4:45 AM the screams started “LISA! LISA! OH GOD!!”
One of the needles came out. He is covered and the bed is filled with blood. It’s pooled into the middle. Why wasn’t I there?? The little one cried in the night, so I went to settle him down. I fell asleep with him. I wish he had slept through the night and I was in our matrimonial bed. I know I would have awoken a lot earlier if I felt the wetness of warm blood on my body.
Background: Two needles are used during hemodialysis. One to take blood out, arterial. One to put blood in, venus. There are alarms on the machine to help. For example, if the machine couldn’t pull any blood from the body to ‘clean’, then an alarm would sound off. But, since the needle popped out for blood being pushed back in, the machine did not alarm. It just thought the blood was just being pumped into the body. Reality is, it was being pumped all over the bed, floor and table.
He’s lost SO MUCH blood. He’s delirious. I try to keep calm. He pulls out both needles. I put cotton pads on the needle holes to staunch the blood flow. With the needle still trying to pull blood, the alarms start since both are no longer attached to his body. I try to turn off the alarm on the machine but just manage to push rinse back instead. Ugh! The machine is trying to push back the 500 mls from the machine back into his body. Even more blood will go everywhere. I start pressing other buttons to stop the alarms. Meanwhile Franklin’s starting to sweat. He wants to go outside. He’s careening down the hall. DON’T GO DOWNSTAIRS!! JUST WAIT!! Dear God, please don’t let him fall down the stairs.
I scream “FRANKLIN! FRANKLIN!! ” and run downstairs. “I’m here”, I hear him faintly. He’s lying on the floor of the medical supply room. “Call 911 babe.”. I am starting to hyperventilate. I mentally tell myself to calm down. I call 911 and answer all her questions. When I’m done I ask Franklin if he’s OK. No answer. Darling? DARLING!! My fear is in my throat. Dear God please do not take him away. I kick his foot. “Huh?” he groggily answers. “You HAVE TO answer me. Stay with me Babe. They are on their way.” “I’m cold. So cold.”
Ambulance is first to arrive. The male and female paramedics come up. One tends to my husband. The other comes into our bedroom to see how much blood is “a lot”. “Wow”, she calmly exclaims. “That’s a lot of blood”. She goes back to the front room and tells her partner. Franklin quietly tells her he’s lost some blood. “Yes dear. You’ve left it all over the bed. Stay still”. Franklin tries to explain he tried to go downstairs to get some fresh air, but couldn’t make it. That’s because his blood pressure is only 84/58 the paramedic tending to him explains. Don’t try to stand up, buddy. I am afraid. Now, as the paramedics and now firefighters discuss where to take him Franklin doesn’t want to go. “I’ll be fine. Do I have to go?” Are you FRACKING SERIOUS?!? It’s the lack of blood that’s talking. It’s the fear in him too. “You may need a blood transfusion, hun”, the paramedic tries to explain in a soothing tone.
My older son wakes up. My mask is on. Calm. In control. It’s ok baby. Go back to sleep. Everything will be ok. Dad just needs some help. I’ll wake you up when they are gone.
As they strap him to a flat board to help bring him downstairs the female paramedic asks if I’m coming. I am crushed. I can’t. My two children are still sleeping. I cannot call my parents this early in the morning, especially with their health concerns now. I watch them transfer him to a stretcher and I see the female paramedic brushes his hair back with her hand and talks to him. It is a caring moment. I finally break down and cry behind the door.
It doesn’t last long because I need to get my head together and figure out childcare so I can get to the hospital ASAP. I call the kid’s Godmother. She is our angel. As soon as she answers I realize I am breathing quickly. I try to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth to stay calm. Without hesitation she tells me to bring the kids down. She has work, but tells me to stay calm and just bring them down. I have my second breakdown. it is short lived.
I need to:
- email work. I am supposed to train new hires today. ugh.
- get kids up and dressed
- shut off the dialysis machine, water, and R/O
- get dressed
- try to clean up some of the blood bath so no one sees it. This much blood is disturbing
- pack some snacks/drinks for kids to bring with them – grapes, apple, cucumber, carrots
Come on kids. Wake up. We have to go.
Where are we going?
There’s an emergency and you are going to your Godmothers work today.
Daddy has gone to the hospital and needs Mommy.
I want to come!!
I finally usher all the kids downstairs. With reassuring hugs and kisses we make it into the car.
After I drop them off and speed over to the hospital, I turn on the radio. The usual morning talk and music feels weird. Life goes on. Mine feels like it’s on pause. Traffic lights. Morning rush hour. It’s all a blur. I am on auto pilot.
I have one goal. Get to my children’s father. My best friend. My true love. My husband.