The Intensive Care Experience Part 2

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

Continued from The Intensive Care Experience Part 1

Intensive Care Experience

Climbing into the ambulance with legs as heavy as concrete blocks, I sat crying in the front seat. The paramedics’ radio rattled with other emergencies, but the sounds coming from the back of the ambulance had all my attention. Muffled voices talking of blood pressure, heart rate, and using words that I did not understand. My brain was trying desperately to cope with the fact that I was in an ambulance with my daughter.

I had no choice but to sit, staring out the window. I began to sob. Looking down into my open purse, I saw my cell phone. I knew I needed to call people. Finding the phone number for my brother-in-law, I spoke to him for a few moments and then hung up only to continue crying. I knew between him and my mother that everyone in the family would be contacted. It is a comfort to have dependable family members.

I felt so helpless.

Wiping my eyes, I dialed Alyssa’s school counselor followed by a call to my boss at work. After each call, I stared out the window, sobbed and rung my hands. The helpless, terror filled my whole body, totally blocking most of my rational thoughts. The paramedic driving the ambulance was silent. The cars around us continued on their journey – some of them moved out of the path of the ambulance and some of them didn’t act like an ambulance was on the road at all. It hit me then that this was one of those moments that the world should stop! My world felt as though it was falling apart, so how could people keep on living as if everything was fine?!

I knew there was one phone call left to make before we arrived at the hospital.

“Well, Good Morning,” Alyssa’s father, my ex-husband, said cheerfully.

“Something terrible has happened,” I managed to blurt out between sobs. “Our daughter is in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. You need to get here.”

The conversation continued with both of us in disbelief and terrorized at the thought of losing our only child. There was nothing I could say to make the situation better. It was all feeling very surreal and I just wanted to wake up from the nightmare.

Upon entering the hospital emergency room, it became chaotic. Nurses, doctors, questions, tubes, machines, and all the answers given to me were things I didn’t want to here:

“We will have to wait and see…”

“We don’t know…”

“Some people are allergic and the mixture of these regular medications for a teenager can be lethal…”

“You should call your clergy if you are religious…”

When I heard that last statement, I felt faint and had to sit down. The gravity of the whole experience was overwhelming me and I couldn’t stand the pain associated with possibly losing my only child.

Meanwhile, my family arrived at the hospital in complete disbelief. We were all traumatized and I don’t remember anything I said to them. The prevailing thought in my head was that I needed to be careful and not upset anyone.

Alyssa is a bubbly, happy person who can brighten the room when she enters. Everyone enjoys being with her and she can relate with old and young alike. She is also full of an energy and excitement that has always been contagious in our family. This tragedy just couldn’t be happening to her!

After a short stay in the emergency room, Alyssa was moved to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) where I learned the sad and frightening details of the effect that these regularly prescribed drugs were having on her small, petite body.

In silence I watched her motionless body laying in the bed as she was rolled to the PICU. I did not feel that I was in my body any longer.

I couldn’t think.

I couldn’t remember.

I couldn’t feel anything except frightened sadness.

My thoughts were constantly vacillating between “What is going to happen to my Alyssa?” to “Please Heavenly Father, don’t take her from me.” I couldn’t even put the thought of “not my will, but thine be done” in my begging plea because I wanted her to live even if it wasn’t the will of God.

As the elevator lifted towards the correct floor, I thought of my husband. Tom hasn’t had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. Three of his children (from an earlier marriage) have passed away at different times…A son at six months (SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome); a son who was eighteen years old (fell asleep at the wheel while driving home); and a daughter who lived only seven days and never left the NICU due to a Congenital Heart Defect. I do not and did not understand how Tom was able to cope with the loss of three children. How did he continue to live a normal life?

I was flailing in dark pain as my daughter hung onto life by only a thread and death kept looming closer and closer.

Nobody could help me.

I was drowning in sorrow.

Continued to The Intensive Care Experience Part 3

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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Teresa Wilkinson 1984 June 24, 2010 at 12:17 am

I can still feel all of your pain, and this hurts you so much to write it and relive it. Is it helping you to get it out? Is it theraputic? I know I write about painful terrible things all the time trying to let them go, but are you okay to do this so soon?

Just worried about you.


2 Trac~ June 24, 2010 at 12:26 am

Oh my goodness! I am praying for you and your family that Alyssa is okay. I'm so sorry and hope everything works out okay. I look forward to more of the story as I too have a teenage daughter who takes meds sometimes and I'm always afraid of what they will do to her tiny body. BIG HUGS!


3 Angie June 24, 2010 at 1:34 am

This is a mother's worst nightmare! Praying for y'all


4 Jennifer June 24, 2010 at 2:55 am

I've been reading your blog for awhile, so I do know how this all ends, but I am glad you are sharing the story with it. It is well-written and absolutely relatable to a parent. One day after my daughter was born seemingly healthy and a good size (8lbs 12 oz) she started having seizures and was whisked to the NICU away from me and knocked out so they could figure out what was going on. I watched helplessly for two days until they told me that they were sending her by ambulance to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and then watched another day and a half while noone gave us any answers. We had no idea if she was going to live or die either. We finally got our answers- she had a stroke and was going to live- and were able to move on. In reality, it was only a few days, but they were the longest of my life and I remember not being able to pull myself together and stop myself from crying. You have inspired me. I need to blog about it one day.


5 Helen June 24, 2010 at 2:56 am

This is an awful experience. I'll be praying for your Alyssa.


6 PJ June 24, 2010 at 3:40 am

Hey Gal! Have you become a phantom? I can't find you! LOL!

God Bless!



7 Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike June 24, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks so much for sharing your story. It sounds like a horrible ordeal.


8 Oh Sew Good June 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

As a mother of an only-child myself, I still can't imagine the fear. You don't want to get me started on what I think of medications and doctors who push them.


9 Teresha@Marlie and Me June 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

My heart is breaking for you! No parent should have to suffer the near death or death of her/his child.


10 misssrobin June 25, 2010 at 5:26 am

So honest. So much pain and fear.

Every parent's worst nightmare.


11 Chip January 31, 2015 at 7:10 am

Writing can be both therapeutic and emotionally comforting.
Reading of your experiences inspires.
Keep a pen on the paper, it’s good for us all.


12 Sherry Riter February 6, 2015 at 6:07 am

Thank you so much Chip. I’m so happy that you found it inspirational!!! 🙂


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