Friday, March 1st I fell and couldn’t get up. My legs would not work. In another episode of “Welcome to the stupid family” for some reason Dottie and i did not call 911. In our defense, we had just come back from the ER where we had been told I was dehydrated. It was 10:30 at night so I army crawled using my arms and with my wife’s help we got me on the family room couch. How silly to think that like a plant, we could fill me with water and I would be better in the morning. That did not happen. It was a fitful night. By morning, I couldn’t hold on to a cup and my arms felt weak. I was not getting better. We called a couple neighbors, David Williams and John Greene to come help me get in the car. They got me off the couch but I was 215 ( more on this later) pounds of dead weight. We looked at each other and all came to the same conclusion; time to call an ambulance.
Within minutes, Albemarle EMT’s were at our house, had me strapped on the stretcher, and placed in my VIP spot in their vehicle. The ride to UVA hospital was surreal. Travelling on a familiar route viewed out the back window of the ambulance. Lesson learned. When you arrive in an ambulance, there is no having to wait to be seen. Unlike the 2 1/2 hours we waited the night before, I was wheeled right in and the staff in the ER immediately went to work trying to figure out what was going on with me. Nothing against Martha Jefferson but in a weird way, I was glad I was misdiagnosed the night before. I could tell this was something serious and I felt that being at a teaching hospital was the best place to be. Later that day, that thought was confirmed by a good friend. After some tests, they were pretty sure I had been hit with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Two things were done while in the ER where i questioned my desire to be in a teaching hospital. First, they decided to do a lumbar poke. I was asked if it would be OK if the medical resident did the procedure. Being a team player along with pretty much not being able to move, I acquiesced. The second procedure made me thing twice. The decision was made to do a catheterization procedure, the lead nurse wanted to have the nurse she was training do her first one. I went along with it but my thought was, “people need to learn but couldn’t the experienced nurse please do this one”. All joking aside, I was struck by how calm I was given what was going on with my body. I was so glad Dottie, my rock, was by my side. That has been a recurring thought throughout my recovery.
I was moved to the step down ICU. Two things happened that made me aware that God was present. 1) the first nurse we met as I was wheeled in my room was someone who went to my church. She saw my name and said, “you go to Trinity, don’t you? I remember you from leading worship” 2) my friend who I mentioned earlier, is a doctor and came to visit me with his son. We chatted for a couple of minutes and then everyone left the room including Dottie who went out to say goodbye. My doctor friend came by in by himself and shared 4 things that i will never forget. “1) God loves you. No mater what, cling to that promise. 2) Things are going to get worse. ( he was right) 3) You are in the best place to be treated. 4) You will get better. “
If you have read the 1st three entries, you know he was right.