Monday, June 11, 2012

An Unexpected Twist in our Road

Casually she sauntered toward me. "Mom, I think Dad is testing Robyn."

I was tending to the bed of weeds where I dream of seeing flowers. Not half an hour earlier, Kelly had returned home from picking up Robyn from her Home Alone Safely course.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Dad is on the lying on the garage floor and I think he's testing Robyn," she laughed.

At that very moment, Robyn came barreling around the corner, panic in her eyes, fear in her voice. "MOM! Come NOW! Something's wrong with Dad!" she cried.

I started walking toward the garage. She is the dramatic one, after all.

I had heard a yell just a few minutes before, but to be honest I thought maybe one of the cats had been hit by a car and I didn't want to go check. So I kept pulling weeds.

Something finally registered and I dropped everything and raced the rest of the way. I think that may have been the last time I fully inhaled Friday afternoon.

I'll spare you all the graphic details and just say that Kelly was, indeed, lying unconscious on the garage floor. I sent the girls to the house to get the phone and then followed because they were taking too long. Back at Kelly's side, I called 911 and the ambulance was dispatched.

As the dispatcher was part way through her assessment, Kelly started to stir. I pleaded with him to stay still. I didn't know how he got there. It didn't work. I tried to physically hold him down - who was I kidding? He pushed his way up and started stumbling into the yard. He was mumbling something, but wasn't making any sense.

Alyssa had taken Robyn into the house to try to calm her down and to pack bags to take with them. I yelled for them to come out - to bring a chair off the deck to the grass so I could try to get Kelly to sit down and for the other girl to pick up the phone I had dropped and talk to the dispatcher. He sat. Thankfully. And he stayed put, but he was confused.

My perception of time was completely thrown off, but we live 15 minutes from town and the ambulance missed our corner so I'm going to say it was at least 20 minutes before Kelly was coherent and could remember anything. It was just before the ambulance pulled in to the yard that he was starting to put a few things together.

While "guarding" Kelly (making sure he stayed put) and waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I had called a friend to make arrangements for the girls, so once the paramedics took over it didn't take me long to gather a couple things and head to town. They ran a couple tests and started an IV before they left the yard so I left before they did.

The first thing I heard when I walked up to the nurses' desk at the hospital was the paramedic talking to the doctor. When they finished I explained that it was my husband they had been talking about. After arriving at our house and getting the details, the paramedic immediately believed Kelly had had a seizure. Before even seeing him, the doctor agreed and told me this would mean an automatic 6-12 months of no driving for Kelly.

I confess: the first word that entered my mind was not nice.

I was filled with fear. (As if I wasn't already.) Fear for Kelly's health - and now for his job. 98% of his job is driving to the rigs. If he couldn't drive, then what?

The paramedics had checked Kelly's blood sugar as soon as they arrived. It was normal. They did an EKG as soon as they had him in the hospital - also normal. There wasn't anything else to do for him at our small hospital, so they loaded him back up in the ambulance and took him to the nearest city for more tests. They did a head CT and more blood work. The head CT was clear and if they had the results from the blood tests that quickly, I can only assume they were good too because they didn't say anything about them. Before they left Beaverlodge, Kelly's color had returned and he remembered everything leading up to the time when he passed out.

It was Friday night and he had passed all the tests they did to determine if "anything would kill him in the next three days" (comforting words, right?!). They weren't going to call in everyone to do all the other tests he needed so they discharged him to come back for the tests as an outpatient.

Within five hours of the beginning of all this, he we were driving home together, relieved and grateful that he was ok, but still with many questions and a strict "no driving for one month" restriction.

This is pretty much where we're at today.

Already we can see God's hand in all this. I very nearly went to Calgary for the weekend - he would have been home alone when this happened if I had. This didn't happen just a few minutes earlier when he was driving with both girls in the truck. He didn't fall just a fraction of an inch from where he was - if he had, he would have hit and most likely cut his head on the way down. He doesn't have a concussion. (Head on a concrete floor, anyone?) The first thing Kelly's boss said when I called him from the hospital was, "Don't worry. We'll put him on a modified work plan." And the strength and confidence we both felt during all of this cannot be explained any other way.

We're only at the beginning of this particular journey, but we're both hopeful that it will be a short one. Kelly goes for an EEG tomorrow and an MRI sometime this week too. Then we'll follow up with our family doctor to hear the verdict. We're praying that they will agree that all this was caused by Kelly having worked all night Thursday night (he was called out at 10pm and didn't get home until 5:30 am) and the fact that he hadn't eaten anything. We're praying that there is nothing more serious at the root of all this and that we can get back to our normal routine...

... but we're not discounting the fact that right here - this place of uncertainty and discomfort - is where we are most reliant on God. It's where we learn to trust him more and where we learn to follow his lead. It's what we use to teach our children and it's what we use to boldly show you just exactly what our faith means to us.

"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." Habakkuk 3:19

I heard this verse both Thursday evening and Friday morning before all this happened. My study notes say, "God will give his followers strength and confidence in difficult times. They will run surefooted as deer across rough and dangerous terrain." I don't believe in coincidence so I believe that God was speaking to me through it and I'm claiming it as a message intended directly for me for the rest of this journey and I'm thanking him for it...

...may he rub off a few more rough edges because of this.


  1. Oh friend. What a miracle that you were at home when this happened. I am praying for you right now - for more answers, for clarity, for peace and for a real sense of the Spirit guiding you both through this difficult time. Thank you for sharing. Our family will be lifting your family up. Hugs to you!!

  2. How faithful is God. Amazing that you were there, and things weren't any worse. Praying that you will know peace,comfort,and clear direction as you walk through this. Blessings!

    1. Thank you. I am SO thankful I was home.

  3. I'm in a similar place. My husband has had TIAs (mini-strokes) for several years. He's had 2 carotid artery surgeries but continued to have the strokes. There was a period of about a year recently where he didn't have any. And regular testing showed no concerns. So when my job, which provided our health insurance, began to make me miserable ... I quit assuming I would find another before the Insurance ended. I didn't. And Bert has had 3 mini-strokes in the last week. We didn't go to the hospital but if it happens again ... we will have to. It's just a hard place to be! Praying for you!

    1. Oh, Beth. I'm so sorry to hear that. Praying for you and Bert too.