Scary Saturday MorningApril 17, 2010 by Bill Strong I'll preface this by saying that Gwendolyn is okay, but this is a Saturday morning that we'd like to reflect on, learn from, put in perspective, and put behind us.
This morning Gwendolyn stopped breathing, turned completely blue and cold from head to toe, and was lifeless for several minutes.We deal with varying levels of life-critical emergencies on a daily basis and we've somehow grown accustomed to jumping into EMT mode and saving Gwendolyn's life. But this one was major.
Luckily, we were both at home and I screamed frantically for Victoria's help immediately. I shook Gwendolyn a bit, suctioned her, and started using the cough assist machine to get some air into her (it kind of works like CPR would -- forcing air into her lungs). Victoria was there in seconds and after several cough assist rounds we finally started to see and hear some slight signs of life. I went to get the oxygen, which we haven't used in over a year, and by the time I was back Victoria had Gwendolyn on her bipap and I could finally see some color starting to come back through her body. After a few minutes more she opened her eyes -- completely disoriented and terrified -- and once the oxygen was running through her bipap I could tell that she was starting to breathe on her own again and that I wasn't going to lose my daughter -- not on this Saturday morning.
We've seen Gwendolyn close to the edge too many times in her short two-and-a-half year life and we've saved her from varying levels of emergencies almost every day. Regardless, we live every day knowing that some second, some day, some germ, some equipment malfunction, some choke...much too soon...Gwendolyn will stop breathing and, no matter how prepared we are or what we do, it won't be enough to save her life. We dodged a huge bullet today and are really shaken up and emotional about the whole episode. But when we come out the other side of these horrifying experiences, we are acutely reminded of how fragile our time with Gwendolyn is and that the only thing that matters is cherishing every single short second that we do have left with her. As the brutal reality of SMA has forced us to learn, there are many things that are completely out of our control, but how we decide to spend the time we have with Gwendolyn is something that is completely up to us.Gwendolyn seems to be feeling a lot better this afternoon after a much needed nap and lots of additional snuggles. She's off of her oxygen and her stats are back to normal. It's truly incredible how resilient she is to what SMA puts her through. We're looking forward to walking down to the Earth Day festival and enjoying this beautiful day together as a family -- we all need each other an extra amount today.