Sunday, February 13, 2011

Flashbacks - Part 2 of 3


I woke up to a loud crash down the hall. The room was pitch black in darkness. I reached over to Wayne's side of the bed and it was empty. As my eyes started to adjust to the darkness I could see our bedroom door was open and there was light coming out from under the bathroom door down the hall. My heart began to race and I got a sick feeling in my throat. I quickly jumped out of bed and ran down the hall to the bathroom door. I couldn't hear anything. I knocked lightly on the door and called Wayne's name and he didn't answer. I tried again...silence. I grabbed the door knob and tried to open the door, but it was locked....he never locks the door. I knocked a bit louder this time, and called to him...nothing. My heart started to beat faster and harder and fear started to grip me right to my middle.

Suddenly I heard a gagging noise coming from the other side of the door, followed by a cough. I called Wayne's name again and was answered by a moaning noise. With each breath that he took, he let out this horrible moaning/wheezing sound. I asked if he was okay, and through the moaning I heard him reply "I don't know." I asked him if he fell and replied "I don't know." I asked if he could unlock the door. I heard something slide across the floor and the locked clicked.

I opened the door to find him huddled in a ball on the bathroom floor. He was covered in sweat and his skin felt like it was on fire. I grabbed a washcloth, got it wet with really cold water from the sink and placed it on his forehead. I put my hand to one of his cheeks and made him look at me. His face was pale and wet, and his he looked at me with those eyes....I have never felt so helpless in my life. I kept taking the washcloth and getting it cold again. His skin was so hot that the cloth was hot all the way through mere moments after I placed it on his skin. After 4 or 10 minutes he was finally able to get up into a sitting position but he couldn’t stand and he couldn’t talk. I started putting the cloth on the back of his neck. I knew that I had to get him to the E.R. but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it. He didn’t want me to call 911. I sat there on the floor with him, stroking his hair, and telling him that I loved him…I didn’t know what else to do. Finally he looked at me and put his hand on top of his head. He wanted a blessing.

Now I had a purpose; something I could do. I ran to the kitchen, grabbed the phone and dialed the number of one of our home teachers. He just so happened to live in the same building as us; we shared a common wall. No answer. I tried again, no answer. I grabbed some slippers and ran to his front door. I knocked and knocked again…no answer. I ran back to my house and called the bishop…no answer. I started to feel helpless again. I didn’t know what to do. Then the phone in my hand rang, it was the bishop calling me back. He didn’t really want to come out at midnight. He hesitated and asked me if I was sure it couldn’t wait until morning. When I insisted that I needed his help, he agreed to come.

As we waited, I never left Wayne’s side. I started asking him questions, just to keep him with me. Through his whispered answers I was able to piece a little bit together and figure out what had happened. He had woken up in the middle of the night and needed to use the restroom. He said that he remembered walking into the bathroom and turning to close the door, and then everything went black until he heard me asking him to unlock the door. Apparently he had fainted as he turned to close the door. When he blacked out, his body slumped against the door, causing it to slam which is what woke me up.

About 10 minutes after my call, the bishop knocked on the door wearing his suit and tie. He hadn’t been able to get anyone else so he had come alone. He followed me up stairs to the bathroom where my husband still sat on the floor. As we entered the room Wayne started to gag. I grabbed a bowl and got back to him just as the vomiting started. Uncontrollable vomiting. The bishop had to go out into the hall because he couldn’t stomach it. Under any other circumstances I wouldn’t have been able to stomach it either, but something came over me that night. I held the bowl for him. I continued to stroke his hair and rub his back while repeating over and over again that I loved him. It was all I could do. I felt so helpless.

Finally there was a lull in the vomiting episode and the bishop came in and gave Wayne a blessing. When the blessing was over, we knew that we had to get Wayne to the E.R. The bishop coaxed Wayne into trying to scoot instead of walk. Wayne made it about 3 feet, into the hallway, before he couldn’t go any further. The bishop asked him if he wanted to just lie on the floor and take a nap first. I immediately panicked at the suggestion and told Wayne that if he lay down on the floor I was calling 911. I knew in my heart that if he laid down he was never going to get back up again, and I wasn’t going to let him give up. The bishop saw my fear and he let it go. After about 10 more minutes, we knew that there was no way that we were going to be able to get Wayne to my car by ourselves. We needed an ambulance, so I picked up the phone and did something I should have done the moment after I woke up to the sound of him passing out against the bathroom door…I called 911.

The fire department was there in a matter of minutes. They hooked him up to a couple of machines and they kept telling him that he needed to take some deep breaths because his oxygen was low. They seemed to think that it was the low oxygen that was causing all of the problems (in a round about way they were correct). They put an oxygen mask on him and that seemed to help a bit. I felt so alone while they worked on him. Before they had gotten there, I had barely left Wayne’s side and I wasn’t able to be there with him while they were working on him. Besides, they kept asking me questions and needed me elsewhere. They then told him that due to the layout of our condo, they couldn’t take him out on a stretcher. He was going to have to walk down the stairs. It took them a little bit of time, but they were finally able to get him up, with one of them on each side. As they started walking him down the stairs, Wayne turned and said “My Phone.” It was the clearest thing he had said all night and I replied telling him that I had it. With those two words I knew that he was telling me to call his parents. What I didn't know was that those were the last two words that I would ever hear him speak, and that would also be the last time I ever saw him alive.

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