The Intensive Care Experience Part 1

by Sherry Riter in Alyssa,Health,PTSD,Self-Development  

Intensive Care

Just another day, but it wasn’t normal at all.

Rushing around in the morning in preparation for my day is not one of my favorite activities. Before I leave my home, I mentally go through my list of completed tasks…pants ironed, Turtle fed, phone in my purse, breakfast eaten…

My cell phone began to ring with my mother’s ring tone, “Take Me There” by Rascal Flatts.

“Hello?” I said a bit out of breath.

“Sherry, I can’t wake up Alyssa for school. Is she always this hard to wake up in the morning?” my mother asked as if she was at her wits end.

“Mom, she has to go to school. That was the deal she made with me when I said she could spend the night.”

“But Sherry, she won’t wake up.”

I know that Alyssa can be grumpy in the morning if she is tired and I was sure she went to bed too late at Mom’s house. I didn’t want Mom’s “nice” slumber party with her to be wrecked by an unhappy morning.

“Mom, I’m on my way. Don’t worry. I’ll wake her up and take her to school when I get there.”

I didn’t feel that it was my mother’s responsibility to pry Alyssa out of the bed, so I quickly removed my “work clothes” and changed into a pair of jeans and my favorite baggie shirt. After slipping on my sneakers, I was ready to go. My husband wanted to go with me because I was acting a little erratic after I called work and asked for a vacation day. Plus, he volunteered to hold Bella, Alyssa’s puppy, on the drive back home since she spent the night too.

The ten minute drive flew by and before I knew it we were there. Walking into Mom’s home, I headed straight to the guest room. Alyssa was asleep facing the wall with her back to me. I leaned down and kissed her cheek whispering quietly in her ear, “Alyssa, it’s time to wake up and go to school.”

No response.

I sat on the edge of the bed and shook her a little bit by the shoulder the way I have done so many times before. Teenagers can really sleep like logs. Not only didn’t she respond, but her body moved…heavy.

I felt uncertainty well up inside of me. Something didn’t feel normal to me.

Turning Alyssa over and holding her by the shoulders and arms, I raised the upper part of her body from the bed saying loudly, “Alyssa, Alyssa, wake up!”

Never before had she been this hard to awaken. Something was wrong. Her face was a funny color and she was limp and heavy. Fear gripped my insides and I thought I was going to suffocate.

“Alyssa! Oh Alyssa, please wake up!” I once again said, but this time in more of a begging tone.

Then she began to have a seizure. Alyssa’s eyes rolled back and only the whites were showing. Her body, tight and stiff from the seizure shook the bed. I still held her, but slowly let her lay on the bed ensuring that she didn’t hit her head on anything.

My mind raced to remember all the proper things to do. I felt as if someone had their hand clasp around my neck cutting off all air to my lungs. Each second felt like years.

Mom ran into the room crying and frantic. I’ve never seen such pain and agony on her face. The terror in her eyes was evident in every movement of her body.

“Mom! Call 9-1-1! Hurry, Mom, call 9-1-1!” I screamed out of fear and wanting to shock her back into reality.

Mom ran out of the room crying, shaking and falling apart as she tried desperately to dial 9-1-1. It was the first time I was unable to comfort my mother and I worried that she wouldn’t be okay, but there wasn’t anything I could do at the moment.

The seizure ended. Alyssa’s eyes looked straight ahead and then her body became completely limp. No sounds escaped her now very still body. Her skin instantly became a shade of gray and her lips turned blue. I tried desperately to feel her breathing or a heartbeat, but I couldn’t feel her breathe nor find a pulse.

My mind was a chaotic mix of a million thoughts with one thought breaking through the rest and filling every molecule in my body. My child was dead! There was no movement!

“Oh God! Please don’t take my baby! Oh God! Please don’t take my baby!” I screamed with gut wrenching agony.

I couldn’t stop screaming. It felt as though someone was reaching down past my heart, grabbing everything inside of me and ripping it out through my soul. The begging, desperate screams were loud, deep and filled with aching pain.

Every cell in my body throbbed with terror.

I continued to scream over and over again with the only thought I could put into words…

“Oh God! Please help! Oh God! Please don’t take my baby! Oh God! Please don’t take my baby!”

For a minute, but it seemed like an eternity, I continued screaming the same emotion-filled, gut wrenching, begging plea to God.

Alyssa jerked slightly, her eyes closed and she took a hard, short breath. The grayness faded just a bit and her lips took on a pale tan-pink color replacing the awful shade of blue.

At this point, Mom’s neighbor, who is an RN, came into the room. She quietly and softly sat on the edge of the bed. Using my watch, she began to count Alyssa’s heartbeats. Then she stroked my child’s silky hair and just kept an air of peace and comfort in the room while we waited.

The ambulance and police arrived within five minutes of the 9-1-1 call. When they arrived, the room immediately was filled with paramedics and equipment all intent on saving my daughter’s life.

I left the room. I felt like vomiting.

I could hear the paramedics getting Alyssa’s vitals and trying to find a vein that wasn’t collapsed in her small, frail body. If her heart stopped, I couldn’t bear to watch them use the paddles in an attempt to bring her back to life again.

I realized at that moment that I was holding Alyssa’s puppy. I don’t remember picking her up, but I obviously did at some point. My memories become lost in a bit of a haze at this point. I’m not sure of the order of the following events, but I remember them happening before I left Mom’s home:

  • Giving our personal information to a police man and paramedics.
  • Mom crying and walking back and forth outside the front door.
  • The puppy incessantly barking.
  • Not being able to remember Alyssa’s social security number.
  • Looking for my purse and putting my shoes back on my feet.
  • Holding the puppy and checking that she was okay and not frightened.
  • Trying to find my cell phone, but not knowing what to do with it.

Eventually, the paramedics were able to get an IV started and carefully placed my completely unconscious daughter on a rolling cot intent on getting her safely to the hospital alive.

Continued to The Intensive Care Experience Part 2


The Redhead Riter


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FYI June 23, 2010 at 12:34 am

How scary for you all! I'm so glad God answered your call:)

How is your daughter now? I think I will do some research on seizures, realizing if that were my teen, I would not know what to do.

Thank you for sharing a very frightening, personal, and uncertain situation. God turned around and showed you with faith and your calls to him, he answers back.


2 The Redhead Riter June 23, 2010 at 12:40 am

It's too much and too emotional for me to write it all at one time, so it will be spread out over the next couple days.


3 writing4612 June 23, 2010 at 2:01 am

My cousin had 1,000 seizures a day when he was at his worst. I'm thankful that the nurse was able to be strong for your family during that time.


4 The Zany Housewife June 23, 2010 at 2:57 am

Oh geez. I don't even know what to say. I will pray for you and your daughter.

My mom is an epileptic and I spent many years of my childhood trying to watch over her. I cannot imagine how it would be to see my daughter have a seizure.

And here I was feeling sorry for myself today.

My thoughts are with you. *hugs*


5 Teresa Wilkinson 1984 June 23, 2010 at 3:15 am


I almost could not read this. Feeling your pain through out. I lost my first child in birth, and that was hard to face loosing one now as teenagers or adults I can not imagine.

My brother died in 2002. My parents quickly declined in health with grief. The just never could get over it and they were in their late 70's. The possible loss of a child is just not the way the order is suppose to be.

I feel such deep pain in your reliving this story the writing must be so difficult.

But I am taking joy and laughing in delight that my 15 year old son stands in the hallway and passes gas and says to me OH STinky! I don't care at this moment what he does I am just thankful he is here. Life is so prescious.


6 Sandra June 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

Is this story for real??? I couldn't stop crying. I'm so sorry you had to experience this. Hope she is OK.


7 Missy Schranz June 23, 2010 at 3:59 am

I am so sorry about your daughter! I will be praying for her speedy recovery. Do let us know how she is doing when you feel you can. My father has seizures and they are NOT fun to look at. I remember being in the car with him and he was driving and suddenly pulled over to the side of the road then proceeded to have a grand mal seizure right in front of me. I thought he was dead, his coloring the shade of sick grey. He is OK now, but on seizure medications.

God bless!


8 PJ June 23, 2010 at 6:02 am

Hey Gal!It was hard to read about your horrible experience, but it is a step in the right direction that you are at least able to write about it. I was home alone when my mom died ( tables turned and me being a couple of years younger than Alyssa when it happened), I STILL remember everything that happened from the time she woke me up at 4:30 am scrreaming, trying to help her out of bed, and back into bed (she didn't make it) and the ride to the hospital in the ambulance. I remember her being delirious and raising up on the gurney talking crazy, and passing away that afternoon at 2:05. It was a HORRIBLE day for me, and I know it must be a hundred times worse for a parent to lose or even come close to losing a child. Why is it that we can't remember the Fantastic times in our lives as well as we do the catastrophies?

E-mail when you get a chance, OK?

Thinking about you a lot lately.

God Bless!



9 Hannah June 23, 2010 at 6:04 am

Wow, I don't blame you for wanting to spread this out over the next few days! Just this post had me crying! I am so so happy that God answered your prayers and you still have your baby! Thank you for sharing this I can only imagine how hard it is for you to relive!


10 Juliana Matthews June 23, 2010 at 7:30 am

Sending you prayers from across the Atlantic.


11 Teresha@Marlie and Me June 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

I could only read this because I know it has a happy ending. I hope writing about the ordeal is cathartic for you. you need an emotional outlet after this traumatic experience.


12 katlupe June 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

This brought back to me the first time my son had a seizure. We were camping and I was beside myself, my brother took over for me as I didn't know what was happening or even what a seizure was. They are so scary! Your daughter's sounds much worse than my son's was. He is now 40 and is on medication for it. Praying for you and your family!


13 Angie June 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

OMGosh! How scary! I couldn't imagine being able to keep it together during something like that. You are one strong woman! God really did answer your plea.

BTW, love your blog!


14 Debbie June 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Wow! I can feel the gut wrenching emotion in your words. It was almost too painful to read. My only son spent a month in the neo-natal ward immediately after birth. We were continually told he wasn't going to make it, but God answered our prayers, too. Today he is a healthy & happy 10 year old!! I can literally feel your pain in your words!

I hope everything is okay. I can't wait to read the rest of the story!


15 Carolyn Phillips June 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Oh my, how dreadful, that must have been so sickening scary.

My daughter has apilepsy, and I still have vivid memories of her first seizure, when she was about 11 and how time seemed to drag, how ill she looked, how I thought she was dying…and that was knowing what was happening because she had recently had some petit mal seizures and we had been warned it may happen.

To see your daughter like that, with the inability to wake before and all that followed must have been….

Prayers coming from a stranger here.


16 Grandmother Crone June 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm

What a nightmare for all of you. I will be praying for Alyssa. When my daughter was five she had a seizure, I was thunderstruck. There was an RN in the apt. next to where we were staying. She did just what your RN did but I was almost catatonic. We rushed in our car to the emergency room. It was at least 15 minutes or more and she was still convulsing. The terror that grips your heart, and then feeling so helpless. . .
God bless


17 misssrobin June 25, 2010 at 5:21 am

What a horrible, horrible nightmare! My heart is racing for you.

What a beautiful sweet miracle to have the nurse show up. She tenderness and peace she carried with her radiated through your writing. And angel in your time of need, as nurses so often are.

Off to finish the story.


18 Julie @ PushingTwigs May 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

Wow…what a frightening experience. So sorry you had to go through something like this with your daughter…you sound like me. My son, when he was just a couple days old, stopped breathing. I picked up the phone to call 911 and had NO idea what to do or what to say. I think my husband and I both had a little bit of PTSD after that. Turns out he had a bit of mucous in his airway and I was able to suck it out with his little bulb syringe and he was fine, but that few seconds seemed like an eternity.


19 The Redhead Riter May 22, 2012 at 10:40 am


I’m glad you were able to solve your babies problem so quickly without too much panic.

Thank you.


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