Today marks 10 years since I flatlined in the emergency room at Auburn Regional Medical Center after a bladder infection made it up to my kidneys and into my bloodstream. My parents and Kristen watched five minutes of CPR as an incredible team of doctors, nurses, and medics fought to bring me back online. In a letter he wrote to the ER staff a few hours later, Dr. Stephen Anderson described me as the sickest salvageable cardiac arrest he’d had in a decade.
It would be a full week and a half before I came out of my medically induced coma to find Kristen still by my side. She’d joked with my family that if I had brain damage, she would have to teach me math after months of needing my help with her nursing prereqs. I proposed three weeks after I was discharged, and we set out to Do Life with an overwhelming sense of urgency because we weren’t sure how long I could keep those infections at bay. Little did we know, it was her disease that would cut our time short less than a year later.
After she passed, I found a whole string of messages she had posted on my Facebook timeline while I was still in the coma. This one in particular took on a whole new significance as I slowly came to terms with her loss, and I go back to it every now and again to remind myself of how far I have come. In her own little way, I know that she is still right here next to me, watching proudly as I live the life she always knew I was capable of leading.
I didn’t believe it 16 years ago when the spunky rehab nurse in my hospital room told me I could have a rich and meaningful life someday, but I’ll forever be grateful that she came back around to help get me started down the path.
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Kenny, your impact on the world is immense. Kristen saw it and was such a big part of your doing life. She is smiling down from Heaven, dear friend ❤ Hugs from AZ
Thanks, Gail. I know she and Dan both are ecstatic about where life has taken us both. Hugs & LOVE from up here.
What a Beautiful little girl you have!! You both are blessed to have your cute little pumpkin! I’m so happy for you! Sending lots of love and good wishes from way over here>> 😉
Kenny, So glad to hear from you again. Always in my thoughts and prayers. I have the picture your mom sent me years ago on my night stand right next to Paul’s picture. Love you. Take care. Sending good thoughts your way.
I don’t know if you ever knew this Kenny, but for those 10 days while Kristen was taking care of you I would get up two hours earlier before work so I could go to the hospital to care for Kristen for a couple of hours before going to work. Sometimes I’d find her sleeping on the hard hospital floor right next to your bed. She refused to leave your side, spent every single night their with you. I’d come check in on her during my lunch and then again for a couple more hours after work. I took many of the photos you’ve posted. One thing was for sure, I was dealing with a daughter who was madly in love and fighting for her man. She taught the nurses a lot about how to care for you. Even that icky doctor who kept saying, “I didn’t give him a paralytic” each time she’d have to reminder her you were paralyzed. The staff fell in love with her and told her she had to come work with them when she finished her RN program. It was so beautiful to watch her with you. They would let her know when they were going to bring you out of your coma for just a few seconds so she could have every one of those seconds to communicate with you. I marveled at how she always understood what you were saying. It was usually, “Get this %#&$ out of me” to which she would comfort you by telling you “just a little bit longer, I promise” as you went back under. Yep, for those 10 long days I knew that my job was to take care of her so she could take care of you. It was a precious time….
She sounded like an amazing girl! I’m sorry for everyones loss of her. You raised an incredibly fun, smart and caring person. And I’m sure she is watching everyone and happy.