The first thing I remember is the sensation of someone pushing so hard against my sternum I thought they were trying to get to my spine from the front. I reached up, grabbed the hand, and pushed it away with all my strength (which evidently wasn’t much, since the fist kept pushing and twisting while a voice yelled for me to open my eyes). I opened them as much as I could, and then drifted back off. A friend told me the next day that the ER doctor warned her I’d have a bruise and soreness from the strength of the sternal rub he’d used to wake me – and he was right. The next thing I heard was a different voice, a female this time, telling me I was at Baptist Hospital. I responded as adamantly as I could (which came out as a mumble), “I’m not supposed to be here.” She probably thought I meant I wasn’t supposed to be alive, but I was actually referring to the discrepancy between my health insurance coverage and the hospital I’d arrived at. I was already worried about the medical bills. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who sweats the details during life-and-death situations, and my daughter-in-law, Catherine, was already on the phone making sure I was cleared insurance-wise. Have I mentioned how much I love that girl?
Not only did I have Michael, John, and Catherine with me – Dad and Edie had driven in from an hour away and Aaron was there from two hours away. I guess I was out a while. And two of the first faces I saw and hands I held were those of Lisa and Kim, two friends who’ve been there for me through the best of times and the worst of times. Michael had grabbed my phone and taken care of business.
Once I was lucid enough to understand and respond to simple questions the doctor wanted to know what I’d taken and how much. One side effect of overdosing is evidently grumpiness, since I told him I couldn’t remember the name of the medication, but I’d left the empty bottle right by my bed – surely someone had picked it up?! Yes, they had, but he still wanted to know how many. “Half the bottle. Enough that it took me two glasses of wine to get them all down.”
There were blankets wrapped around the rails of my bed and taped in place. I kept staring at the blankets, knowing they were there for a reason but not able to remember what. It was at least a day later that I remembered that was what we did when a patient had seizures – to pad the hard bed rails.
There was a security guard stationed just outside the door of my room, watching me constantly. I didn’t even notice until shift changed and someone commented that both my security guards had been bald. I thought it was funny that I had a security guard, since I also didn’t remember that all suicide attempts get a “sitter”. One of many things I’ve known for over two decades that slipped my mind that day. The final security guard rode up in the elevator with us to a unit where they could monitor my heart rate. I’ll never forget something he said during that elevator ride. I’d smiled at something the transporter had said and the guard caught my eyes and said, “You have a nice smile. The world is a more beautiful place with you in it.”
This is the second in a series of five posts about my recent attempt to end my life. I’m sharing details and insights from my inpatient and outpatient experiences as well as my ongoing care. Please feel free to comment, but realize I reserve the right to delete anything malicious. And while Michael and I have chosen to be open about the incident I’d prefer anyone who knows my children “in real life” to respect their privacy and let them process this experience their own way, in their own time. I’ll be linking up each Wednesday to Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say.