Last night while finishing up dinner Sarah told me that tomorrow was the worst day of her life. I asked why. She said, because on March 20th, three weeks shy of Scarlett's birth, she watched me die right in front of her and there wasn't anything she could do about it. And then I came back. And then I died again. She isn't sure, or maybe she just won't tell me, but she says I died "multiple times." I asked her how long was I gone each time. She said maybe a few seconds but each time felt like forever. Few seconds may not sound like a whole bunch, or maybe it does, but considering I've never died for any amount of seconds at all before, this was/is a rather big deal. Sarah's sister has a friend that works at Regions she came and sat with mega-pregnant Sarah during this time so she wasn't alone. A hospital priest approached Sarah about my last rites and she wouldn't have it, wouldn't accept my death. There was a staff member, an Asian male who had a young child that went through ECMO, who stayed up with me the entire night and kept me alive by giving me oxygen by hand. This was referred to as hand bagging or hand bagged or something like that where this man physically kept me breathing with a special plastic bag. Some day, along with several others, I have to meet this guy. We are unsure if his young child survived. ECMO would save my life.
Three days before this we were 'celebrating' my favorite holiday in my hospital room. I scarcely remember much of this, a few gifts and several forced smiles. I was so tired and struggling terribly bad to breathe. I'm unsure of the time frame now, but I was trying to cough up some phlegm for them to test because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. While I coughed constantly, I really wasn't coughing [up] anything. Maybe I forced myself to, maybe my lungs were ready, but I eventually did cough up enough for them to take and I swear they had multiple people around waiting for this and once they grabbed my cup they ran out of the room.
At some point during the next few weeks I had so many dreams I couldn't count. When I started coming through I was greeted with some minor miracles and other larger, real ones. The minor ones being of the Badgers making the Final Four in basketball and the Brewers had just won 10-straight games. I didn't know how many drugs I had taken or was still on, but I really thought those who told me these sporting events were crazy! Then the real miracles. The miracle of life; both my own, and my new baby girl. Thank you to all of those whom I knew or not, that never gave up on me. It turned out to not be my time.
I slept like crap last night. Too many things running through my mind. Some nights are worse than others, but generally when larger events of past, present or future cross my mind I have difficult times sleeping. I'm tired today, and I will probably go take a nap here soon when I lay Scarlett down for hers, but today is a good day. One year ago was the worst day ever. I guess lucky for me I don't remember it. I am thankful and blessed and fortunate for several reasons and many that I can't explain. From that day, and each day since, and while still a huge struggle, has each been a day in the right direction. And now today as I've dressed Scarlett in her Badger cheerleader outfit for the game tonight, I am feeling many emotions. Some good, some bad, some scary. But it's ok. I'm a happy man with two great kids and an awesome wife that couldn't be more supportive.