It was a good thing I wasn’t in “shark water” on Tuesday, September 14, 2010!! My lungs had a major blood vessel burst and it was starting to look a little like a horror flick on the sidewalk outside the office where I work.
Now that I have your attention, I will explain my last major lung event.
That day was my late night in the office and it was getting close to whistle time, but I had one more obligation to complete. As a DJO we have the responsibility of taking Court Orders up to the judges to submit them for the judges approval and signature. The judges reside in another building across the street from the Juvenile Justice Building. It’s on a slight incline, but nothing I haven’t trekked before. My supervisor warned me that an affidavit was coming over and that before I left for the day I needed to go see the judge. Without hesitation I confirmed her request and began to wait. About thirty minutes later it was delivered to our office and I set out for my usual insurgency of the court house, hoping that I would find the judge that late in the day. I stepped out of the building and glanced over to parking lot to see if I could see his car. In my heart I jumped up and clicked my heals with a smile as my eyes lay possession of the prize. (Notice I mentioned “in my heart”. Jumping up and clicking your heals with an oxygen tank on your back can be injurious to the back side of your head.) As I gleefully made my accent across the street and up the sidewalk I glanced up to the banister at the bottom of the stairs where I usually rest and catch my breath. I usually stop there and look around to make sure there are no onlookers. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable with all the hackin’ that I do or make a scene. I noticed that the vicinity was vacant and free of any noticeable eyeballs, so I gently cleared my throat and took a few deep breaths. This time, however, I notice that there seemed to be some gurgling sounds coming from the left side of my chest which in seconds caused me to choke. I thought for a minute that I must have loosened up more mucus than anticipated, but then I realized that something wasn’t right and I subtly spat it out on the sidewalk. Oh no, bright red fluid!!
In that moment I began to think, “Do I ignore this little problem and go up to the judge and have him sign this or should I head back to the office for help?” Of course, my heart was racing from the trek, and my head was slightly light which makes it even more difficult to make a wise decision. As I was trying to slow things down, something, I believe the Holy Spirit, helped me make the right decision. If I had my way, I would have tried to forget the whole thing and went on my merry little way!! Heck, it works with the “Service Engine Soon” light on the dash board of my truck, but this was a tad bit different. I could have bled to death internally and wasting time could have been to my detriment.I decided to go back to the office. (Any good decision I make is only because of God. He gave me the wisdom and the concern even to make the right choice that day.)
As I was heading back I would stop and cough up quite a bit of blood and had to spit it out or (I’m sorry) swallow it. It was coming out pretty quick. Fortunately, God put the right people at the right place and right time. My coworker, Noel, was getting ready to enter the building and I belted out her name. Now Noel’s reply was something like, “What’s up?” As I was trying to catch my breath and cough up this “red invader” from my lungs, I told her that I think I needed her help and spit out more blood onto the street. I say that Noel was the right person for the job because Noel is a problem solver, and boy did I have a problem. She’s my MacGyver!! I was waiting for her to pull out duct tape and a tooth pick and save the day!! She is great at discernment, keeping it rational, and being a servant. She made her way over to me in “quick mode” and let me lean against her as I kept extracting more red matter. That’s when Joe, one of my supervisors, came out of the building and Noel flagged him down. He came over and seen the problem. Noel and I told them that I needed an ambulance because I didn’t know how this is going to end up. He called 911 and within a few minutes we could hear the sound of sirens echoing of the buildings to reassure us that they were to my rescue.
By the time they arrived the bleeding had started to diminish but not enough that I needed to ignore medical attention. They got me strapped down to the gurney and lifted me into the back of the ambulance. As I was getting in Noel asked me if I wanted her to call my wife. I told her “no” and that I would call her when I got down there. I was thinking in my head that I didn’t want her freakin’ out. I was determined to call her when I got there……..then I got to thinking about that………not a good idea!! I could have sustained more injuries with a longer stay in the hospital if I would have made that mistake. She would have hurt me for real. Like I said, God was giving me wisdom as I went through this experience, and so I decided on the ride down in the ambulance that I would call her from my cell phone and gently let her know that I was having to go to the hospital to get checked out by the doctor. So I called and got an immediate answer. It went like this: “Hey Ang, there’s a little problem.” Her response was like, “Okay”. Mine was “Well, I’m heading down to Barnes right now because my lungs started bleeding…. kind of bad……and I’m in the back of an ambulance.” I heard her with shortened breath ask, “You’re kidding me, right?” LOL!!! I play way to many trick and jokes on this woman!!!! Oh great….. I’m like the little boy who cries wolf to her!!! “You’re kidding me, right?”, was her response to me when I was in my deepest need. It is funny, and believe it or not the paramedic and I were laughing about it on the way to the ER. Well, once I explained to her the situation she was a trooper, like she always is, and took care of everything and got down to the ER and met me there.
The ER Staff thought it was a brilliant idea to put me out in the waiting room with everyone else…..not so brilliant. Grant it, I was stable and coughing up blood was minimal, but when Angela got there my blood vessel burst again and I began spitting profuse amounts of blood again. What can I say? She’s good looking and she makes my heart rate jump every time I see her!! I look over at her as she squeamishly looks my way. “Baby, you’re going to have to tell them that it’s getting ugly again and I need some attention…..like now.” It ws something like that. She adapted to “quick mode” for her little joker and got that nurse to hop to it and jump through some hoops to get me looked at. Within a few minutes, my lungs settled down and the blood once again diminished after I coughed up over a cup of blood. It was Nast-A!! However, I held on to it for the doctor to see so could play a little “Show and Tell” with him. I didn’t want him to think I was a liar. I didn't have a wound on the outside of my body but an invisible one on the inside. A few minutes after that we were in an observation room where I had another spell of coughing up more blood. When the doctor came in he was taken back a little as he obsered all the blood I saved for him. His remarks where something like, “Dat ain’t good?”, and I was admitted into the hospital that night.
I ended up being in the hospital for 3 days so that the transplant team could observe me. I had one more little bout with bleeding at 5am on the morning I was admitted but it stopped and a lot less blood came out that time. Yeah, thank you God, I was on the mend. I haven’t had anymore problems with bleeding since then, either. Thank you all for your powerful prayers. God heard them and had mercy on me, a sinner, and gave me what I didn’t deserve, His grace and more time. Remember, life on earth is but a vapor.
I was still a little disappointed though……..my first ride in the ambulance and they didn’t turn on the light and sirens for me. God Bless-David