Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Girl, put your hazards on....

This has been a bad week for The Toots. She hasn't felt great and was having some pretty bad seizures which prompted phone calls to every doctor that we knew for advice which almost always culminated in, "You know her best. What do you think?" What I think is that I called you so tell me what to do! God!

Anyway, at one point Buh and I thought for sure Tessie would have to be taken to the mainland to the hospital. Thankfully, The Toots rallied and got better all on her own (knock wood) but it got us talking about one very memorable and harrowing journey across Penobscot Bay with the Toodle Bug...

About two years ago, for the first time since being treated for a seizure disorder, Tessie was having breakthrough (meaning her meds were no longer controlling them) seizures. I called Doc Stephenson who instructed me to meet him at the ER. We got a medical priority to get our van on the ferry and headed across the bay.

Now this was before things had escalated to the point of us realizing that we should have oxygen with us at all times as well as probably take a plane over and not chance a long ferry ride. Who knew it would get so bad? Certainly not me, the Queen of Denial.

We had practically just left the dock when The Toots started seizing again. She was in her car seat which is very padded so we decided (my ever faithful Buh was with me as usual) that was the safest place for her to be. We started timing the seizure. Fifty seconds. Okay, not so bad. We could deal with that.

Five minutes later, another seizure. A bit longer than the one before. Alright, kind of strange to have another one but we were still in control here. No sweat. However, in the interest of trying to preserve what little privacy we could given our proximity to other cars and passengers on the boat, we put up blankets around the windows to try to keep everyone from seeing in. I'm sure we looked quite insane.

Five minutes later another seizure. Five minutes after that another one, and so on. With each one lasting a bit longer than the previous. Shit. What should we do? We were literally stuck in a no mans land as far as help was concerned. So I called the most amazing Dr. Jen and was talked down off of the ledge that I had mentally talked myself on to.

So The Toots was doing this for probably close to half an hour when things took a really scary turn and the next thing we knew she was seizing while gasping for air and literally turning blue. She had never stopped breathing before and it completely freaked me out. I am ashamed to admit that I was paralyzed with fear. I sat frozen in my seat staring at The Toots and thinking "I am watching my child die". Buh and I looked at each other, wild eyed with panic, and I believe Buh said something along the lines of "Oh shit!".

The next thing I knew Buh was throwing open her car door while almost simultaneously opening Tessie's and snatched her out of her car seat to get her into the front with us. Seeing Buh spring into action jerked me out of my paralysis and I grabbed the Diastat and by the time Buh got back into the front seat I was already pulling at The Toots pants and diaper and shoving the medication into her little bum.

We heard her take a huge breath sort of like "Baaaaahhhhhhh" and she started breathing normally again. Buh and I were trembling all over and Buh had one small tear leaking from the corner of her left eye. We were trying to decide what to do because by this point we were quite literally in the middle of the Bay. Equal distance from any kind of help.

I ran up to see the Captain and told him that we were in real trouble and I didn't know what to do. He told me he could stop the boat and call the Coast Guard to bring out a paramedic but that it would take a while and that as long as Tessie was breathing he thought we should keep the boat moving toward the mainland and help. I agreed and raced back down to my car.

The Toots was doing okay for the time being and the Captain had a crew member come check on us every few minutes to see if we wanted him to call to have an ambulance waiting for us when we got off the ferry. We decided that since she seemed better we could drive her ourselves to the hospital. The crewman told us he would let us off first so we could get moving.

The Toots did okay for the rest of the trip but as the boat was docking, she started seizing again. Buh was twisted over backwards to try to help maintain a safe position for her and thus had her butt stuck out towards to windshield...and everybody on the boat. The same crew member that had been checking in us peeked in my window to ask how she was doing, saw her seizing, Buh's butt in the air and me with my eyes probably bugged out of my head as I shrieked at him, "Not very good!"

I often wonder what he thought at that moment because the look on his face seemed to express pure disbelief at what he was witnessing. The crew held back the passengers to let us go and, amongst some very curious looks, I stomped on the gas and went flying up that ramp and on our way.

We hit every red light from the ferry to the hospital. Every single one. Buh, who couldn't believe that I was stopping for them, actually yelled at me, "Put your hazards on and go through them!" I told her that hazards were useless and meant nothing and she cried out "Well pregnant people do it!" I assured her that if Tessie stopped breathing again I would put on the hazards and not be stopping for anything but as long as she was breathing I would not endanger her life any further by careening wildly through stop lights.

Even without the hazards on we got there in record time and were whisked off to a room. The Toots had a rough time of it for a day or so but all's well that ends well.

And remember, in the event of an emergency Buh says...Girl, put your hazards on!...


  1. You are definitely NOT the Queen of Denial!

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