Edge of Life
Following my brief introduction and own reflections you will have an opportunity to hear from my Momma, Annette Wheeler. She is one of my closest confidants and has always been my loudest cheerleader and number one fan.
Her contribution is actually her response, on Facebook, to my recent blog “Your Faith Has Made You Weak”. In that blog, I comment on a time when prayer facilitated my healing. So without further ado, here is Momma’s words about the night I should have died.
From Annette Wheeler, Facebook comment March 10, 2017
“In this blog Sue asked me to share the story when she went into anaphylactic shock. First off, I do not have the knack for writing like Sue but I will do my best to share the story.
A little Background before I begin: It was the last days that the school doors were open and Sue was spending a little more time there (at school). They were cleaning the school with strong cleaners and it affected Sue’s allergies badly. You know the congestion, sinus in general feeling bad. This was Saturday, the day before Father’s Day, and we had a lot going on. Sue was to sing Daddy’s Hands for her Dad the next day in church and she wanted to go over the song. We do an outreach ministry with the Fire Department and I needed to get music ready for that and on top of that we were leaving the following weekend for Disney in Florida.
Sue still wasn’t feeling well so I told her to get cleaned up for the evening and take one of the antibiotics in the cabinet. (in January she had taken this same medication and broke out in a rash. She stopped it, took Benadryl and was OK—–we thought) She took the medicine and within 10 minutes she was running up the stairs to my room in a panic. She was blood-red all over her body. “OK Sue, calm down and go take a Benadryl and you should be fine” 10 stair steps to the kitchen – she tried to open the blister pack for the Benadryl – turned to her dad for help and collapsed to the floor.
My seven-year old daughter was screaming and my husband yelling for help. “What in the world is going on” I stopped dead in my tracks when I got to the kitchen door. My daughter was on the floor with her head over a trash can getting sick while her dad tried to hold her up. He had a handful of hair in one hand and the other arm wrapped around her. I got a warm cloth to wipe her face and when I touched her, my hand seemed to go through her. I tried so hard to remember my CPR class and couldn’t remember anything except we were in trouble. (The doctor is the one that told us to give her Benadryl.) He knew that I didn’t panic about my children when they were sick and I was so calm talking to him. He thought it was a simple fix. Sue came around long enough to go the bathroom but while washing her hands, I was suddenly fighting to keep her head from going face first into the mirror and falling to the floor. Yes, we were in serious trouble but we still did not know the magnitude of it all.
My dad came over and we rushed her to the hospital 5 minutes away. Dad went to the ambulance entrance and Tommy, her dad, carried her in. 14-15 year girl ain’t light. The nurses were telling us to go to the other door and check in. There was no time and we could not convince them until one of our fireman guys working in the ER walked around the corner. He immediately ordered Sue to be put in a room. The situation was life threatening – additional help was called as John, our fireman buddy, began cutting her clothes off. She was not responding to us at all, her blood pressure 50/0. The doctor told me they needed to call a heart specialist. I looked at him and said “what are you waiting for and why are you still standing here. Do what you have to do.”
I called friends at church for prayer. They tested for drugs however our precious fireman friend assured them that wasn’t an issue. Within hours, Sue was stabilized. She had gone into anaphylactic shock as a result of Ceclor an antibiotic. This all started at 10 at night and in the wee hours of Sunday she was resting in ICU. She came around to tell her Daddy Happy Father’s Day. She told me to go home and get some rest and go to church. She would be OK and people would be asking about her at church.
It wasn’t until after Sunday School that a friend put her hand on my shoulder and said “we have been praying” that I lost it! I suddenly realized the full magnitude of what happened and what could have happened. IF we can listened and gone through the regular check-in, Sue would died in the waiting room. The fireman, John was at the right place and the right time. I have always believed this was a Divine intervention by God. We were told there could be brain damage and she may not remember things, recovery would take time! Her pediatrician was a praying man. He checked her out on Wednesday after her release and he too was overcome with what God had orchestrated in the past few days. We left for Disney as planned and were going to take it easy. There was no stopping or slowing down. Heaven was stormed with prayers and He answered.
Today, I am honored in my feeble way to tell this story within this venue. You see things have not always been great between us. Sue has always been a force to reckon with. bull-headed and stubborn and yet dedicated to what she set her mind to do. So many prayers have gone up for her Salvation. If you follow her blog at all you already know of her journey of faith. I am truly one grateful mother and thankful to God for answered prayer even though it took a loooonnnng time! He is always an on time God. Sue’s writing has changed over the years. It use to be dark and gloom. Now she writes of encouragement, hope, love, compassion, faith and HER JOURNEY CONTINUES! I Love you Sue Always your biggest fan MOM”
I remember being anxious to sing for my Daddy on Father’s Day. The song “Daddy’s Hands” could not describe my Father better. I wanted it to be perfect. I had been so sick that in my mind I knew I was going to mess it up. I remember Momma telling me to go take my shower and take my medicine. She promised we would go over the song again before bed.
It’s funny. I do not remember even taking the medicine that caused the reaction. I remember beating on the bathroom door in a panic and Mom calmly telling me to take the Benadryl. The walk downstairs faltered, it felt like the ground was moving instead of my feet. I do remember trying to open the Benadryl blister pack. I could not get my fingers to work. I remember looking at my Dad seeking help. I could not hear him. Then everything went dark.
I remember being in the bathroom with my Mom. I could not get words to come out of my mouth. I remember the look in Papa’s eyes when he told my parents we needed to go. (To the hospital.) I remember being carried through the emergency room ambulance entrance by my Dad. The memories are spotty, but poignant. I remember John, the fireman, telling someone it was no time for modesty as they cut my shirt off to administer CPR. I remember hearing, “We are losing her.” I am not claiming an out-of-body experience, but there are certainly things I heard or recall that I am certain I shouldn’t. Maybe it was just the subconscious picking up on things that unfolded. I don’t know why or how I recall some of those things…I just do.
Mom mentions that my Pediatrician was a praying man. He was a man of faith. As a little girl I would sing as he played his guitar various songs from church. He was one of a kind. One of the mornings I was in ICU, he made rounds and came in to see me. (It may have even been Father’s Day morning.) I woke to him praying over me. I remember vaguely, him telling me God was watching over me.
Though it was terrifying, I am actually glad I went through this. I have always had to learn the hard way, just ask my Mom. This drug reaction probably saved my life in the long run. I have never dabbled or otherwise sampled in any type of illicit drugs. I made plenty of other dumb decisions, but that was not one of them.
I had planned to go into the ministry when I was in my senior year. I made decisions that took me down a different path. Because of that I felt unworthy and ashamed to reach for God most of the time. He saved my life and I threw it in his face, basically I felt overwhelming guilt. For years, my family prayed for me. I believed, but I looked for things to prove or disprove what had been fed from the pulpit. I stopped reading the bible and looked for answers anywhere else in my chronic state of disillusion. Eventually, I arrived in Nineveh, just like God wanted. It would have been far easier to keep following God, instead of running. (The inside of the fish stinks!)
Like Momma said, stubborn, bull-headed, and once my mind is made up…look out. My mind is made up. God is steering my ship. I was not spared to take up space and oxygen. I spared to be a conqueror!