Celebrating the day I died? A bit melodramatic? Probably. Real? Certainly.
On October 10, 2010, at 5:00 a.m., my wife received a phone call from the Intensive Care Unit of our local hospital. “Mrs. Hadden, we think you should get here as soon as possible. We don’t know if he is going to make it.”
With a scream and a scurry, my wife, along with oldest son Chris who was staying with his Mom that night, raced to the hospital, arriving just as the ‘Code Blue’ was called.
The nurse attending to me that night later told me that my heart rate and breathing began to decline in the early morning hours of that day five years ago. To quote the nurse, “Then you were gone, you went cold. That’s when I called the code.”
I had been struck down by a cold. Well, actually it started with a cold but I had been struck down by a somewhat rare neurological condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or GBS. It was something I knew nothing about and could not even pronounce when I was diagnosed.
Even after my resuscitation, I was left in a quadriplegic state. I could move nothing from my neck down. Doctors told me that I would recover and estimated the recovery time to be two years. The recovery was frustrating and too slow for me. Things I did all my life like getting out of bed, feeding myself, going to the bathroom were gone, taken from me. All sense of independence was stripped away.
I was fortunate. As swiftly as the disease had caused my ‘decline’, my recovery, fortified by a lot of work and effort, not just by me, restored my mobility. The two year recovery timeframe that was estimated became four months.
I don’t usually share much personal information but today is special. It represents for me five years of bonus time during which I have been able to walk a daughter down the aisle, see grandchildren born and grow, travel with my wife, hang out with my kids. That’s what makes family history!