Christy and I got home around dinner time. Michelle and her children went home, and Christy insisted on staying until my family arrived. We knew that my mom was on her way, along with someone else to drive her.
We made dinner (pizza and vegies), straightened up, and read to children. I think that Christy did most of it. I was like a zombie.
My mom and sis Cathy arrived. Christy went home to her family. I put the children to bed. They were having a pretty good time, playing with friends all day and seeing their Grammy and aunt. I was sitting on Freddy's bottom bunk with him and explaining Seb's situation to Calvin. He just wanted the facts. (Lucie, however, wanted to know everything and ask 3,000 questions.) I remember Calvin heading up the ladder to his top bunk and saying, "So, when I grow up I'll hemorrhage somewhere and need a surgery." He was remembering that I nearly bled to death in 1999 and, putting the two together, figured that it happened to all adults. I set him straight.
A little later my sis Rosie arrived from the airport. We made a plan for the next day and went to bed. Rosie slept on the top bunk in Isabelle's room, my mom slept in the basement guest room, and poor Cathy was stuck with the sofa bed in the living room.
It took me a long, long time to fall asleep. When I am stressed I can neither eat nor sleep. I should have bought some sleeping pills, but I didn't even think of it. Sleepless nights do leave a lot of time to pray though.
At that point it was really good to have Christy with me. I was just nodding dumbly at the doc, trying not to cry. But not Christy. She used to be a journalist: "Why aren't you doing the surgery now? It isn't too late in the day. You said that it would only take three hours. What are the chances that it will bleed again before morning?"
The doc said that it was best to do brain surgery in the morning when everyone was refreshed and full of energy. He didn't think that it would bleed again because it had held for the past nine hours or so. He said that if it were his family member, he would wait for morning.
He explained the surgery. It took days before I really understood what it meant to put a clip on it. He mentioned death again before he left. That was our longest conversation. I only remember seeing him once more during the month that Seb was in the hospital under his care.
We had to wait awhile to see Seb again, so I took some time to call home. Michelle said that everything was fine there, and I gave her an update. PJ was trying to find Sebastien's brother Nick who lived here at that time; he was nowhere to be found. Michelle also said that my mom called and was on her way. I hadn't talked to anyone in my family, but I had left a message on my sis Rosie's answering machine. Based on that message, my mom headed our way. She lives six hours from us. My brother Ken and my sis Cathy both offered to drive her. Cathy ended up driving which really helped with childcare. Meanwhile, Rosie got on a plane. She lives on the East coast. It makes me choke up with tears to remember how they just dropped everything and rushed here.
Christy had called our pastor to get prayers started, and I am sure that word was going around our small town. A lot of people know Seb because he is a business owner. I am sure that many, many people were praying.
The RN in charge of Seb let us in to see him for a minute. We were at that hospital for at least eight hours and spent about five minutes with Seb. The NeuroICU is completely closed, so you can't even peek in a window to see what is going on.
He was lying in bed completely still. He was on the vent and hooked up to a few other things. He was also clothed. Christy prayed and then I stayed alone for a minute to pray on my own. After praying I knew that he wouldn't die.
I didn't want to leave, but I wasn't allowed to stay with him. And I had all of those children at home.
Christy and I made it to the hospital and went to the neuro intensive care unit. The local ER folk had told me where to go and the name of his doctor. I had never seen an ICU before. We had to wait outside the unit. We needed permission from Seb's doc or RN to enter.
A nurse came out to tell us what was going on. She was very cheerful. Too cheerful, I thought. She told us that he experienced some "changes" on the ride to the hospital. She told us that they were going to do a test to determine if there was any bleeding going on or any other leaks. She said that he was "talking gibberish". Then she cheerfully said that she needed to go put in a catheter because he was "peeing all over himself".
Christy and I got to see him first. He was unconscious, rolling around, and cursing in English. When he rolled he uncovered himself and flashed us. Christy's husband is one of my doctors and has performed surgery on me. Since he has seen me naked, I figure that Seb evened the score by flashing his wife. We left the cheerful nurse to do her job, and I remembered to tell her that the "gibberish" was probably French.
Time went by. They took him somewhere to perform a test. I don't remember what it is called, but they put dye in his vein and did a CAT scan or MRI to determine if there was any leakage. The only problem was that he wouldn't lie still. So they drugged him. A lot. Enough so that he could no longer breathe on his own. So they put him on a ventilator and kept him that way. I am pretty sure that was a drug-induced coma.
It was extremely startling to see him wheeled by us on the vent.
The doc came out after awhile to tell me what was going on. He said that the aneurysm fixed itself when the blood clotted, otherwise Seb would have been dead. Half of all people with aneurysms die immediately. He planned to do surgery in the morning to put a clip on it, so it would never happen again.
He told me that there was a great deal of blood in the brain, that it was a very, very serious aneurysm. He told me how the surgery and the blood could cause damage, even death. That doc mentioned death almost every time he spoke to me. At least he wasn't super cheerful about it.
It was a Saturday, not terribly cold yet. The young'uns were 2, 4, 6, and 8. Sebastien was 34. I was still 21; I'm 22 now.
Our normal routine on a Saturday was for Sebastien to go off into the woods early in the morning, while I took all of the children grocery shopping. We were running late that morning. I was usually gone by 8:30, and he was in the woods long before that.
On this morning Lucie wanted to join Seb in the woods. She used to love to do that and was very helpful with loading firewood. Seb was waiting for her to finish breakfast. I was making my menu plan and shopping list which was normally done by the night before. Thank God for my laziness!
Sebastien went out to load up our outdoor wood stove that heats our house and water. He came in complaining of a headache. The man never complains. He can take any pain that comes his way with barely a grimace. When he broke his wrist he only took some Tylenol so that the folks in the ER would stop pestering him.
He lay down in the living room on our sofa bed. It was still out because we had been watching movies the night before and the young'uns loved to play on it and make forts under it in the morning.
Seb complained of his head hurting and held the back of it. Then he got all weird. He started moaning and rolling around. His eyes were only half open. I asked him if he wanted me to take him to the hospital, but he was unresponsive. I am pretty sure that this is when I called 911. I also sent Calvin out to open our gate. We live in the woods and have a gate across our driveway.
It was really hard to get off of the phone with the emergency operator. I wanted to tend to Seb, who was rolling all around moaning, and get some childcare.
I finally got off of the phone. Then Seb relaxed a bit and mumbled answers to my questions. Then he vomited. Now I know that these are symptoms of an aneurysm, but at that time I had no clue.
Calvin came in and said that he couldn't open the gate. Seb was acting kind of normal at this point, just resting on the bed holding his head. I went out with Calvin to the gate. If we couldn't get the gate open, the ambulance wouldn't be able to get in. We couldn't get it open. I didn't know it at the time, but Seb had taken off the battery to charge it. That was dumb, because I would not have been able to leave to go shopping.
So, the gate was stuck closed. Calvin and I ran back to the house. The other children were playing. Seb heard the sirens and asked what that sound was. I think that those were his first coherent words. I told him the amubulance was for him and that we couldn't get the gate open. He told me that he took off the battery. He was acting normal at this point. He said that he would go put a battery in. I told him that there was no way he was walking out there, I would drive him. He thought that was stupid and then asked why the front of his clothes were wet. He couldn't remember vomiting.
I told Calvin to keep an eye on Freddy and the girls, and drove Seb out to the gate. He got out in his wet clothes to put the battery in. He had no shoes on. At that time the amubulance and at least three support vehicles drove up. I was at the gate with Seb when one of the EMT's came up to me and said, "Diane! I didn't know that it was you, Diane!" I just look at him like he was crazy and didn't respond. (Diane is a doctor in our town, and I DON'T look like her, even though many people say that I do.)
The EMT's were surprised to hear that Seb was their patient because there he was outside, standing up, acting normal. He got the gate open and the ambulance drove in. They insisted on checking him out while he was telling them that he was fine. He kept saying that he just overexerted himself. I was trying to interject so that they would ignore him. (Lifting a bit of firewood is not overexertion for a man who was building a barn all by himself out of self-milled oak.)
I couldn't stay and insist that he wasn't OK because I needed to get back to the house and the children. That was frustrating! The children were fine, so I got on the phone. I need to talk to people when I am upset and worried. I left a message for my mom and one for my sis. I called my friend Christy and talked with her for a few minutes.
Then an EMT came to the door to get some information. He said that they were taking Seb to the hospital, and I was relieved. A little bit later another EMT came to the door to apologize for calling me Diane and get some more info.
I got on the phone to find childcare. No one was home! I finally got PJ, who agreed to babysit because it was an emergency.
At the hospital I saw Seb in the ER. He was just fine except for a headache. He was acting completely normal. He said that the doc thought it was an aneurysm. Later on the ER doc showed me the CAT scan and explained it to me. After a few minutes they took Seb by ambulance to the big town nearby where there was a brain surgeon. It was a 45 minute drive. I declined to ride in the ambulance.
I got back on the phone to find childcare again. I called my friend Michelle. She was about to go to work, but immediately agreed to care for my children instead. I am sure that PJ was happy to be relieved. Michelle and her children spent the rest of the day at our house. I remember that she did the laundry while she was there.
I called Christy again and asked her to drive me to the big hospital. While I waited for her I called everyone that I thought would pray. I also called Sebastien's father. That was the only phone number of any of his family that I could remember. It took some time to explain what was going on. I also left a message with one of my family members, I think that it was my sis Rosie.
Then Christy arrived to drive me to the big hospital in her husband's big, red pick-up truck. I was really glad that I hadn't gone in the ambulance. Sebastien got weird again on the drive (which the hospital folk called "experiencing some changes"), and I really needed a friend with me.
On this day five yrs ago Sebastien's brain sprang a leak, a big leak. We are so thankful that he survived it. Tonight we are going to have a little family party to celebrate, and over the next week or so I'll post the whole story. It is actually pretty entertaining, especially from five yrs down the road when we see how it all turned out.
This morning I spent an hour with a gourmet cook trying to learn something. Cooking is her hobby and passion; she is a doctor by day. Her kitchen is huge and contains tons of everything that one needs to cook, from simple utensils to fancy machinery.
I chopped shallots with a $200 knife. I drank fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I brought home 16 cookbooks (out of 10,000 maybe??) on raw food cooking. I made many, many notes. It was interesting; I learned a lot; I was inspired.
I don't like to cook. I am doing this only to please my husband, whom I love dearly. Hmmm...what will he do to please me?
Meanwhile, back at home, Sebastien has decided that it would be a great idea to raise grubs for protein. He has taken his idea as far as planning what to feed them and starting up Grub International to replace Heifer International and feed the hungry people of the world. Anyone want to come for dinner?