About This Blog:
MIRACULOUS FAILURE… Its a True MIRACLE that I FAILED at SUICIDE… It has changed me for the better and I am so thankful.
I am a survivor of a very serious suicide attempt that I was completely unaware I was headed toward or doing. It was the result of depression caused by inability to cope with a lifetime of wrongs, combined with a completely ridiculous medication regimen. The doctors called it medication induced psychosis, this caused bizarre behavior, loss of memory of a lot of 2016 and the attempt. I was hospitalized in ICU for 3 weeks and in physical rehab for 5 weeks, during the hospitalization I was unconscious most of the time, everything I had was failing, on dialysis, a ventilator and an unreal amount of IV drips. My family and friends were asked to say goodbye to me several times. Each time I quickly returned to good vital signs, shocking the medical professionals. There were 7 episodes of near death during my hospitalization, each time with the same unexplainable, almost immediate recovery. The doctors all told me when I woke up, there was no medical explanation for my survival, that it had to be a God Thing, and I believe that. I am recovering, no longer on dialysis, getting stronger every day. All of my organs are working and my mind is clear, its like I’m a whole new person.
I believe these posts are not just for depressed or suicidal people. They are for any type of issue like addictions of all kinds, obsessions, anything that controls your life, This blog is also for the loved ones who are affected or involved.
I don’t know why God chose to save me, but it is obvious to me and those who love me that he did, multiple times. My wish is that if someone else can be saved because of my experience, it is worth it.
Long story short…. I always knew growing up something was off but had no idea what it could be. My mother was very controlling, cold and hard to please, what is now obvious, she was a textbook narcissist.
Well into my adulthood and after both the man I thought was my father and my biological father had passed away, my mother told me… She had an affair and got pregnant with me and that’s really all she told me, definitely not the whole story. What everyone should know is that Phillip Boyd (the only father I’ve ever known) was the greatest. He loved me so much and I am so very thankful for him. He put up with a lot of horrible treatment from my mom, he loved her unconditionally. I knew as a child her treatment of him was wrong and I never wanted to be like her. Trying to please her was a constant goal that was never going to be possible. My desire to please her lasted her entire life, I even lived with and cared for her for 2 years after my marriage until her last breath. Now I realize this was her master plan, that she groomed me to fulfill.
After her death, the rest of the story came out a little at a time. My mother controlled her story. For a small person, she had a lot of power. There were lots of people who knew the truth but were not allowed to say a word. Her power was somehow ironclad. I do know that if you crossed her she would cut you out of her life for good, no matter who you were. She was a little bit scary.
The truth, verified by many. I was the product of an affair. My father had moved out and my biological dad moved in. Back in the 60’s affairs and out of wedlock children were not accepted. Of course, everyone in town knew what happened and this was embarrassing and problematic for everyone involved. The relationship didn’t work out, they broke up and now my mother was going to be a single mom with a newborn. She decided to give me away to her very best friend Elsie and her husband Jr. who could not have children. They named me “Alicia Renee” this is typed on my birth certificate and they took me home from the hospital to Hattiesburg Mississippi. When my brother Brad came home from school, he of course asked where his little sister was, and mom told him. He was not happy with this news and convinced her to go and get me. They drove to Mississippi and took me away from her best friend, breaking their hearts. My mother did not want to name me “Alicia Renee” her choice was “Terri Lynn”, she had my name changed. In Louisiana they apparently just scratch through the typed name and write the new name on the birth certificate. I always questioned this whenever I saw the certificate, because it truly looks ridiculous. She stuck by this story… that the hospital sent her a notice… if she wanted to make any changes to her child’s name to do so at that time so she took that as a sign to go with her second choice for names. My father moved back in and he raised me as if I was his own.
Every year for as long as Elsie lived she sent me birthday and all sorts of cards, with how much she loved me written on them, which confused me because I barely knew her. I’ve found out that my biological father had 2 daughters (my half-sisters) I knew nothing about. After finding out about them, I assumed they wanted nothing to do with me because we had never met. Most likely my mother decided to keep them away because they would have exposed her story.
Most people would say “that’s nothing to be so sad about” but I can tell you it is, when you’ve believed your while life one thing then find out another it is devastating. Lies Are Devastating. When you already had no self-worth, this kind of revelation can and did drive me to deep depression and to question everything that ever happened. It does not matter what causes your depression, what matters is how you process it. I resented my mother, began to gain a lot of weight and became more and more depressed. I had a breakdown in 2010. My Brother again came to my rescue and got me into a treatment facility for 30 days, it helped for a little while but the depression came right back, worsening over time. I hid my depression from many with my goofy personality and humor. I was obsessed with my mother’s bad behavior and blaming her for everything. This brings me to the end of 2015.
I could go on forever about my childhood and very bad choices I’ve made that added to my lack of self-esteem and depression. Only want to add… Not long after high school, I married a very bad man. He saw me coming from a mile away and could tell I had a lifetime of training on how to be controlled. He was violently abusive. Somehow after only 6 months I found the courage to leave him and I did. It was not without significant trauma but I divorced him and joined the Air Force. On a side note the recruiter also thought my birth certificate looked ridiculous and he ordered a new one from the state of Louisiana. They sent him the same typed, marked out and handwritten document. At age 28 I had a hysterectomy and have no children causing me deep sadness.
OK back to the story. At the end of 2015. My oldest brother Steve (who lives in Wyoming) and I had been talking a lot about the new story of my life. He wondered about his and Brad’s biological father, so we googled his name. We found his obituary, he had passed away just 3 years before and lived in Wyoming not far from Steve. He and Brad were not mentioned in the obituary but there were 5 children (their half-siblings they knew nothing about). This made sense with what our mother told them about their dad. She always said their father was abusive and wanted nothing to do with them and that’s all they really knew about him.
So we were all raised by our dad Phillip Boyd, he adopted Steve and Brad when they were young boys, this changed their last name to Boyd. Back in the 50’s you didn’t need the fathers consent to adopt. Steve and Brad were both affected by the news their biological father was gone. They had the names of their siblings. Facebook messages were sent out to try and find out more about them. Again, there was a big difference between the Truth and what our mother said. Moms story… she and the boy’s father were married, he was terribly abusive, actually tried to kill Brad, she left him and he wanted nothing to do with the boys, end of story.
The truth… he was injured in an industrial accident and lost a leg. She apparently didn’t think he would be able to support them in the manner she wanted, so she left him and married our dad. The boy’s biological father remarried and had 5 children, none of them abused. Their father tried and tried to be in the boy’s lives, but our mother wouldn’t allow it. She once again had powerful control over anyone who knew the truth and they were all apparently too afraid to help him. When his children were old enough they tried to make contact with Steve and Brad and they were all shut down by our mother. Their dad even tried to get to the boys thru our grandfather. All our grandfather would say is that he was sorry but he couldn’t help him. Because Grandad knew our mother would cut him off if he crossed her. Eventually they stopped trying to locate the boys.
By all accounts, not just from his children, Steve and Brad’s biological father was a very good man and provider. My brothers were never given the opportunity to know him. This hurt my brothers and it hurt me too, I was devastated. What kind of monster had we been raised by? How many lives did this one, tiny woman alter in very bad ways. This began my spiral out of control. My brothers and their siblings connected, they all met and got along beautifully. I got to talk to them as well, they all knew about me, accepted me into the family and said I could be their sister too. This made me over the moon happy but increased my stress just as much. We made plans for an end of summer trip to meet our new family. This sounds like wonderful news, but it affected me differently. I was obsessed with the wrong and began to question my ideas of my own half-sisters.
Earlier in my multiple careers; Airforce, Walmart, Chef, LVN then RN, I was a loyal hardworking employee. After learning the truth about me, my ability to hold a steady job faltered. I would get so stressed and change jobs or not be able to work at all. After learning about my brother’s truth, I changed jobs from full time nursing & rehab manager to part time weekend supervisor at the same facility. This new job quickly became too stressful for me and I quit. This happened much faster than usual. The reality is the job wasn’t stressful, I was starting to spiral out of control. My coping skills were not working and I was becoming despondent and anxious.
Of course, with loss of job came loss of insurance. The ordeal of finding and paying for private insurance was so stressful, don’t get me started. We finally got a good insurance policy with outrageous premiums and deductible. With this new insurance came new doctors. During a doctor’s visit, they noticed I was not doing well emotionally. Then I ended up in a mental health hospital where I stayed for 19 traumatic days. It was the right place for me, but my unclear mind didn’t think I needed to be there. It was filled with scary, violent people and I was nervous the whole time.
While at the inpatient facility I was seen by a Psychiatrist every day. Over the course of the 19 days I ended up on a ridiculous medication plan, that I willing took, much to the dislike of most everyone I know. If I were thinking straight, the nurse in me would have never taken most of the things prescribed but I was not thinking clearly and just did what my doctor told me to do, which I believe most people can relate to. I had severe insomnia caused by hormone imbalance and terrible autoimmune tummy troubles along with depression, anxiety. The Psychiatrist prescribed, along with Prozac, Clonazepam, Temazepam and Ambien… Thorazine (a heavy antipsychotic) for my tummy troubles and Ritalin (highly addictive) for my sleep issues. Shockingly they worked, my tummy calmed down and I could sleep well. He said that if I took Ritalin in the am and noon, it would tire my brain and I would sleep at night and he was right. I thought he was a genius. I started seeing him as my Psychiatrist after discharging from the hospital.
Everybody situation is different. Everybody’s body chemistry is different. What works wonders for some may be very harmful for others. Unfortunately, we have no idea what will affect who and how until you take it. This combination was the worst possible combination for me and I refused to see or do anything about. In effect, I was an addict and my dealer was my psychiatrist. I became instantly addicted to the Ritalin and increasingly irrational and unreasonable as they days and months went by. My behavior became bizarre and I started to forget or have no memory of events. Just like any addict, defensiveness became my mood. If anyone questioned my medications I just got angry and made excuses. 2016 was the worst year. It just seemed to get worse every day. I accepted this new unstable life and it became my normal.
Most of the story from here on out comes from others memory because mine was altered. My husband wanted me to go to another Psychiatrist. I don’t know if you have every tried to find a Psychiatrist, let’s just say it’s hard. They either don’t take your insurance or they are not taking new patients. Add to this problem the lack of motivation of an irrational depressed person, needless to say, I never found a new Psychiatrist and started group therapy. I thought this was helping me, but I was getting worse. The Psychiatrist at group therapy was concerned by the medication regimen and stopped the Ritalin, Thorazine and Temazepam. I started having severe withdrawals and was quickly put back on all of them. My obsession with my mother’s wrongs was becoming dangerous, I couldn’t get past it and it was destroying my life. I couldn’t or wouldn’t see it.
My husband and I planned an RV trip to Wyoming to see my brother Steve and meet the new siblings. From there we would go to several places in Colorado and back home over the month of September.
Just a few thoughts on my last post. Parents PLEASE DON’T lie to your children. Whatever you think your “protecting them from” is not nearly as bad as living a lie. No matter what, honesty is always the best policy.
Early September 2016. Thomas and I prepare for our trip to Wyoming and Colorado to meet Steve and Brad’s siblings then to travel Colorado with my in-laws. I was very excited and stressed all at the same time. I could only focus on what my brothers had missed with their siblings.
It seems like someone was trying to tell us not to go. The 1st day we were all packed up and left very early in the morning. About 30 miles down the road an engine hose blew. We turned around and limped back home, Thomas repaired the problem and we planned to leave the next day. 2nd day, again very early in the morning we pulled out. This time we made it about 50 miles and a wheel fell off the trailer, yes an actual wheel fell off the trailer. I had a complete panic attack. Thomas comforted me and tried to calm me down with little success. He parked the trailer, unhooked the truck, figured out the lug nuts were faulty, the wheels and some of the axle studs were damaged. He left to get something to fix the problem. I stayed with the trailer in the middle of nowhere, I was scared, but we couldn’t let someone steal it. After what seemed like forever, Thomas came back, repaired the hubs and put a spare wheel on. We hooked back up and again limped back home, very slowly on the feeder roads. Now I believe this trip is not going to happen. All our plans were for nothing. Remember, my medications have made me very unreasonable and extremely irrational. I must have been very difficult to talk to and impossible to convince. There was no talking me into believing things would be OK.
On Tuesday, Thomas got all new hubs, wheels, axle studs and lug nuts and completely reassembled all the wheels. Once again, we prepared to leave early the next morning. Like we do every time we leave with the RV, we went to Buc-ee’s to get snacks, coffee and fuel. When we turned into the parking lot the trailer wheels locked up. I exploded with fear, anxiety and anger. Thomas was very upset as well. We couldn’t believe this was happening. He eventually discovered it was an easy fix, the emergency brake pull was stuck under something and there was no damage. My panic and anxiety was extreme. I wanted so badly to go, but was afraid for our safety. I purchased a beautiful cross inside Buc-ee’s and we started on our way.
I was a nervous wreck the entire drive. Thomas was strong and calm enough for the both of us. After 2 days of driving long hours we made it to Cody Wyoming. I was very excited to see my brother. Steve showed me all over the area, we took lots of pictures. He and I went to meet his new brothers and sisters, they were so nice, it’s like we had known each other forever. They accepted me into their family as a sister and I loved that feeling. This meeting was better than I had imagined and I immediately started thinking about my 2 sisters. Would a connection like this be possible? My understanding was that they wanted nothing to do with me. I could not think of anything else, what should I do and how should I do it. I wanted to know them but I was afraid of rejection.
My only thought was to contact my friends from Louisiana to see if anyone knew my sisters or how to contact them. While waiting for any answers I became very nervous and withdrawn. This began to interfere with our vacation. We left Cody and headed to Colorado. We were going to Glenwood Springs, then Salida, then Pagosa Springs. I don’t remember a lot about our trip because of my focus on finding out about my sisters. I do know we went to Doc Holiday’s grave because I have pictures of it. Thomas tells me I became very irritable and refused to go places with him and his parents. I just wanted to be alone. My stress level was severe. On the way to Salida the transmission overheated, adding to my stress. We parked on the river and it was beautiful but I couldn’t enjoy it. Thomas noticed I was not having fun. He tried to talk me into waiting to contact my sisters until we got back home, but I didn’t listen.
Thru friends I got in-touch with my youngest sister’s husband and found out that she had passed away from breast cancer recently. I was devastated, I would never know her. My thoughts were immediately directed to my mother who prevented me from knowing her and I became angry. My sister’s husband was gracious enough to let me know all about her. Then he talked with his adult children, they wanted to decide as a group if they wanted to meet me. It seemed like a lifetime for him to get word back to me that they did want to meet me. Thomas asked me to please stop focusing on this but I couldn’t. I argued with him and he did tell me he thought I needed to go back to the mental health hospital to get help. He was absolutely right but that pissed me off. Vacation, in effect, ruined.
From Salida we went to Pagosa Springs, the brakes overheated coming down Wolf Creek Pass. I was so withdrawn, I didn’t even care. My in-laws noticed I was not right and were worried about me too. I just focused on my new family situation. I finally got to speak with my sister Judy and she was happy to know me and interested in meeting me. She told me a lot about my dad, cousins and family. My dad was the life of the party, very friendly and everybody liked him. This news made me happy. I was still obsessed with the lies my mother told me. It was just so unbelievable that I had another dad and 2 sisters and would only ever know 1 of them.
It was time to head home, my memory of the trip back home is not good. I was argumentative and anxious. I don’t remember getting home, parking or unloading the trailer. The combination of my prescribed medications and the stress of all these new things, new family and what me and my brothers had missed out on until now was taking its toll on me. I was well on my way to committing suicide but had no idea it was coming.
It sounds like I was a raging lunatic and I probably was. As loved ones you would always ask, what could I have done to prevent this. I really don’t know. I want to say that loved ones are usually clear thinkers. We, who have attempted or committed suicide are absolutely not clear thinkers. This is where the disconnect is. People who think normally would never imagine that someone would or even could attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal thought.
This post has been very emotional and hard to work on. I just can’t believe what happened and that I did this to myself. Like I said in my previous post, I don’t remember getting home from our vacation or any of the week before the attempt except for trying to help a friend. One of my group therapy friends made a very dark and ominous post on Facebook. It sounded very much like he was going to take his life. I somehow snapped out of it and went into mommy mode, contacting everyone I could think of to get him to call me. He finally called, we talked for a long time and he promised me he would not harm himself. After the call, I apparently reverted back to my “crazy” because I do not remember anything else until I woke up on 10/23/16 and knew who I was. All of the account of what happened comes from Thomas’ and others report. I tried everything I could think of to save a friend, but then I attempted to kill myself. It does not make sense.
I realize it is very difficult for people to believe that I had no idea what I was doing. Before this happened, I would be on that same page with you. It does sound unbelievable that a person could attempt to kill themselves and have no idea about it. While recovering and healing I’ve tried very hard to take what people have told me and remember something or anything, but I just can’t. It’s not there which is frustrating. It seems like I’m talking about someone else.
The week leading up to October 5th… Even if 1 person had all the facts, I’m not sure what could have been done. There was nothing that stuck out as a huge red flag. I did however, spread the “crazy” around to everyone I know. No one person had the whole story. There is probably a lot more that my friends and family can’t remember. This was the beginning of 2 traumatic, heartbreaking, devastating and stressful months for Thomas, my family and friends.
This is what I’ve been told… I called and went to every nurse friend I know to desperately find a job, which I had no business getting. I tried to buy a condo. I tried to cash in my 401k. I made an appointment for the following week to get my hair colored purple, pink and blue (not like me at all). Why would a person who was going to kill themselves do any of these things? After the fact, I’ve been told my behavior was strange and somewhat bizarre. I texted my childish anger with Thomas to all my girlfriends. I was upset with him because he wouldn’t let me drive the truck and RV back home (mind you I have never driven the truck and RV). He said I should go back to the mental health hospital (which I clearly needed). He was right on all counts but just like any irrational, unreasonable, depressed or addicted person I was not interested in solid thought. I told them he may get violent which couldn’t be further from reality, he is not in any way violent. I was unstable and I couldn’t or wouldn’t see it. The mental state I had fallen into made it impossible for me to hear or do anything that made sense. I saw my psychiatrist the day before the attempt and got all our prescriptions filled the day of the attempt.
October 5th, 2016, the day that changed everything. I went to get a haircut (not necessary for someone planning to kill themselves). I called friends multiple times to make sure they knew I loved them. Helped Thomas garden and pull weeds. We came in the house, took showers, then I said “we need to talk”. The talk went like this…“I need to go somewhere, he thought another RV trip. No I wanted to go somewhere, by myself. We sat in the bed and told him, I wanted a divorce (which is ridiculous). He of course was in shock because this made no sense. I love him and he loves me. He broke down and thought this was a bad dream. He pleaded with me to change my mind, I insisted. He asked if we could do counseling, I said no. He said that all I wanted was for him to pay off my credit card and that he could have the dogs (if I had been thinking clearly, there is no way I would ask for a divorce or give up my dogs). He says we talked and argued for several hours and skipped dinner.
I told him I wanted to sleep in the living room. Devastated he went to bed. After about 15 minutes he heard me coughing and an unusual noise. He came to check on me, he asked me if I was ok, I said yes (groggy). He kissed me on the forehead and I was sweaty (which is normal as I have hot flashes). He went back to bed. After another 15 minutes he heard me coughing, gaging and louder noises. Thank God, he checked on me again. He knew right away something was wrong. My eyes were rolled back and I was very altered and had foam in my mouth. He asked what did I do, I said pills on the counter, he went to the bathroom to check, but the bottles were in the kitchen, while he was gone I got up and stumbled into the kitchen. He returned just in time to catch my fall. He grabbed me and we both fell to the floor. “what did you do, what did you do”. I pointed to the bag of empty bottles and the note on the medications. 13 bottles…. I had taken all of his blood pressure medications and all of my medications.
90 Metoprolol + probably a lot more because he could only tolerate ½ the Metoprolol and we cut them in half and had a lot of extra pills.
120 Clonazepam + lots more because they were prescribed 4 times a day as needed and I usually only took 1-2 daily.
90 Restoril/ Temazepam,
90 Thyroid meds
Different dose of Thyroid meds (old prescription, unknown count)
Trazodone (old prescription, unknown count)
Ativan/ Lorazepam (old prescription, unknown count)
Belsomra (old prescription, unknown count)
I took 810 pills for sure + an unknown amount more.
Thomas called 911 in shock. They instructed him to keep me awake. While he was getting the dogs contained I tried to get up and walk, he returned to see me falling in the living room, limp. He held me crying, this had turned into a nightmare for him. He kept me awake as best he could. It took 30+ minutes for the ambulance to arrive (we live far out in the country). When they got here I was in and out of consciousness. Thomas told them what happened, the police were also there. I suppose it’s natural to reduce urgency when you are given the fact that someone attempted suicide. I’m thinking they assumed that if I had wanted to kill myself, there was no rush to save me. Unfortunately, they were wrong, I had no intention to commit suicide and I needed to be saved. It took 45 minutes to prepare me, load in ambulance and leave. It took another 30+ minutes to get to the ER, no emergency lights and they didn’t even drive as fast as the speed limit.
I am in no way talking bad about the EMS crew, it is absolutely human nature to go on the facts presented. From ingestion of pills to arrival at ER took 2 hours and 45 minutes. It was too late to pump my stomach. This is the 1st of the 7 times God saved me during this ordeal. After 2 hours 45 minutes and 800+ pills taken there is no chance someone would still be alive. To put it in perspective it is widely reported that Jimi Hendrix died from drinking quite a bit of red wine and taking 9 sleeping pills.
The picture attached to this post is the suicide note I wrote. I only took a picture of the top because the rest of that legal sized page and another page are a list of everyone I wanted Thomas to call and their phone numbers. It was family, friends, my doctors, a low-cost cremation provider and body donation. I signed the bottom. I must have written it after taking the pills because it gets more messy and hard to read as it goes.
I’d like to try and help loved ones if possible. I am a member of several Facebook groups for suicide and have talked to many people that are or have been depressed, suicidal or in an unstable frame of mind. There are 2 things that really stand out for me and are quite common.
#1…There are many people that have been adversely influenced, intoxicated or completely changed by the combinations of psychiatric medications they are on. A lot of them have no idea this is happening. We all see the commercials on TV that say with every medication that effects the mind in any way, “May Cause Suicidal Thoughts or Actions”. I believe in a lot of cases these thoughts or actions may not be obvious or even known to the person. Like I’ve said before what may be lifesaving for some may be catastrophic for others. Everyone is chemically different. I was clearly displaying the behavior of an addict. There was no telling or suggesting to me that my medications were possibly dangerous or needed to be changed. A doctor had prescribed them and in my mind, they were safe. I was argumentative, made countless excuses and even thought my psychiatrist was a genius for giving them to me. I was not going to be told something was wrong and refused to consider any kind of change. I thought I had it all together, this was not the case.
#2…So many people express concern that they will invade their loved one’s privacy, step on their toes or anger them by taking significant steps to get help when things are getting out of control. Most likely because past attempts to help have ended badly. Will this anger or embarrass them? What if I’m wrong? As you can see by my story, we (those who attempt or commit suicide) are 100% not making sound decisions and may not even be aware they are going to attempt. If they are aware, they are absolutely hiding it from you. Arguments happen because any attempt to point out a problem hurts or angers them. YES, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to convince an irrational person they need help. And YES, most of the time it really makes them mad that you would even suggest such a thing. Please remember this severely depressed, suicidal or addicted person you love is not thinking clearly. Step on their toes and invade their privacy, it could save their life and they will be so thankful later.
Mental health issues can be and often are deadly. So many people including teens and returning war veterans are killing themselves every day. There must be a way to reduce this. I don’t want to repeat myself, but I feel like it’s really important. People who think clearly or who are “normal”, and are not impaired by medication, depression, drugs or alcohol can’t imagine that a person they love could possibly attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal thought. I am certain that no one that I talked to or encountered before my attempt thought that I would go home and swallow 800+ pills. Suicide is an irrational act, a permanent end to a temporary problem.
The next post will be about the hospitalization and how God saved me multiple times when no one, NO ONE, thought there was any chance that I would live…. This was hard to write.
I’ve made it to the hospital and now it’s October 6th 2016. I spent 5 days in the Huntsville ICU. Then I was transferred by life flight to the Memorial Hermann in Downtown Houston and was in ICU there for 2 weeks. Next I was moved out of ICU for a few days until I could be transferred to a long-term care hospital to begin physical rehab and continue dialysis. Once dialysis was no longer necessary I was transferred to TIRR, inpatient rehab for a few weeks, just about 2 months of hospitalization.
All this information comes from Thomas’s saved texts, his and others memory. From my previous posts, I have completely lost my mind from stress and the influence of the psychiatric medications I was on and have taken 800+ pills, without my knowing what I was doing. 3 hours have passed before I arrive at the emergency room and by the mercy of God I am still alive.
I’m in the ER, Thomas’ heart is breaking, he is confused and overwhelmed with grief. He tried to contact family and friends but it’s the middle of the night so he kept trying. He texted a wrong number with the details and the person was so moved they texted him back “Prayers to you and your family…unfortunately I am not the person you are trying to contact, I wanted you to know I am praying for you and your wife. Heartfelt apologies for the situation you are going thru and I send positive thoughts that everything works out and your wife recovers in all ways”
Once he got in touch with a few people the horrible news began to spread and the hearts of my family and friends were also breaking. In the ER they intubated me because I was unable to breathe on my own. Too much time had passed to pump my stomach. Lots of test were run and early in the morning I was transferred to the ICU. Almost as soon as we got up there I began to crash and code. The nurses and staff were yelling at Thomas to decide either to let me go or to save me. I can’t imagine what this was causing him to feel. I am so thankful a friend had arrived to be with him during this decision. He was in shock, they kept yelling, he said to save me and shortly after that then my vital signs improved. God saved me again with Thomas’s love.
Our precious family and friends arrive to support Thomas, my brothers both travel to the hospital from Louisiana and Wyoming. My in-laws came home from vacation to support Thomas then to stay at our place to take care of our dogs for the whole time I was in the hospital. Thomas set up camp in the ICU waiting room for the duration and so many friends were by his side to support him and be there with me. I am so thankful for everyone. Thomas stood by me when he thought we were over and he stayed optimistic when everyone including the doctors thought there was no chance. Many prayers were spoken, God heard them and answered them. A Facebook page was started to pray for me and everyone I know and many people I don’t know started praying intensely.
Everyone thinks I must have wanted to die, why else would someone swallow 800+ pills. Until I woke up and could comprehend things and speak, that’s what everybody thought. There were so many emotions Fear, Love, Anger, Worry, Stress and Trauma and I was responsible for all of it. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, it still happened and those who love me are now traumatized, especially Thomas. How strong he was for me and how unimaginable this nightmare was for him.
Poison Control was contacted for guidance, they were going on trial and error because an overdose of this magnitude hadn’t been reported for treatment before. I was very critical for a long time, Thomas reports it was minute by minute then hour by hour. Saturday morning, I woke up and was agitated (I’m not aware of this), breathing tube still in but by Saturday afternoon my lungs were failing my body temperature was dropping and oxygen saturation was in the 40’s. Thomas, my family and friends were told to say goodbye to me and that there was most likely severe brain damage. This was the most painful and devastating feeling for everyone. From what Thomas says everyone was called and they all told me goodbye. Then instead of leaving God saved me again, my vital signs improved and I was OK for a little while. My kidneys began to fail, dialysis was started, everything started to look very bad again
On Sunday, my pancreas began to fail from all the blood pressure medications I took. The doctors were concerned that my pancreas would die and become necrotic and there was talk of removing it if I stabilized. An unbelievable amount of insulin and glucose was pumped into me to try and repair the pancreas damage. The process was started to life flight me to the medical center in downtown Houston where a pancreas expert was. It took all day Monday to get approval for the transfer and then a long time to get me stable enough to move, it was touch and go. Whenever I was moved or turned my blood pressure would crash. God came through again and let me be stable enough to call the helicopter, it took more than an hour to get me loaded and take off and only about 20 minutes to get downtown.
Thank God for Thomas’s unwavering love for me and all the love and prayers my family and friends gave to both of us.
My kidney function started to worsen and continuous dialysis was started. I became extremely swollen and gained a lot of water weight. Thomas stayed focused on my care. The nurses taught him what all the numbers, alarms and machines were and he went into medical management mode and this occupied his mind. He tried to stay positive but there were times that he just completely lost it. The insulin and glucose infusions continued for about a week with only 1 mishap, the glucose bag ran out and the insulin was still infusing, my blood sugar dropped to a very dangerous low. God saved me again. Each time I was on my way out and things were looking really bad, my vital signs would perk back up. God was in control now.
Thomas’s parents brought our RV to a campsite near the hospital. He and my brothers stayed in the RV and took turns sitting with me and watching over me. One day, Thomas entered my room and saw a very large amount of blood all over me and a nurse holding pressure on my neck. They rushed him out and explained that while trying to insert a central catheter in my neck my carotid artery was cut and they were rushing me to surgery to try and repair it. God saw me and the surgeon thru this too. I didn’t have a stroke, bleed out or any other complication, a true miracle.
The next days they tried to wean me off the ventilator before a tracheostomy would have to be performed. There was good progress and a lot of backsliding. I was eventually able to breathe on my own and the vent was removed. The dialysis was tapered down to daily then every other day then 3 times a week as my kidneys began to wake up. Thomas said we finally went from hour by hour to day by day. An MRI was done and they determined there was no brain damage, another miracle. Everyone tells me I was awake for several days before I realized that I was awake. In the beginning, I just stared into space, no eye movement and was unable to follow commands.
After a few days I began to arouse, could mumble but did not make any sense. Then I started talking gibberish using some very colorful words I won’t use here.
Thomas says I was convinced that we were involved in some type of war game. I must have thought I was in a war because of the nonstop helicopter traffic at the hospital. I thought Thomas had signed me up for these medical tests and I was extremely upset and wanted to leave. I was certain they were injecting soapy water in my veins and stomach and on and on with crazier and crazier stories. One of my friends was trying to feed me and all I could say was the color of the food, not what it was. Thomas must have thought oh my gosh she survived but to what extent and he is still thinking I want a divorce, how stressful and unsettling this must have been. I’m sure he was thinking I would have to live in a nursing home for the rest of my life.
I finally woke up and knew who I was on October 23nd. I knew who Thomas was and told him I loved him. He asked if I wanted a divorce which confused me because I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought he wanted a divorce for a bit but he explained that I had asked him for a divorce. I told him there is no way I want a divorce and he was so happy and relieved.
There were so many IV’s and lines in every available vein, my arms, hands, neck, groin, everywhere. I was shocked and confused to see them all. I had become extremely week during all of this, I couldn’t touch my face, feed myself or even turn from side to side. I asked Thomas for a pillow from home, he brought one from the RV and I was so weak, I could not even push the pillow down with my head. My body was so cold all the time, there were not enough blankets to keep me warm. The Therapy team came to get me up and asked me to sit on the side of the bed and try to stand. I couldn’t, they didn’t believe me but I really couldn’t. Several staff lifted me into a chair to sit and my upper body just folded down onto my legs, so they strapped me to the chair. They say my body was working so hard to recover that it burned up all my muscle and I believe that. I was a weak as an infant. I lost 47 pounds from my normal weight and a whole lot more from the water weight I gained.
They moved me to the intermediate care unit and began to try and find a long-term care hospital I could go to until dialysis could be stopped. Thomas gently tried to explain what had happened and why I was in the hospital, I was devastated. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. He took it very slow and only told me a little bit at a time. I’m sure to this day he hasn’t told me everything. All the doctors told us that there was no medical or earthly reason I survived. They all said that it was absolutely God working and they were just amazed.
I was transferred to a long-term care hospital in Spring where I stayed for a little more than 2 weeks. They did some very mild physical therapy with me and dialysis. The 90 & 100-year olds were running circles around me. I was the weakest person in the therapy room for sure. My blood pressure would drop every time they tried to stand me up which hindered my recovery. Now that I was no longer critical, Thomas started going home and my brother Brad would stay with me when he was gone. I had to have someone with me all the time because I couldn’t do anything for myself and the staff made it clear they weren’t going to help. Between Thomas and Brad and friends, I was well taken care of. They all had to help me with things they never imagined they would have to do, but because they love me they did it willingly. I’m a very lucky girl.
The staff was horrible and unprofessional. I suppose they thought my family and friends could handle everything. There were many examples of how bad they were but one stands out. I was still too weak to get to the bedside commode.. lets just say there was a bed pan, the nurse left me completely exposed, the door to my room had a window, there was a flower delivery.. the nurse and flower delivery guy had a 5 minute conversation outside the window, the delivery guy got an eye full. It was violating and humiliating. When Thomas came back from lunch I was upset and then he was upset when I told him what happened.
The biggest problem I had was with the dialysis there. The dialysis crew paid no attention to the patients, they spent their time gossiping and talking about weekend and cooking plans. Someone would come around every once in a while and write down all the blood pressures, alarms would go off and no reaction from staff. Dialysis is a life-threatening procedure and very uncomfortable. It is very cold in the room, it takes 4-5 hours to complete. I don’t know how to explain the weirdness your body experiences but let’s say its unsettling. During a treatment towards the end of the 4 hours I could feel the life draining out of me and all I could do is whisper “help, help”. The funny lady next to me hollered at the staff “hey quit gossiping and come check on this lady she needs help” someone came and noticed my blood pressure was 40’s/20’s extremely low. They flipped my bed head side down, so that I was upside down and started pouring saline into me to raise my blood pressure. I was horrified. God and the funny lady next to me saved me this time.
When I was taken back to my room, I was so upset and worried. I couldn’t believe that I survived the unsurvivable only to let these people kill me. I prayed and prayed and pleaded and cried and prayed harder than I ever have “please heal my kidneys” “please heal my kidneys”. All of a sudden, my body from my knees to my head turned bright red and very hot, this lasted for a few minutes. It felt so strange but also comforting. I pushed the call light but of course no one came. I had to have 1 more dialysis treatment to remove all the fluid they had to give me to raise my blood pressure. My kidney labs came down and dialysis was stopped. God saved me 1 more time and this time I felt it and knew it and it was wonderful.
I was able to be transferred to TIRR in The Woodlands where I stayed for 2 weeks working on physical strength. My blood pressure would still drop when I stood so they would always stand beside me to catch me if I fell. The only way to fix this problem was to build some muscle back. This rehab was unbelievably difficult but I did everything I was told to do and never gave up. I was able to go from minimal staggering with a walker and assistance to being able to walk very short distances without a walker. Now that the emergent part of this seems to be over, Thomas is now able to begin to process his feelings. This whole experience has traumatized him and the memories are difficult for him to talk about.
I was finally able to go home and be with my wonderful husband and start our life over, depression free. During the many times God saved me he must have also erased my depression because I am fully recovered from that. I am happy and positive. I don’t have 1 single thought of depression, sadness, anxiety or anything negative. I am thankful every morning that I wake up and am trying every day to use the blessings God gave me.
I am so grateful to be alive. I am so thankful Thomas never gave up on me when everything was looking like he should. I am so thankful to be well. I am so amazed by the love and support we were given. God knew I had no intention to harm myself. All of my organs are working properly. I will always have to be careful with my kidneys which is not easy but I’ll take it. Now the challenge is to continue to get stronger. Overcoming complete weakness is no easy task but I’m dedicated to getting strong again and working on it every day.
I can’t say enough how strange this journey is for me. Even with everything I’ve been told and writing this, I can’t make any connection to these events. It truly is like I’m writing about someone else and it’s very difficult. I do feel compelled to keep writing about it and my hope is that it can help even just one person survive.
Before my attempt, Thomas had to deal with me at my darkest, most depressed, and irrational. He thought just like anyone would, that I had complete control of my thoughts and that this was purposeful. What he didn’t know is that I had no control of my thoughts or actions.
On the day of my attempt, I asked him for a divorce, breaking his heart. Then I swallowed 800+ pills. He could have done a lot of things, but what he did is save my life. His concern and love for me overrode all the bad. He became my hero, when no one from the EMS to the hospital thought there was any chance that I would survive.
For the next almost 3 weeks, it was constant stress for him and everyone who loves me. He is thinking I want a divorce and I did this on purpose. Everyone I love is thinking the same thing. Most everyone is very angry with me, but they still love me and are praying very hard for me to be ok. It was minute by minute for a long time, then hour by hour. Thomas never had a moment to process any of this and was traumatized the whole time and even told to tell me goodbye. There was never a moment when he and everyone I love didn’t think I was dying. If it was possible I could survive, they were all thinking I would be completely dependent and in a nursing home forever. It was ugly.
He definitely has PTSD from all the stress and what I put him thru. How could he have PTSD, he wasn’t in a war? He was traumatized by the constant fear of me dying and everything that went wrong with my body and organs. When one thing looked better another thing would fail. It was a rollercoaster in Hell for him. I can’t imagine the stress and the feelings he and everyone was having.
I am so sorry for everything I put all my loved ones thru, because it was horrific for them. Though I had no idea what I was doing, I am sorry for how this affected everyone and what everyone had to see and feel and all the worry and stress it caused.
When I initially woke up I was completely incoherent (I was unaware of this). Remember, Thomas still thinks I want a divorce and now I’m talking out of my mind and extremely confused, what is he going to do now. He is thinking our life was over. He is thankful that I am alive but fearful of the future. For several days, I am completely confused and it’s starting to look like this is how things are going to be. His stress level is rising because now he is thinking maybe he made a mistake saving me. I can’t imagine the feeling.
I began to think straight and could tell him I absolutely did not want a divorce or to die, he was relieved. Then he realizes I am as weak as an infant and now is worrying about to what extent I could physically recover. It was still unclear if I would be on dialysis for the rest of my life or not. He began to think we would have to sell or place and move to the city where medical help would be for me and he is also thinking this hospitalization and recovery will surly bankrupt us. More Stress.
I slowly recovered, made small improvements in strength, dialysis was eventually stopped and I was able to go to TIRR for more intensive rehab. Now that he didn’t have the stress of my survival to worry about, the thoughts and memories of the whole hospitalization came back repeatedly. He tried not to let me see, but I could tell he was distant and stressed and nervous.
Not until my return home did I see how all this affected him. I had lots of questions and he had to explain a lot that he didn’t want to talk about when I was in rehab. He didn’t want me to lose focus. Talking about everything that happened caused him a lot of sadness. He was emotional and cried a lot. I didn’t want to push him for answers but I wanted to know everything. He would just look at me and start crying. I then, wouldn’t ask questions because I didn’t want to hurt him.
If a scene in a movie or commercial would tug on his heart he would get emotional. I was so confused about why he was so sad. I was alive and it looked like I was going to be ok, to me it seemed like we should be over the moon happy. Remember I was unconscious during the time he was under extreme stress, so I didn’t experience any of it. If a song came on the radio that had sad lyrics about couples he would break down. I asked him to consider counseling or to get in a PTSD group but he didn’t want to see a counselor and PTSD groups are impossible to find. Over the long time that I have been recovering, he has gotten better and better, but still gets emotional when a triggering talk, song or scene hits him.
Please no one EVER Play Tim McGraw’s… Don’t Take The Girl.. That one is the worst for him, because he prayed for God not to take me constantly.
Now I pray for his wellbeing every day and am so thankful for his unconditional love for me. I have my hero here with me and we are so much more in love now. He even says, if it took this horrible, traumatic situation to get where we are now. It was worth it. I’m a whole new positive, happy person and we are a whole new couple. We will be renewing our vows this year in October.
These thoughts are mine, I am not a Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Counselor, I am a Nurse, but that really does not apply here. What I am is a survivor of an unsurvivable suicide attempt. My medications really did try to kill me.
The recent deaths of Chris Cornell & Chester Bennington have opened up a lot of discussion about suicide. In both cases friends and family have said that suicide just didn’t make sense. Suicide certainly did not make sense in my case either. What if stress, grief, depression, medication, anger, hurt, obsession or any combination of negative feelings could cause you to completely lose your mind and kill yourself? What if there are people out there that may harm or kill themselves and have no idea what they are doing? I believe that happens, it happened to me and I’ve talked to others who suspect it happened to their loved one. It may only happen in a few cases. It may happen in every case. Absolutely everyone is different. Some may purposefully kill or attempt to kill themselves. I can’t speak to that. What if even a small percentage of those who attempt or succeed at suicide are doing it without any knowledge of it? That should be a national health crisis?? Right?? What if the side effect “may cause suicidal thoughts or actions” those thoughts or actions are not known or realized by the person? If even just a small number of suicides or attempts fit this description, shouldn’t we be doing something about it?
I know my story of suicide, because I’ve been told and have written so much about it. I still don’t have one memory of any of it. I really had no idea what I was doing. When talking about my story, I have never had an “oh yeah” moment where I would have a memory or connection to it. My suicide attempt was not purposeful or intentional. Since my survival, hearing or talking about suicide seems like speaking a foreign language. When the topic comes up, I have no sadness, fear or guilt, it’s like it didn’t happen to me.
These are things I Know.
I’m going to say what is true about my story and what may be true for others as well. Yes, EVERYONE is different, but there are some similarities in all of us, especially depressed people.
Everyone gets depressed from time to time, most people can experience it, process it and move on. Then there are people like me who couldn’t let it go. I was obsessed with my depression and a lifetime of wrongs handed down by my mother. I fed it and I refused to listen to logical thought about it or let it go and it tried to kill me. Whatever the wrongs in your past they are in the past and can’t be changed. Your obsession with the wrongs or injustices are only harming you. The person or persons who wronged you are not concerned about your unhappiness, They wouldn’t have wronged you in the first place if it bothered them. Don’t let your negative thoughts rule your life. You will not be able to be happy if you carry the resentment, anger and hurt around with you and those feeling may just try to kill you someday.
I had a long-time depression that became worse and worse over many years, culminating in a medication induced psychosis that caused me to unknowingly swallow 800+ pills in a serious attempt to kill myself. As I found out more and more of the horrible things my mom lied to me about., anger and shock planted a seed in my head I could not get rid of it. That seed grew and grew, took over my life and sensibilities and eventually tried to kill me. Over many years I gained a ridiculous amount of weight. Sadness became my normal and I didn’t take care of myself.
Depression is to some people is like drugs and alcohol are to addicts, it becomes comfortable. Before the “situation” (this is what my husband calls what happened to me in October 2016) I was obviously depressed and I was not receptive to any talk that I may be on the wrong track, that I might need to reduce my medications and try to get off them or that my thoughts were not normal. I know people who are still stuck in the awful storm of depression and many of them are not interested at all in my thoughts about it. I was that person too. I pray for them daily.
Before the situation. I was sad, often agitated, unreasonable, irrational and a challenge to be around. After my recovery, I am a whole new, healed person. I am happy, thankful, grateful and striving for improvement every day. There is no trace of the depressed person I was. I find it difficult to even remember what depression feels like. I do know I never want to return there. I thank God for delivering me from it. Maybe I went thru it to help others. I am completely depression and negative thought free. I believe God removed my depression during the times he was saving me during the hospitalization. I am still on a very small dose of Zoloft and that’s all. My new Psychiatrist is slowly tapering me off completely. She agrees I am doing GREAT, but the fact that I nearly died from a suicide attempt such a short time ago prevents her from stopping the Zoloft all together so soon. My recovery and new life is a daily effort. It is work that I love to do. It’s like sobriety, I can never take it for granted, or think my work is finished, NEVER.
All the medications, hospitalizations and counseling in the world couldn’t help me, in fact the medications caused the psychosis that led to my suicide attempt. If you are depressed there are natural ways to improve. Meditation, exercise, walking, yoga, art, crafts, music, reading, observing the beauty in life, watching an aquarium, growing food or flowers, anything you can do on a regular basis to change the negative thoughts. For depressed people who may start an activity, it is very difficult to keep doing it. Keep trying.
My replacement for medications is physical activity. I walk every day the weather permits as well as Pilates and resistance exercises. I do these things to continue to improve the strength that I lost during the hospitalization. Physical activity improves the chemicals in your brain, just like medications do but without potentially lethal side effects.
I believe in God and his unwavering love for me and that he saved me for a purpose. I have given myself to him and try to live as he wants me to every day. If you don’t believe in God, find another higher power or something to believe in. Without God’s Grace, I would absolutely be dead, gone, not here anymore, just a memory. What an absolute tragedy it would have been for me to die from something I had no idea I did. I believe it is an absolute tragedy that others may be in the same situation. I just can’t believe how close I came to death.
This is my personal account of what happened 1 year ago that has changed both our lives forever.
I remember October 5, 2016 was a beautiful day, sunny and mild. We had just gotten back from almost a month-long RV vacation to Colorado and Wyoming that had many challenges. That evening we both worked in the garden to catch up on the weeding that hadn’t been done. Later that night, she asked me to come to the bedroom to talk. I thought we might talk about where we might go to next or what to do on the weekend. She said she needed to leave, I asked if she meant somewhere to go camping next. She said she wanted a divorce, I was shocked.
I felt like my world had just come crashing down on me. I was in disbelief and started crying, begging her to change her mind. She never showed the slightest hint of wanting to change her mind. She said she had already had plans to get a job and buy a condo. I was devastated. I felt like I was reliving all of my past failed relationships but on a greater scale.
After about an hour of silence, she said she wanted to go get ready for bed. I let her go by herself, not wanting to upset her, and then she said she wanted to sleep in the recliner. She shut the door to the bedroom and I was alone. For most of my life I’ve always slept with a white noise machine by my bed. She has never liked it and for some reason I decided to leave it off. After about 15 minutes I heard a cough-like noise from the living room. I debated whether I should go check on her but I didn’t want to upset her. I went to check on her and she sounded somewhat groggy. She said she had only taken a sleeping pill earlier. I kissed her forehead and noticed that she was slightly sweaty. I went back to bed but left the bedroom door open. After about 10-15 minutes I heard another noise and was really confused as to what to do. Everything in me said don’t bother her. I stayed in bed for a few minutes but something told me to go check.
When I went to her in the recliner, her mouth was slightly frothy and her speech was slurred. I kept asking her what she did and she said something about taking pills and the counter. I went to the bedroom and couldn’t find anything, but when I came out she was trying to walk to the kitchen. She was stumbling really bad and I rushed to her, but she basically went limp in my arms and we both fell on the kitchen floor. She pointed to the kitchen counter where I found a note and a bag with a lot of empty pill bottles. I’m sure I screamed but somehow, I held it together and immediately called 911, it took forever for them to arrive and get her loaded.
When the ambulance left with her the sheriff had some questions for me. I left about 10 minutes later and soon caught up to the ambulance without their lights flashing. I still didn’t know how many pills she took and how serious this was. The lack of lights made me think that maybe she was dead.
Once I made it to the ER things became a blur, trying to call people, texting, and answering questions. Our friend, Nicole, showed up around 5 when they had just moved Terri to the ICU. We were in the room when they were attending to her and asking me about her medical history. I heard a commotion at her bed and the nurse started asking me if she was a DNR (do not resuscitate). I heard several alarms and the nurse was yelling if she was a DNR because she was about to code. I remember looking at Nicole with tears in both our eyes not knowing what to do. I felt completely lost. I finally said she was not a DNR and to save her while they were getting the board and paddles ready to shock her if needed. Somehow, she stabilized, and they began giving medicines to reverse the drugs she took. I remember at one point in this whole journey where she was hooked to at least 10 IV machines.
Throughout the day it was a flood of questions, calls, texts, tears, and visitors. My parents came back from their vacation with their RV to our place and were waiting for me when I finally got home. I remember both of them meeting me in the yard hugging and crying and me almost collapsing in their arms. I remember trying to say “why” but my crying made it almost impossible. I felt like a heart broken child needing his parents to make everything better.
That night, I started calling and texting more friends to let them know what happened. I left a voice mail on one of our friend’s phone telling her what was going on. About a minute later I got a text from the number I had just called. It said that I had the wrong number and that she would add Terri to her church’s prayer list. Somehow, I still had a few more tears left and thanked her. It made me think that there were still good people in the world.
The next day, Friday, was spent meeting specialists and getting informed of Poison Control’s recommendations, they determined she swallowed 800-1000 pills. Early Saturday morning Terri’s brother, Brad, called to say she was awake and wanted her glasses. I rushed to get the hospital hoping to hear that everything was a mistake and that she was sorry. When I got to her she was still on the ventilator and all she said to me was that “it didn’t work.” I was crushed. I didn’t realize that she was still very intoxicated from all the medications. Turns out, she doesn’t remember any of this, but at the time this just added to my confusion. Sunday, her oxygen saturations started to drop to dangerous levels. I remember just staring at the monitor praying and thinking that the next reading would start to increase. Her level got to a lowest reading of 42%. The doctors and nurses were starting to inform me that she would most likely have some sort of brain damage. The doctors wouldn’t really talk of any future conditions. During all of this her pancreas and kidneys started shutting down. Around 1 or 2 that day they told me to get anyone to the hospital that wanted to say their goodbyes because it wasn’t looking good. I remember holding her hand and begging her to keep fighting. That evening her readings started to return to acceptable levels. My nerves were shot.
When I got to the hospital Monday morning the nurses were looking into getting her transferred to the Houston Med Center. The day was spent wrestling with insurance and finding a hospital that would take her. The nurses never gave up and fought to finally get her to Memorial Hermann in the Medical Center in Houston. Lifeflight came that night and everyone was anxious to see how she would handle moving her to the stretcher. A couple of times during the day she almost coded when the nurses tried to move her in the bed. It took an hour to get her from her bed to the helicopter while we waited near the landing zone. When they took off, we raced to get to Houston to see what would happen next. When we got there, they had her settled in, we answered their questions, and they showed us the waiting room. Since this was part of the original old hospital the rooms were much smaller than what we have now. There was no way we could have slept in the waiting room, so we went to find another space. This was about 11 at night and we were exhausted. I made the mistake of asking a security guard if there was another waiting room we could sleep in. He basically yelled at us about how this wasn’t a hotel and we’d have to leave. So, me and Terri’s nephew, Kevin, found a hotel and got a few hours sleep.
The next 7 days were a flurry of activity. The protocol was to slowly wean her off the IV meds that were keeping her alive and to slowly get her to breath more on her own. They also started her on a feeding tube to keep her digestive system functioning. My decision to do this was questioned by some but the doctors assured this wouldn’t be the main thing keeping her alive. I now see that if you weren’t in my shoes at the time it’s easy to question decisions. But at the time it was a burden I didn’t need. While all of this was going on, my family was spending everyday cleaning our house and one day they found Terri’s will. I was worried that I had done something that went against her wishes. Remember, at this point, I still thought she wanted a divorce. Something told me I was doing the right thing. When I got her will to the charge nurse and the doctors, they couldn’t find anything that I hadn’t followed. I was relieved. There were lots of setbacks and scares. One evening they were going to install a main line into her jugular vein. I went back to her room and saw a nurse holding her fingers on Terri’s neck and blood everywhere. They ushered me away and later told me the doctor had cut her carotid artery and they were taking her to surgery to repair it. My nerves were so shot by then that it didn’t really register with me how serious that was.
My days were pretty much the same. My parents brought our RV to a park not far from the light rail system that dropped me off right in front of the hospital. I would get to the hospital and check in with the nurses and see what changes had occurred. I think part of my coping mechanism was to immerse myself in the information. I had learned the settings and readings of the ventilator and what meds and dosage rates they were giving her. I would spend the day sitting with her, talking with the nurses, sitting in the hallway, getting coffee, and waiting for any changes. Terri’s brothers were there which helped a great deal. At the end of the day, I would take the train back and then drive to my trailer. I was exhausted but I would eat, try to update friends through texts or calls, and try to sleep. Before bed and sometimes in the middle of the night I would call the ICU to get any updates. I had also found the chapel and would go there almost every day to pray. It became something I looked forward to. The quiet and the lack of machines and alarms was something I needed. I also began praying some Holy Novenas and hearing of all the stories of others that were praying for her. A friend from high school, Rhonda Fowler Gruenewald, who was very involved in the Catholic faith helped a great deal and at one point had 10 Holy priests praying for her simultaneously. Terri’s brother Brad had the entire Diocese of Baton Rouge praying for her along with a Facebook page set up for friends and family to pray.
On October 12 they had decided to try to extubate. This was the day that I was looking forward to and also dreading. Deep down I knew Terri would never want to live life in a highly compromised state. They had performed a brain scan and said there was no visible damage from the drugs or the lack of oxygen. We were all on edge as they pulled the tube from her mouth while she coughed and gagged. She began to breath on her own and try to talk. The nurses wanted her to remain calm and quiet but I was able to tell that I loved her. Her eyes looked lost as she constantly looked around with all the commotion and sounds everywhere. We left her alone to try to rest but I would sneak to the edge of her door to watch her. I was so relieved but still worried. I had been told about ICU psychosis from the patient constantly being aware of all the sounds and actions all around her. They said it could take a few days for her mind to start making sense and sounding normal. She talked a lot of nonsense for several days, it was scary.
After another day or so, she had stabilized enough to be moved to a medium level ICU unit. I finally asked her if she remembered anything or if she still wanted a divorce. She said that she didn’t to both questions but still had a lost look in her eyes, she didn’t know what was going on. She was moved to a regular room and around day 6 or 7 she started to speak and think clearly. The next obstacle was get her kidneys back to functioning normal, monitor her pancreas, and work on getting her strength back. In 19 days she had lost 47 pounds and was so weak she couldn’t even sit upright in a chair without being strapped to it.
At this time was when I started to become stir crazy. Throughout this whole process I had been making decisions almost hourly and everything now seemed to shift to a wait and watch. We had friends and family that would come during the day to stay with her while I could get away. A couple of times I drove the 1 ½ hour drive home to do laundry and mow the grass. Mind numbing activity was what I was after. I still felt guilty for leaving her side and I looked forward to getting back to her.
After about 7 days, she was transferred to a rehab facility that could do dialysis. The quality of care was very different from the Medical Center. I stayed with her in the room but was becoming more restless with long days of just sitting. She couldn’t be left alone because she couldn’t do anything for herself and the staff there was not going to help her. Brad stayed with here several days and so did friends so that I could go home. She could tell how I was feeling and constantly apologized, she really didn’t understand what had happened. I was starting to randomly cry from just thinking about what had just happened. She couldn’t understand why I was crying and not happy that she was alive. I was happy but just confused at everything. My hands had also started to randomly shake. It got to the point where it was very noticeable and I started to feed myself differently.
Her kidneys started to improve to the point where dialysis wasn’t necessary anymore. She was then transferred to TIRR in The Woodlands and was like night and day compared to the previous facility. It was clean, the staff was professional, and their program was top notch. She spent most of her day doing various physical therapy exercises and I could only come visit in the evening and night. In about 2 weeks she went from only being able to walk a few feet with help to about 300 feet without stopping. On November 29 she graduated from TIRR and got to ring the bell.
We got to go home to a freshly cleaned and organized house thanks to my family and could finally relax. I helped her with her walks and therapy while trying to still make sense of it all. Inside, I was thrilled that she was alive and still loved me, but on the outside I was depressed much of the time. Anything that was a reminder of the hospital could trigger me to start crying; songs, sounds, words, or thoughts. Mindless work outside helped to keep my mind steady, but Terri thought I was avoiding her. I’ve always been skeptical of counseling and figured I could get through this. I felt as though only I could really understand what I experienced. I did reach out to someone who had experienced a traumatic event but never heard back.
With time, things for me have gotten better. I do still cry sometime when I think back of what it all felt like and the thought of losing her. The shaking issue with my hands has pretty much gotten back to normal. Sounds and images can still bother me. This past year, my best friend’s daughter was in a car accident. At the ER she was being monitored for her vitals and the same sounds and appearance brought back all the days of staring at the same monitor praying for a miracle. When Terri was able to walk better we went back to the hospital in Huntsville and Houston, so she could thank them, they were all shocked to see her. I knew it would be hard. Everything affected me, the smells, the sound of the doors opening and closing, the long hallways, and seeing the room she was in with the same monitor on the wall.
I’m grateful to have Terri back better than ever. I try to live every day differently than before. I’m not comfortable being away from her and I still worry more than I did in the past. Overall, I’m doing better, but it’ll take more time. Our feelings for each other are stronger than ever before and I finally have the wife I’ve always dreamed of. I love her.
Since posting, I’ve thought of things that I forgot to include.
Terri’s survival has more to do with God than I indicated. Over the last year, we’ve gone through the details hundreds of times. Not long after she was home I let her read all my texts that contained daily details of her condition. We needed to do this so she could know what happened and I still had it in my memory. We’ve counted at least 7 times that she should have died. From the early situation at Huntsville where she started to code to a time in dialysis where she wasn’t being watched and her blood pressure started to drop very low. She only had enough energy to barely speak so the only person to hear her was the patient in the bed next to her, who yelled for help. The nurses rushed over, tilted her bed head-side down, stopped the dialysis and gave her a lot of fluids to raise her blood pressure.
There were several doctors and nurses that said that there was no real medical explanation for her to be alive much less to return to a normal life. That it could only be God’s intervention that saved her.
I found out when we returned to Huntsville ICU to visit the nurses that at one point they had contacted Life Gift. This is the organization that handles organ donations. When I heard this I was shocked. While this was happening, I knew things were bad and things might not turn out good. Somehow, I kept this thought from consuming me. I had my times. But when you hear that organ donations were being discussed, this shows you how close it was.
All of this was the worst experience anyone could imagine. The fear, stress, worry, anger, and shock amazes me that I survived. It did prove to me that nothing is impossible and miracles do happen.
A Year of Recovery and growth. After all of this and I am amazed at my recovery. Amazed of God’s Miracles and Grace. I’m so Grateful to be delivered from my suffering. So Very Thankful to be alive and well.
Looking back at photos of myself in the weeks before the attempt and I just didn’t look right, wild eyed and tired at the same time. I was in another place, somewhere outside of myself. I am still having a real hard time believing all of this happened. I just can’t make a connection to any of it. I am well now, healed, no longer have any depression or anxiety and that is the true miracle. It’s like starting over, back to toddler, learning, growing and improving every day. I have forgiven my mother, you can’t imagine how wonderful true forgiveness feels and how freeing forgiveness really is.
Reading and re-reading every word of all the support posts from my amazing family, friends and even strangers, overwhelms me with love. Before, my definition of love was skewed, now I truly understand love from God, Thomas, my brothers, dear family and precious friends.
Hospitalization for 56 days makes you weak, very weak, ridiculously weak. The last few weeks of the hospitalization I was at TIRR inpatient rehab for therapy. They took me from a limp noodle to an undercooked noodle. When I left there, I could walk to the bathroom without a walker and that seemed like finishing a marathon.
When I arrived at TIRR the ambulance crew wanted me to transfer myself from the stretcher to the bed. Of course, they did, I looked young enough to be able to at least move to the bed, I could not. The guys looked puzzled but helped me. Exhausted from the ambulance ride, rest was all I wanted. At TIRR therapy starts right away, no rest for me. Each of the therapists PT/OT/ST came to evaluate me. Let’s say I didn’t do very well. They assured me that I would get stronger, it really was hard to believe.
Initially I was only allowed to transfer to a bedside commode with assistance from either Thomas or the staff. When I was in the room they would set the bed alarm so if I tried to get up on my own everyone within ear shot would know. I suppose when suicide attempt is mentioned, many people assume you are not trustworthy. I was so determined to get stronger and go home that I wasn’t going to do ANYTHING that wasn’t supposed to do. Because of the weakness I was terrified to fall.
Every day we did 3 hours of therapy, not consecutive but 3 hours throughout the day. For most of the time I did a lot of resting and not much therapy. My blood pressure would drop every time I changed positions or tried to stand making progress very slow, but we did make progress every day. We started with sitting and lying exercises, lifting my arms and legs a few times and that’s about all I could do. They told me that my body had fought so hard to survive, it burned up all my muscle, that is not an exaggeration.
As the days passed we went from sitting exercises to walking a few steps, riding the exercise bike for a few minutes. We did music therapy, learned to play a song on the guitar (a very easy song). We cooked in the therapy kitchen, me and 2 ladies chopped and stirred and somehow put together a casserole for lunch. One day the therapist walked me from the rehab department to the outside sitting area. It took more than an hour to get there because we had to stop and sit in the wheelchair she was pushing behind me every few minutes, but we made it. Thomas came to visit the next day and didn’t really believe we went that far, so we did it again, this time it took just under an hour… Progress. I always did everything they told me to do, because I was determined to be well. The therapists even said they were impressed with my never quit attitude and lack of complaining. Thanksgiving in the hospital, I’ve never been more thankful than to eat yucky turkey and stuffing. My strength improved enough so that I was allowed to walk to the bathroom from my bed without help, then I was safe enough to go home… YAYYYYYYYYYYYY… Nov 29th I was able to go home and start my life over again with Thomas, we were both so happy. They had a graduation ceremony for me, I rang the bell and walked down the aisle, pure joy.
We arrived home, getting in the house was a big effort, the dogs were sooo happy to see me they each knew I wasn’t well or strong enough to play. They were very gentle with me. The therapists told me my best exercise would be walking, so we started to walk. Thomas would carry a chair and we started down the driveway, stopping to rest when we needed, after a while we made it all the way to the mailbox (at our house that is ¼ mile). Hindsight, that was too far. After that day I was exhausted and couldn’t do anything for about a week, so we started back but not as far. There were also weight and other exercises for me to do, more and more each day. We got the little bike pedals that sit on the floor and I would pedal while watching TV. Rehab at home, TIRR set me up for outpatient therapy after discharge but our Insurance didn’t cover much so we opted for doing it ourselves at home. I walked with a walker then a cane then on my own, I walked, and I walked, and I walked.
As I was getting Stronger, Thomas was falling apart. This has hurt him deeply. He has said, during the hospitalization when everything was emergent, and things were changing all the time, his mind was occupied, now that the urgent part was over, he has had time with his thoughts and they are very traumatic and scary. He nearly lost me several times. I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for all the trauma I’ve caused him and everyone. Thomas has also improved over this year, he is stronger, and we are stronger.
Christmas 2016, our Christmas gift came from God. He gave me life and joy. We were able to go to the Christmas Eve Celebration at church, it was Beautiful.
For the 1st few months I had to use the electric carts at the grocery. That is not as fun as it looks. The batteries don’t last and when they stop, they stop, so you’re at the mercy of good Samaritans to help you get to the checkout. Please plug those things in when you’re done.
In June we traveled to Atlanta Texas to meet my sister Judy and her beautiful family. It was Amazing, she is the nicest person and we talked like we have known each other forever. She told me a lot about my dad I never knew and we looked at sooooo many pictures, it was WONDERFUL.
As a nurse I know it takes 5 days of recovery for every day spent in the hospital. Man is that right, it sounds unbelievable that it would take 280 days to get back to full strength, but it absolutely did. My 1st goal was to be back to normal by the end of May, NOPE. Then I added 2 months and thought I would be back to normal by the end of July, not quite. I worked harder and was back to full strength the end of August, 5 days short of the 280 days.
Over this year my faith has grown, my love for God has grown and I am reading and learning every day to keep my faith growing. In September we celebrated my 50th Birthday. What a blessing it is to be 50. October 28th, 2017. We renewed our vows in a beautiful ceremony at our place with all of our friends and family in attendance. It was magical. I felt like a blushing bride. It was an amazing expression of love and commitment. We wrote our own vows. It was so emotional. Lots of tears, happy tears.
I am so thankful that Thomas is my Husband, these are some of his words to me:
“I tried to stay strong and steady to show you the level of my love for you. As you’ve improved, I’ve admired your strong will and dedication to your recovery. I’ve also felt your love for me become stronger than ever before while we’ve grown closer. Now, I feel that I’ve been the one that’s blessed because you’re in my life. You are truly my miracle. You’ve shown me that anything is possible with faith and hope. Your strength and determination has taught me to always keep trying and not to give up.”
And these are some of my vows to Thomas:
“Thomas… You are the proof that God answers prayers. Before… I felt like every choice I ever made…led me to you…. But now I know that God led me to you… So that you could save me. How do I honor the one who is literally… the reason that I am Alive? Thomas… You are my Husband… a lot of people have those… You are also my Hero… hardly anyone has that… and I am FOREVER GREATFUL… Without your constant dedication and determination… I would not be here… and this day would not be happening… You stood strong and had to make unimaginable decisions about my living or dying… You believed in me and in us… and you never gave up… Even when it looked like you should.”
I’ve spent this whole year trying to understand what happened. All that is certain is that God saved me, why I don’t know. This gives me purpose and I am determined to find a way to help people that might be in the same situation and family members of those who didn’t make it.
I fully understand that there are some people who are bothered by the fact that this all began with a suicide attempt. I can’t help that, and I can’t worry about that. I’ve said before and I will say again, before all this happened my somewhat educated mind wouldn’t have believed this.
I really can’t make any connection to the suicide attempt. Thomas will ask me if I remember something about our trip the month before and I don’t. I really do not remember any of the week before the attempt, except for trying to help a friend. I do not remember any of the day of the attempt, nothing, and I do not remember swallowing all those pills. It wasn’t me who did all those things. It’s very frustrating not to have any recollection at all, but it’s also a blessing. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of any of it. I don’t have any bad feelings toward it, I don’t try to hide it. I don’t have any uneasy feelings when suicide is mentioned or discussed in front of me. It really is like it didn’t happen to me.