Friday morning, Scott had a small cancerous spot taken from the 'bowl' of his right ear, a spot about the size of my pinky nail. After, he had lunch with his cousin, then a dentist appointment since he was already in Louisville. On the drive home he mentioned blood was seeping from the dressing in his ear. By the time he made it home and was removing the bandages, our bathroom looked like a crime scene. His mom is a nurse and, knowing I'm not equipped to handle that type of thing, came up to repack the wound. He bled through the first one in minutes, concerning her, but when the second held up she left feeling like the bleeding had slowed and would soon stop. An hour later she was back at the house to stay with our kids, and we were on our way to the ER to stop the bleed.
We were there approximately three hours and the only attempt to stop it was the application of surgicel which lasted less than thirty minutes before blood flowed freely again. I'm no medical expert and don't have a clue what 'losing too much blood' looks like, but I know he lost a lot, and that it had been going on for about seven hours, getting worse as time went on. The only prayer I could manage through it all was, "God, please just stop the bleeding."
Finally, the decision was made to send us to a hospital in Louisville, about forty five minutes away, up an interstate that is blocked by traffic or wrecks about three out of every seven days. And he was now bleeding through about every two to three minutes. I did not have a good feeling. But, he said he felt fine and was just irritated enough at the lack of effort and/or ability to stop the bleeding, that he was ready to leave. We never saw a surgeon and they never drew labs. Just sent us on our way with a package of gauze and a few hospital towels to sop up the mess.
Now, this part sounds a little ridiculous considering the bleeding that was going on, but would prove necessary within the next thirty minutes. Both of our phones where under 10% battery charge and neither of us had eaten since noon (now almost 9 pm), so we left the hospital and headed straight for Best Buy to purchase a car charger, then I zipped through Wendy's for a burger before jumping on the interstate (they didn't want him to eat in case they needed to put him under for anything). This is important, because with my heart condition (vaso-vagal syncope requiring a pacemaker), my episodes are always worse when my blood sugar is low. With what was to come, it was potentially life saving that we had the charger and I had eaten. So, phone charging and burger being eaten, up the interstate we flew.
I had no idea where I was going, having never been to this hospital, and don't like navigating Louisville in the daytime when I do know where I'm going. So, with Scott navigating and fielding phone calls from his mom who had our kids, we were making our way. That is, until we got into Louisville and he started swaying. I said, "Scott, are you ok?" To which he replied that he was getting dizzy and didn't know if he should put his head between his knees or lay back. I called his mom immediately. I've passed out so many times I wasn't all that upset that he was dizzy, even though he has never had such an episode, I just had no idea where I was going and needed someone to direct me in. However, within seconds, what happened was so much worse than passing out. Conveying this in writing will do it no justice, but as he was trying to get leaned back, his arm dropped off his ear so I knew he'd lost consciousness and I shouted so to my mother-in-law, Norma. My voice got louder and more panicked as he fell forward seizing and shaking as his eyes rolled back and I yelled, "Something's wrong! He's shaking, oh my God, he's throwing up!" She began yelling back at me to get off the road and call 911, but nothing would register. Scott fell back shaking again after throwing up, then fell forward completely limp with his eyes and mouth hanging open. I thought he had died, and was screaming so to his mom, 50 miles away, home with my kids, unable to do anything but yell over and over, "Julia, call 911. Call 911. Stop the car and call 911." I cry now, remembering the panic in both our voices. Her yelling woke our kids up, so now I could hear their cries in the background, over my own crying, when suddenly the only two sounds I heard where the cries of our sons and the numbers '911'.
Understand, that was all within a matter of seconds. Maybe 30. Maybe a minute. I really have no idea, but it felt like forever and I saw everything I hold dear flash before my eyes. The way he feels. The way we laugh. How our favorite thing to do is anything we do together. How much we adore our kids and how long we prayed for this wonderful little family God has given us. How they adore their daddy. How would we make it without him. I struggled to breathe, to make sense of what was happening, to find the key pad on my phone and dial those three little numbers. 911. "What's your emergency?"
The lump in my throat is so tight trying to type this. I have no idea what all I yelled at her but it was some combination of the fact that we were on I65 trying to make it to the hospital, that my husband had been bleeding for almost eight hours and that now I thought he had convulsed and died, that I had no idea where I was going and no idea if I could make it without passing out myself. Then he looked up at me with half hallow eyes and said, "I'm ok. Calm down." My goodness how the flood gates opened then as I told her, "He's not dead!" She said I had two exits to go, could I make it? I said I could if she could tell me where to go. Like a boss, that girl kept me calm (relatively speaking) and guided me to the emergency room entrance then wished us the best as we hung up. Scott had fully come to at this point, looking rough, but alert and most importantly, alive.
As I was preparing to jump out and run in for help, he said, "Jules, my ear stopped bleeding."
WHAT?!?! How? After eight hours it stopped sometime just before, during or after those terrible moments. Ironically, now we were rushing into the ER for a bleeding wound that had finally clotted and an eerie episode of shock just miles up the road, with a fully alert, shirtless (remember the vomit), man and his inconsolable wife. The remainder of the night is really unimportant, other than the fact all his labs showed he was fine and his ear never did bleed again. We were sent home about three hours later, exhausted, confused and grateful. Three hours before, I was wondering how I would ever tell our kids that their daddy wasn't coming home, and now, we were headed that way together, wanting badly to kiss each of their little heads. We had no answers for the events that had transpired, but he was fine and we were tired. Somewhere on that drive, still annoyed that no one could tell me why, after all those hours, it finally clotted when it did, I remembered the only prayer I could pray, "God, please just stop the bleeding" so, I decided to simply give thanks.
It was one of the most intensely traumatic things I've ever been through, and Scott has finally opened up that the whole thing has him pretty upset up as well. He is such a tough guy, unmoved by blood, combat or fear. But, when hit head on with our life and all that holds, he was shook to the core.
What is God working in us? I have no idea, but we will cling to His truth, continue to love with reckless abandon, and give thanks. Over and over and over, because none of this is promised to us. Not a day, or moment, is in our control. He is the object of our affection and our faith. He will sustain and comfort us. He will equip and prepare us. For what...only He knows.