Let me give you some background. I am a Type 1 diabetic and have been so for going on 28 years. When I was a child, I watched the 80s movie Steel Magnolias. Most of you, I am sure, have already seen it. But, for those who haven't, it centers around a group of friends in the south and the life of a young Type 1 diabetic woman, played by Julia Roberts. She's a brittle diabetic and after giving birth to her first child, her kidneys fail. She gets a transplant and everything seems hunky dory until she picks her baby boy up
above her head and an intense pain shoots through her back. She quickly puts her son down and tries to crawl to the phone, but she falls into a coma - one from which she never awakens. Her family decides to pull her life support.
For a long time, I was terrified of having children. I did not want to end up like that. But, I've had two and even though there were complications with each pregnancy, I'm still alive and kicking.
However, on Thursday, I laid my son down for his afternoon nap in his crib. When I stood back up, a blinding pain suddenly ripped through my back. It took my breath away and I knew I had to get to the telephone to call 911. Every step was excruciating as I used the wall to help me get from my son's room to the phone in the kitchen. I was bent at an angle because I couldn't straighten myself and tears streamed down my face. Tony came home from lunch and found me leaning on the kitchen counter screaming and crying, trying to dial 911.
He did it for me. As the EMTs loaded me onto a chair, I was convinced that the scene in Steel Magnolias was happening to me. I was terrified at the thought of leaving my children, my husband, my family and friends behind. They took me into the ER and I waited for the doctor as the nurse pumped me full of pain meds. An x-ray was ordered. Being moved by the
|The coma image permanently engrained in my memory.|
The wait for the CT scan seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, the nurse gave me more pain meds and I drifted off into la la land until the doctor came in and told me a disc in my lower spine had moved. I asked him if my kidneys were okay and he said there was no indication of any kidney trouble. I breathed a sigh of relief and cried a little bit. I was convinced I was going to have a terrible Steel Magnolias fate. This convincing had a lot to do with my fear of that and also my incredible imagination. I made a bad situation worse by letting panic overtake me.
While this was all terrible, at the same time, I am thankful for it. Because now I know how I react when I am faced with my greatest fear. And I know what to do the next time it happens.