Asleep, 77 Days ~ and it began

For those of you new, or fairly new, to this spot there is a 77-day span in my life that I lost as a result of an outpatient procedure that went horribly wrong. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Pretty much everything afterwards that could go right, happened. God placed some miracle workers called doctors in the right spots at the right moments. We shall forever be grateful to Drs. Catherine Thomas and William Hayes. You'll read more about them as the story unfolds. It took a year and a half for me to recover, to go up and down stairs, to write, to be able to complete sentences without searching for words, to shower and dress alone, to walk without stumbling. Only those closest to me know how devastated we were, how it changed our lives, how it brought us to His arms.

This is my story. Come with me, let me tell you what happened when I was taken to The Garden, allowed to see what He has prepared for us, and how it has changed my life here on Earth. Some of you have heard me talk of this, some of you haven't. I love sharing it, love talking about it, love knowing it actually happened and that we cannot begin to know the absolute beauty and peace that awaits His children. Those that strive to be with Him, to spend Eternity with Him. This is my story.

For almost a year, I experienced severe pain that radiated between my shoulder blades. The kind of pain that makes you want to stretch and work it out. The kind that borders on making you wonder if you're having a heart attack. It seemed to happen between the hours of 4 and 5 in the morning, several times a month. By February of 2006 they began to take place during the day, always sudden, always extremely painful. Tests were run; I was taken off the HRT I had been on for almost fifteen years; and still there was the pain. I was admitted to a local hospital and diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and treated for such. The pain continued. Our internist had exhausted all tests and set up an appointment to see another specialist for a last resort test called an ERCP. Maybe this would show what the cause was, would possibly provide a reason for the pain. We never met him, never met Dr. McGlaughlin. His office called the very next week with an appointment to do the procedure. Long story short, I set my classroom up for a substitute for that Friday, April 21st never ever thinking I would not return.

It was a beautiful morning. April 21st began with sunshine and the coolness of early spring. John took the day off to go with me as there would be light sedation and I anticipated a nice slumber period. We planned to stop off at Pelham on the way home and eat at a Cracker Barrel there. I remember laughing, talking, sharing, and making plans for retirement. We had our life mapped out and we were excited with the ideas that flowed that morning as we traveled to St. Vincent's. Got there easily, checked in, and proceeded to the second floor to sign in to the GI Waiting area. It seemed to take longer than normal for them to call my name and when they did, I glanced down the hall and saw Tim Buck hurriedly walking toward us. Carrying flowers. Tim Buck. In February, I had been given the sweet honor of welcoming his younger daughter into my second grade class. Tim works in Birmingham and had taken the time to grab flowers and come to meet us in the waiting area. A few hugs, well wishes, and I followed the nurse through the door. I would not walk back out.

John says he sat. And sat and sat. Tim finally had to leave, so John waited. And waited. He remembers sensing an urgency in the department but he had no reason to believe it had to do with him. With me. He was approached by two nurses flanking a hospital administrator. She was kind, very apologetic, and informed him there had been an accident and that I had been taken to ICU. He says he told them he didn't know where that was and he remembers her being kind, but very serious. They walked with him and remained with him as the seriousness of the situation was explained. He was on unfamiliar ground, but would become very familiar with that hospital over the next seventy seven days and the long, long nights.

We'll leave John as he is taken to ICU and let me back up a few hours. I was taken to a changing room and put on the designated gown, placing my clothing in a locker. Following the attendant into the procedure room, we spoke of how I had been there for previous tests and upon meeting the nurse that would be with me, she mentioned recognizing my name and I remember feeling reassured knowing she wasn't a total stranger. (Isn't it nice that when we stumble upon those really dark moments in life, God always sends someone.) I was hooked up to an IV and telling me she was injecting the sedation into the IV line, she stroked my hair. The last words I heard her say were, "Nighty night, Mrs. Hood." The next words I heard were not of an earthly nature ~ and so it began (to be cont'd)


Jennifer said...

Ms. Nancy,
Please hurry and tell this story. I am sitting on the edge of my seat. I have heard about your illness, but not in this detail. You are a very good writer and I look forward to reading yours and Jen's blog each day.
Love ya,

Kristi said...

I can't believe you stopped!!! I love hearing you describe what you saw of Heaven - it is so encouraging to me! I can't wait to hear more!

Dana said...


I have been reading through your writings the last couple of days, trying to get a better grasp of the things you said at Susan's funeral..

It's funny because I had never seen you or a picture before. But I had seen your name leaving encouragement on blogs and on facebook.. When you said what you did, I though, "I bet that's Nancy Hood".. I didn't know the full details of your experiences but I could tell that your outlook was different than those of us that haven't had those experiences.

I also found it ironic, the words you said about how we shouldn't be wanting Susan to be here with us but we should be longing to be there with her.. The night before we headed over to Prattville, I earnestly prayed that Jesus would come back and take us all so no one had to experience another day of pain.

I woke the next morning and though my bed is quite "comfy" the ache that was still in my heart quickly let me know that I was not in heaven. And, of course, the realization that "it wasn't my time yet" and that there had to be a reason for that..

Thank you for sharing.. I'll be hanging around here and getting to know you better.


Dana Ellis

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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