Right after thirty-nine years of living, I was at the portal of death.
I suffered Acute Glomerolunephritis and was treated with hydrocortisone. After sixteen months I got Guillain-Barre Syndrome. In 2006, this illness was considered rare. One of its symptoms is ascending paralysis.
On the eve of August 19, 2006 I was rushed to the hospital because it became very hard for me to grasp my breath. I would not swallow food. I would not urinate and no bowel movement for five days. I would not walk. I felt severe pain all over my body. I suffered water retention [edema]. In the afternoon of the next day I was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. I asked for a priest because I felt that I needed the last sacrament “anointing of the sick”.
The following day I was disoriented of time, environment and with the people around. Three of my eight attending physicians told me to strengthen my faith in God and pray a lot. They promised to pray for me too. Then I fell in a deep sleep.
I still heard some messages from my sisters, brothers and husband. I would not see them anymore. The severe pain was always aggravated. It was the very moment that I gave up my life to the Lord.
I travelled from one place to another. Some places were the ones where I have been. Many others were new to me. I met nice people to talk with. I did not have strange feeling to the people I encountered. I felt I was just in new places. Whenever I talked with them I was always reminded of my teenage sons. Repeatedly I would hear the voice of my husband “fight for the sake of our sons, let’s go home soon”. I felt the emptiness. I was always longing to hug them. I always prayed to be given the chance. I was very hopeful.
Coma is a state of unconsciousness in which the patient does not reply to verbal stimuli, may have varying response to painful stimuli, does not move voluntarily, may have altered respiratory patterns, may have altered pupillary responses to light, and does not blink. In general, the longer the coma lasts, the more likely it is irreversible. [Black, Joyce 8th edition]
After six days of travel, I woke up. I felt I came from a very deep and long sleep. I had a feeling that I rested quite long but still in severe pain. I would not move any part of my body. The attending nurse taught me how to open my mouth and she brushed my teeth. I would not even do the close-open exercise of my fingers. I would not do the thumbs up. Lying in bed, I would not even manage to turn right nor left.
State of coma is not just sleeping in-depth nor being subconscious. Severe pain is inescapable. It would make you give up your life and be with the Lord and have a peaceful rest.
Those moments were considered as severe depression for me and my family. However, we remain steadfast in hope. We believed firmly that God will give chance to persons He loved the most. God’s intervention was always there. Friends offered spiritual support. Priests paid regular visits and prayed unceasingly.
I was then sure of something special. God always give chance to hopeful faithful.