Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In a word? Terrifying.

I started writing this a week ago, but I've been busy enough that I haven't had the opportunity to finish it up. I'm leaving it like I'd written it last week rather than edit the timing of everything. I have too many other issues to deal with right now....

It's been a week since Hopper broke her femur.

It feels like it's been a year.

It appears as though she'll be in the inpatient rehab unit for 2 weeks, unless she really gets that she can not put weight on that leg at all for 8 weeks. She's making progress, but it's still going to take awhile.

Had a scare the other night. I've lost all track of time, but if I recall correctly, it was Friday night...

It was my turn to stay with Hopper at the hospital, and I could tell she was 'off' when I came in the room. She just did not feel well. It was more than just the pain. She let the phlebotomist take her blood without freaking out. She had absolutely no appetite. And she barely answered me, when I asked her a question.

Hopper. was. just. not. Hopper.

Just before 9 pm, the nurse came in to get vitals. I remember not thinking too much of it. I mean vitals are taken all the time, and there's rarely a problem. I always ask what the results are, but they're usually so close to normal that I stick it in the back of my mind as normal and just sort of forget about it. But Friday night was a totally different situation.

The nurse asked, if she could assess Hopper's condition and do her vitals. Sure. That's not a problem. But I heard Hopper cough. It was just a single cough. Sort of like she was clearing her throat. And she's done this sort of coughing or lets loose a bit of a yelp right before she gets sick to her stomach since she was little. So I knew to be prepared. She coughed again a second time, and I had the basin ready for her to use. Sure enough, the third cough was the charm, and she was getting sick to her stomach.

I've seen her get sick many, many times over the years. It has always unnerved me, because of how she responds. She often has a vacant look in her eyes, and she doesn't seem responsive at all for several seconds, but this time was worse. Much worse. Instead of just a vacant look come across her face, she went catatonic.  I was mere inches from her face yelling her name, and I could tell she couldn't hear me. She couldn't see me. She couldn't. well. anything. She even stopped breathing.

Knowing that it's always a possibility to for someone to choke on their own vomit and die as a result, I threw her forward into a sitting position as forcefully as I could. I still yelled her name as loud as I could, and she still wasn't responding. All of the sudden, her eyeballs started jumping up and down and then slowly rolled to the back of her head. I just kept screaming her name. Then, just as suddenly as it had begun it was over. Hopper came back, looked at me as if to say, "what", and made eye contact. I did everything I could to make her maintain that contact, so she wouldn't slip away again.

It scared me to death. Well, actually, it scared me enough I wet myself. And that was a first. In the roughly 5 dozen times the girls have been hospitalized, I'd never wet my pants before last Friday night. And I've been scared to what I thought was death, but I've apparently never been *that* scared before.

In my periphery, I could see movement, but my eyes were glued to Hopper's face. Once she came to, I looked up and realized that the nurse had called the crash team, and my screams along with the button she pushed brought RNs out of the woodwork. The room was crawling with nurses, and I'm so very thankful they responded so quickly. Instead of being scared seeing the crash cart sitting there just ...waiting, I was thankful it was there in case it was needed. By God's Grace, it wasn't, but still...

I scrambled to call Hubster to let him know he needed to get back to the hospital ASAP!, but I couldn't seem to reach him. He must have been out of earshot of the phones, so I called Bugster. She only lives a few miles away, and I knew someone needed to stay with Scooter, so I asked her, if she could go let her dad know he needed to come up right away. I didn't know what to tell them was wrong with her, because the professionals didn't even know. Besides, I didn't want either one of them to drive in a panic, so all I could say was for Hubster to get up here. 


They sent her to the ICU to be monitored overnight, because they weren't sure what had caused her catatonic state. Hubster arrived right before we headed downstairs. It appeared a bit like a seizure but not quite. Once in the ICU, her heart and breathing were monitored. The vomiting continued from time to time, and for some reason I asked, if the heart monitor recorded what had happened when she was getting sick to her stomach. The nurse assured me that it did, but it wasn't set to record. I told her it would have been interesting to see what happened when she got sick. She fiddled around with the machine, but I totally forgot about even saying anything until the next day.

Poor Hopper seemed so miserable that I asked, if they could give her something for her nausea. An hour or so after she took it, she seemed almost normal. She was animated once again, and her personality was back. We were so relieved, but none of us slept really well that night. A few hours after Hopper appeared to be stabilized, Hubster went home to get some sleep. After 3 nights at the hospital with no sleep, he needed it desperately. The last thing we needed was for 2 of our family to end up in need of medical care, so I was glad to see him go home and rest.

Early the next afternoon, Hopper was moved back to the rehab unit. They figured that she'd had a vasovagal (or vagal) response. In her case, the vagus nerve, which runs through the abdomen is overstimulated when she vomits and causes her to lose consciousness. However, it's a bit more serious with her than a simple faint.

Several hours after she was moved back into her room on the rehab unit, she was feeling nauseous again. I could tell by the way she was acting that she was headed in the same direction as she'd been the day before. I asked, if she could be given something for the nausea, because I didn't know, if I could handle a repeat performance, and I didn't know, if she could, either.

The nurse said she knew the doctor had written for an anti-nausea medicine, but she called the doctor to see, if she could give it by IV, so it would work faster. The doctor said yes, and she left to order it from the pharmacy. A few minutes later, she came back in the room and showed us that she had the syringe. Then she told us that she couldn't give it to her.

The doctor had stopped her after she'd picked up the medicine from the pharmacy and told her to come into his office to look at something. He had a printout from the heart monitor from where the nurse turned on the recording down in ICU after I'd mentioned it the night before. During one of her very mild instances of vomiting, her heart had stopped for approximately 4 to 5 seconds.

The nurse miscalculated and said it was approximately 30 seconds that it had stopped, but the doctor said it didn't matter, if it was 4 second or 30 seconds. A stop or pause of any length is a serious matter. I shudder to think of how long her heart stopped up in the room when things first went south. There is a cardiac risk with the IV version of the anti-nausea medication, so the doctor didn't want to chance things and went with the oral version instead. We're so grateful he was looking out for her and so thankful that I wondered aloud what the monitor would have shown during one of her episodes. 

At one point, the idea of a pacemaker was on the table. We asked for a cardiology consult, because her heart rate was so high during some instances (it went as high as 170 bpm when she was scared at one point and she had a high of 146/101 for her blood pressure during a different moment of stress!), but the cardiologist figured it would settle down once she got home. He said that her sinus rhythm is totally normal-just very fast (tachycardic)  and you should never slow it down with beta blockers, if the rhythm itself is normal. Beta blockers have the potential of making a vagal response much worse, because they slow the heart rate down, and that would be the only reason she would have needed a keep her heart beating, if the beta blockers slowed her heart too much. Thankfully, she doesn't need either at this time. 

However, we do need to prevent her from vomiting as much as possible, to prevent her heart from stopping when she gets sick again. So we will have a prescription of anti-nausea medication at home to use anytime she gets a stomach bug. We'll gladly take that option over watching her go through that again. 

She's home now. She's doing remarkably well, and we're very grateful for the amazing nurses and doctors we had through this ordeal. She's struggling with the concept of not bearing weight on her left leg/foot, but she's slowly getting the hang of what it means. The hardest part of all of it for her is the fact that she's stuck in a wheelchair and can't get around like she wants. The hardest part for us is that we don't have a wheelchair ramp outside to get her back and forth through the doorway. It's going to be a long 8 weeks without one. We may have to figure something out, or I fear we'll all go insane stuck inside for so long!

Right now, we're eternally grateful for the sports channels on television! They keep her somewhat occupied. 

Did I mention this is going to be a long 8 weeks?


  1. Wowzers! Your poor little girl! I'm glad she's doing better. So to speak.

    So, is it a mixed blessing that she broke her leg and was in the hospital when she vomitted? Otherwise, if she'd done that at home, you wouldn't have had the medical staff and contraptions to find the problem.

    God is watching out for you! His ways don't make sense all the time but...( :

  2. Oh my goodness! I'm so glad things are working out for the better. What a terrifying time for you as a parent. I don't know how you maintain composure in such a situation. So very scary! We'll keep you and your family in our prayers.

  3. Aww! I hope she makes a fast recovery!

  4. I hope she gets better quickly. Sounds like a really not fun week!

  5. Oh. My. God.

    How scary. :(

    Glad she's on the mend... and rest assured, Almost Hubs can find sports on any day, any channel, any venue. So I think you're good. :)

  6. How terrifying! Glad they caought the contraindication on the IV meds too! Poor darlin! Love and hugs to you all

  7. How scary! Praying your 8 weeks goes by quickly!

  8. Your mommy powers were in full force. You know your daughter and knew to mention to the nurses/doctors things that might prove helpful. Any knowledge a person can give the doctor is always good. Rest when you can.

  9. That sounds very scary poor girl I can't image you were amazing by her side. I hope this is something that won't happen again stomach flu. Poor girl and mom. I she feeling a bit better now.

  10. Oh honey, I am so sorry. That is terrifying. And I'm so sorry Hopper is having to go through this. Sending you both much love and many, many, many, hugs.

  11. Mrs B-We definitely feel it was a blessing in disguise! It explains so much from over the years, and it my just save her life someday, because we now know how to treat it. And I have no doubt of God's presence throughout the whole ordeal!

    Thank you all for your love, hugs, thoughts and prayers! They mean so very much!

    And we're past the halfway point! WOOT! :)

  12. Sorry I missed this post when it happened. Any mommy instincts should never be ignored, and clearly yours were right in line with what Hopper needed when she needed it. God is watching over your family.


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