Saturday, April 2, 2011

Revisiting

It has been strange that after all these years, I have had to revisit the very airport which I equated with one of my least favorite memories. It is also interesting how these new visits have changed my view of this airport. It all depends, I guess, on what we equate a place with. My original visit to the Denver airport was dreadful, but now each time I fly into the Denver airport it is to see my son and his family. My original horrible memory seems to be fading....and so I want to record it before it is totally gone.....

February 1996

Boarding the plane to New Orleans, with one stop in Denver. No sooner was I seated and I felt horribly sick. By the time the plane touched down in Denver I was deathly ill. I disembarked and attempted to make my connection.

"Ma'am, you don't look well, can I help you?"

"I'm fine, I just have to sit down."

"Ma'am, I don't think you are fine."

I collapsed and was carried off the plane.  I vaguely remember emergency workers being called.  The next thing I know my blood pressure is being taken and they are calling for an ambulance.  It was all very surreal.
I faded in and out of consciousness.  The next thing I knew I was in an ambulance speeding its way to a hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

"What's your social security number?"

My brain is trying to get my mouth to answer. I have no idea what my social security number is. How would I know? I've lived overseas for so long where social security card numbers are not important.  I would not be able to remember it even at a good time; I definitely can't remember it in this midst of this crisis.

"What's your husband's social security number?"

WHO KNOWS!!

Thankfully I had written them down in my diary before leaving Japan, so I mumbled and fumbled around and they figured out that they were supposed to look in the diary. I couldn't concentrate on what they were saying.

"Blood pressure is dropping"

"Where have you come from Ma'am"

Ma'am? Who are they calling Ma'am?? I'm not an old lady!

"Ma'am what is your name? Do you know who you are?"

"What is your husband's name"

STOP ASKING ME ALL THESE QUESTIONS, I can't concentrate!

"Why are you rubbing your fingers?"

My hand is numb, I can't feel my fingers, I'm trying to feel my fingers.

Everything becomes a blurr and then I wake up in the emergency ward. HORRORS I don't have stateside insurance. I had heard how expensive the medical costs are in the States.


I get the attention of the nurse, "Excuse me nurse, I would just like to go. I have a plane to catch."

I thought I was talking loudly, but apparently I was barely whispering.  The nurse leaned down and I repeated myself. She patted my shoulder.

"You aren't going anywhere honey. Just lay back and relax."

"No you don't understand."

The nurse looked at me quizzically. "What's that you are saying, I can't hear you?"

Why can't she hear me I'm talking as loud as I can, why can't I increase the volume? How will Daniel know that I am in an emergency room in Denver? What will happen when Doug goes to pick me up at the New Orleans airport and I don't show up?

I refused blood tests. I refused treatment. I signed myself out of the hospital. My insides quivered and my legs wobbled like jello. Sitting in the taxi speeding back to the airport, I wasn't even sure I would be able to make the last flight out.

The airline personnel were helpful. They listened to my story and looked at the documents I'd  brought from the hospital. I was told I could make the flight. I felt so sick, but I tried not to show it. I knew I had to be strong. If I could just get on the plane and make it to New Orleans. There was a short time before the plane was ready to be boarded, so I stumbled along the corridor looking for a phone.

Daniel answered the phone and I broke down in gutwrenching sobs.

"Who is this?"

"Its...its...its...me....I'm...."

"Connie! Is that you?? Where are you? We have been sooo worried? What has happened to you?"

His voice made me cry all the more because I wished we were together. I just wanted to  fall into his arms and let him take care of me. I needed him so much and yet I was so far away. I was able to calm down long enough to let him know I was very sick and that I was attempting to get on the last flight out.  Could he contact those in New Orleans and explain the situation?

I did make it to New Orleans, not realizing this was not the end but the beginning of one of the greatest nightmares of my life.

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