The Worst Minutes of My Life, Part 3

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Cayman opened her eyes.

The heavy air in the room decompressed at that moment as we all took a deep breath in, gasping at the amazing joyful signs of life within her. It brought tears to our eyes. Cayman was nearly on the brink of death just moments ago and now life was present again. It made its appearance in a fiery fit of rage as Cayman got mad. Her arms and legs went flying into the air and her hand took a firm grip on that breathing tube. The nurse rapidly let go of the ventilating bag and grabbed Cayman's arm stopping her from yanking the tube out from her mouth.

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. What a tremendous relief to see her responding so appropriately to an invasive situation. Yet my heart broke as I saw her desperately fight in fear over all the unfamiliar things surrounding her. It took me back to my own chilling memory when I was twelve years old awakening on a breathing machine from a comatose state.

I remember the panic. The fright. The incomprehensibility.

As Cayman gave up against the clutches of the medical staff, tears burst out from her eyes wetting her beautiful long lashes. All the sounds of her crying were stopped by the breathing tube passing through her throat but all the expressions of her anguish was present on her face and in her eyes.

My heart broke into a million pieces.

I stared into her precious little face, trying to smile and tell her "It's ok sweetheart." in the strongest tone that I could possibly mutter. She looked at me and brought her hands up toward me asking to be held.

My heart broke into a million pieces all over again.

Oh my little girl.

All the tubes, wires, new people - she couldn't understand. And there was no way I could explain it to her so that she would. She just wanted held. That's familiar. That's comforting.

"Rescue me please Mommy." I felt her little gesture call out to me.

I felt my body shake as I held in the urge to cry uncontrollably.

"I can't hold you sweetheart. I know you don't understand that. What if Mommy holds your legs?" I placed my arm under the bent of her knees and pulled myself toward her body trying to desperately make her feel cradled.

A small dose of a sedative was given to Cayman to help her relax. It worked. She calmed down and went to sleep. I didn't know what was worse - seeing her comatosed again or awake in panic.

Her heart rate was so weak. Another drug was administered to her that would hopefully help draw out some of the build up of fluid in her head. The intracranial pressure on her brain was so dangerous it was preventing strong signals to her heart.

It was a relief when the EMT's finally arrived.

I gave Mike the most difficult kiss good-bye as I hopped into the ambulance with Cayman. The hospital was under construction so the helicopter could not land there. It was waiting for us at the airport just on the edge of town. The ambulance transported us between those locations.

The EMT's gave me quick instructions on what to expect during the flight.

"It will take 25 minutes...to Ann Arbor...loud in the helicopter...head set on...you won't be plugged into our conversation...you'll hear nothing...remember...nothing to worry about...only if you see us getting worried...no matter what...stay in your seat...if you need us...tap on my shoulder..."

I had to make a conscious effort to hold my concentration on his words. My exhausted mind wanted to escape and not listen. I just wanted to close my eyes and for someone to wake me when we got there.

Panic tempted to overtake me when I saw the inside of the helicopter. We're going to ride in there? Cramped in a tiny space with no guarantees that my little Cayman will not die while we hang suspended between Heaven and Earth. Lord, how am I going to do this?

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go..." (Genesis 28:15)

I climbed in, not giving another opportunity for my mind to dwell on my butterflies. God was with us and He became my dwelling place. He had been too faithful for me to doubt Him now.

The helicopter took off. I felt dizzy as I watched the ground leave beneath us. I closed my eyes to pray. I felt so broken leaving Mike behind. I worried about how he would handle the two hour drive to Ann Arbor. He had it so much worse than me. It's a desperate feeling when miles separate a family during such a tough circumstance. My thoughts kept returning to God's declared promise "
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go...". I prayed that over Mike and asked God to carry that promise out for each one of us.

I pulled my Bible from my purse. As I glanced out the window, I held it close to my chest as I watched the cars and people below shuffle in all different directions lost in their normal lives. I opened the silver edged, tissue thin pages of the Word of God and read the first passage my eyes fell on.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2).

It was an affirmation of the security of my life lived close to the Lord. He has been my dwelling place for so long. The shelter from my storms. And He would be again in this time.

*The Worst Minutes of My Life, Part 4

11 Showin' Comment Love:

Cayman's Daddy said...

Thank you Kris for documenting this so well. God has some Amazing things for Cayman in her life and this is just one of the Amazing things he has done for her. It's also quite healing to reflect on all the emotions for us too.

The Soldatke family said...

Heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking! :( Glad I already know the end of the story!


And what I most can't believe is that you have pictures to document! I don't think I would have had the presence of mind.

Love to you!

Gabriella said...

Oh, this gets more and more difficult to read. No parent should EVER have to go through something like this. I'm also glad I know the ending. And, I'm amazed that you thought to carry the bible with you. You have made me see how important it is to have this amazing book at hand at all times. May you have continued strength as you relive these moments - which are almost more difficult bare than the event itself.

Colette said...

So heartbreaking to read, but so joyful the end was good! God is with us and will bring us peace and healing! Thank you for sharing!

Tiffany said...

You are truly, without a doubt, one of the strongest people I know. No wonder Cayman is such a fighter!

Sarah said...

You are such an inspiration to us all reading...
the reminders of the little things(picking up after our children) we may be tempted to "complain" about on a daily basis...
that really are blessings...

your pictures are amazing... beautiful...
even the ones I look at and think..
this should be disturbing....
but it's beautiful..
you definelty have a gift...
that God's beauty can be revealed in such an awful experience...
wow...that's all I can say

praying for you all

Lisa said...

I agree with Jill....I am so glad that I know that it's a happy ending :)

You have done a wonderful job of documenting this.

Angie said...

This is so heartbreaking and scary! I am SO SO glad that everything turned out ok. Cayman is so precious and God is certainly watching over her and you and Mike. Prayers for you guys always coming from me!!

Joyce said...

Your words are beautiful Kristen. I can feel your healing heart as I read each line.

Stephanie said...

You are lucky they allowed you in the helicopter. When Elisabeth was born they wouldn't allow either of us to go with her.

So glad Cayman is doing well and is so loved.

Hannon! said...

Thank you for sharing these moments with us. Although they are heartbreaking, you express yourself in the most beautiful and inspiring way. Your family is an inspiration to my family and God definitely has a plan for Cayman. She shares her light with so many and I am so happy it shines BRIGHT!!