“This guy is going to come in here and tell you some really scary things,” Dr. B said to me.
“Let me guess,” I replied. “I’m going to die.”
“Yes, that is exactly what he is going to tell you. He is going to tell you that he will do everything he can for you, he is going to outline the surgical procedure for you, but he will also tell you that it is possible you will die tonight. Just shake your head and nod along. Don’t believe him. You are doing great. Just stay strong.”
“Okay, sure… because it’s that simple. This guy is going to come in here and tell me that I might die but as long as I don’t believe him, I won’t.”
We both laughed at my smart ass comment.
I could hear Dr. Richmond’s voice booming down the hallway. He had a thick accent–Brooklyn or the Bronx, I think. He entered my room and introduced himself. He was only a few minutes away from the hospital when he got the call about my hemorraghing.
He lifted up the sheet covering my body and examined my vagina.
He shook his head.
“You’re in bad shape, kid. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna try to stop the bleeding. I gotta do an embolization to stop the bleeding. If that doesn’t work, you have to get a hysterectomy. You have to realize that if you get a hysterectomy, you won’t be able to have any more children, okay? But, I have to tell you this: if the bleeding continues, you will die tonight. ”
It was too much information, too fast. Giving birth, bleeding, dying, hysterectomy.
No more children?
Just save my life, please.
Bobby was allowed back into the room. He told me that Miss J was doing well. She was an angel. Dr. Richmond explained the procedure to him and the possibility that I might die.
Somehow, this became the best and the worst day of Bobby’s life, all at once.
The nurses wheeled in a new bed with clean sheets to transport me to the operating room. By this point I had received two blood transfusions and soon, I would be getting a third. I was given more pain medication. Demerol.
As I was being lifted onto the new mattress, I vomited all over myself again. This time the bile was thicker than the last time. I was humiliated and embarrassed. I am so used to being so well put together. My body was failing me and my life was unraveling before my eyes. A few hours ago, I was putting on make-up and admiring how great my hair looked. Now, here I lay, barely hanging on to life, my face and hair caked in my own vomit. I was a pathetic sight because now, my outsides were matching my insides. I was about to die and I looked every inch of it. And, to have all these strangers see me so helpless, desperate and ugly was devastating.
Is this it? Is this the end? I kept thinking.
My eyelids were heavy and I could barely keep them open, but I was determined to. Every time I blinked my eyes I saw complete darkness and there was complete quiet. There was no white light. No visions of family members who have passed before me waiting with open arms to escort me through the pearly gates.
I was running out of time. So, this is what it feels like to be dying and to know it.
Running. Out. Of. Time.
As I was being wheeled down the long hallways towards the operating room, the coolness of the air rushing across my skin felt refreshing and re-energizing.
I summoned what little strength I had left and made a promise to myself that I would not give up. I thought about Miss J. She was in the nursery with strangers caring for her, when she should have been with me. I was angry that my first moments with my daughter had been stolen from me. I had waited nine long months, done all the right things and here I was. I was angry at my body. I was fully committed to the battle, but I was angry that now I would have to fight for my life.
My life story will not end like this, I thought to myself.
I have so much left to do.