really is) says it will be six months to a year before I'm completely done with my recovery.

Now to answer the $64K question. No, I didn't see a light. And thanks to God my heart stopped in the hospital so I never had a drop in circulation consequently there is no brain damage (that was the phrase that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up). And no, I didn't see Andrew - its a good thing, I would have stayed.

I told someone recently that my heart quit beating 18 months ago, it just had to have a heart attack and die for anyone to notice. For the last 18 months I have repeatedly said I wanted to go and be with Andrew, but when my time came....I didn't go.....

I will spend the rest of my life figuring out why. I know this is that life changing moment that everyone talks about, or one of many in my case. But you know as well as I do that I have some work to do now.

Recovery work, spiritual work and creative work. My clock stopped ticking and someone hit the snooze button and got me some more time. But its no time to sleep - there's work to be done.

31 comments:

Ron Morrison said...

Holy Mackerel!

Cara Dawn Romero said...

"Holy" for sure - glad to be here a week later -

rob ijbema said...

oh Carla,just been reading your story with a lump in my throat,
talk about a gripping post!
so you are allright? considering...
and choose to stay here...life changing indeed,hope you soon can make the most of it
all my best wishes.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Rob -

Brothergrimm said...

WOW. I have nothing else really to say about your experience. I couldn't even begin to imagine what you've been through, but am glad you pulled through. Sometimes, even when you think you're done, you'll find you've got other reasons to stick around. I know everyone in the blogosphere will be here, so take all the time you need to convalesce!

Sandy said...

I'm speechless....speechless....I gotta go think about this cause I don't know what to say except Wow, and so glad you're back...and thanks for adding the part about not seeing a light, not seeing Andrew. I would have been wondering...Cara, what an experience...whew...

sandy

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Doug - I wanted to let folks out there know why I was gone for a while.
I'll keep everyone posted -

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Can you believe this Sandy - I really can't. To me it seems more like I might have hurt my ribs (which is the source of blinding pain that "appears" to be disabling me) in a car accident - I still can't believe I had a heart attack.

The first question everyone asked my was whether or not I saw anything while I was gone - nope, nothing that I can remember - I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed in a lot of ways.

Toni said...

Cara,
{{{{HUGS}}}} I don't know what to say. I just want to give you a hug! I still have a lumpy throat & teary eyes, what an experience you've been thru! I've said it before and will say it again; you are the strongest woman I know. As proud as you are to call Andrew your son, he is just as proud to call you his mom! This is just another prime example of why. So many people would have stopped 18 months ago but you are a courageous woman of God & have continued on even when it hurt too bad to even be awake! And when your heart literally can't beat anymore, you find the strength!
I'm balling at this point; you are such an inspiration to me!!
Love ya!

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thank you Toni -

Sandy said...

Can't get you off my mind, ...what an ordeal for you Cara. Just stopping by to wave a hello at you..and send you lots of cyber hugs...

sandy

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

OMG
Glad you are still here. Your paintings are coming along quite nicely Cara. I'm glad you didn't stay. Funny you didn't see the light or Andrew. Wasn't your time.
((((Cara Dawn}}}}

Sandy said...

You cross my mind every day. Just wanted to send you a cyber hug.

sandy

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Sandy - I appreciate you so much. Each day I think I see improvement but its going to be a slow road to recovery. And that's okay -

Gerald Schwartz said...

I want to know what are your going to do for an encore....

bookbabie said...

Gee Cara and here I thought you were just too busy painting to post! I'm glad you're okay. I guess we don't get to decide when it's our time, or maybe you did, maybe you just don't remember who or what you saw? In any case, take care of yourself, it will be interesting to see how your experience influences your art and your spirit in the days to come. Sending you some cyber hugs:)

rob ijbema said...

good to hear there is some improvement...no hurries

Sandy said...

Glad to hear you are seeing some improvement. Are you at "peace" with what happened. And, you certainly don't have to answer that somewhat personal question, here. I'm just thinking out loud.

s

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Mary - Thanks for visiting. I also think it's weird that I didn't see anything - how strange. I agree, it must not have been my time.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Gerald - Hopefully I'm out of tricks! Ha! I intend to use this time to do some painting befor I have to go back to work.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Lilli - it will be interesting to see what happens from here on. Here's to better days for all of us from now on.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Rob - I'll be taking it slow for sure.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Sandy - Thanks for checking on me but to be honest, being at peace has never been a problem for me. I have been blessed with the ability to make peace with all the things that happen in my life.
I may not like the way things have happened but I'm not going to be crippled by them.

The Voice said...

Cara,

There is a reason for your being here - and now. It is evident you and Andrew were not fated to be together in the afterlife just yet. I suspect You got your chance to meet with him and you 'discussed' your need to return.

You needed this to happen and now it is time for you to move on. I cannot tell you why but this is the strong feeling I am sensing.

Your art is beautiful and you have been given a new lease on life - and a release from Andrew. I am so certain he is at your side and he assured you of this.

My heart is with you and while I did not know this was happening to you, I knew something critically life-changing was occurring. I knew there was danger and I knew you were going to be okay.

As I read your story, I was not surprise d at all and I am certain your years of life are going to be very long. Perhaps it is time for some soul-searching and re-alignment of your trajectory from here forward.

On a different note, I really want to purchase one (or perhaps more) of your pieces of art.

Be safe and welcome back!

J

Cara Dawn Romero said...

J -
Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I agree with everything you said and oddly, I do feel a release of sorts from the weight of grief. I'm looking forward to getting back in my studio - keep watching and see what happens. thanks again -

k. Madison Moore said...

You have a wonderful positive attitude. I wish you the best Carla.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thank you Madison

Todd Bonita said...

wow! I'm going to raise a glass of JD to you this weekend my friend. Glad you came back.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Thanks Todd - I'm glad to be back and doing well.

Marian Fortunati said...

Cara..
I've visited your blog before but hadn't read of your life crisis (s) before.
I don't know you at all, but I'm glad you're still here and sharing your thoughts and your art.
I'm hoping you're feeling a lot better by now... It looks like it has been about 5 months now, right?

Cara Dawn Romero said...

Marian - Thank you so much for visiting and for your comments - yes, I'm doing great all things considered. No significant side effects that we are aware of (Aside from that pesky memory problem) I'm very blessed indeed.