It was Thursday morning. Around 8am I got a phone call from Hannah.
She was out of breath and I could barely understand her. After I interrupted to make sure she wasn't having a seizure or too low, she slowed down and I got a better idea of what was going on. She had left her phone on the bus and was barely able to chase it down to get it to stop so she could get her phone back. She was super upset that she might have lost her phone forever (not that big a deal really), and she was in pain from panting in that frigid cold air. The wind chill was just under 0 that morning and she felt like her lungs were bleeding she said.
She mentioned getting some coffee and I told her I thought that would be a great idea. I told her to take the lid off and breath in the steam until she felt better. I thought about telling her to take a pill she takes sometimes to stave off seizures, but I only barely thought of it so I didn't say anything. This is foreshadowing. We hung up so she could get off to her class and I could get back to my business.
Not long after that, I got another call from her, but when I answered I got nothing. Just rustling. I was a little worried. Was something wrong or did she pocket dial me? I stayed on the phone to try to make out anything in the background, but I could hear nothing. I kept shouting her name hoping she'd hear me. Eventually there she was. Nevermind she said. She had it under control. She had to get to class.
Turns out she hung up because the EMTs were there checking her out. Of course the stress (physical and emotional) had caused her to have some little seizures. She jerked and spilled her coffee all over her coat and her hair. She jerked some more and so she sat down in a nearby chair. More jerking and dropping her coffee on the ground. She was approached by a campus security guard.
He asked if there was a problem and she explained to him that she was epileptic and having some jerks, but she'd be ok. She just needed to get a pill from her bag. She was trying to convince him she was fine, but he wasn't buying it. Apparently he called EMS. Later, still in a kind of post seizure stupor, she told me "I guess that was the siren I heard..." It was the fire department. The checked her vital signs, checked her blood sugar. She told them she needed her pill and they dug around in her bag for it. She told them it was in an altoid tin. First they pulled out her gum. Not it, she said. They found the right tin, but tried to give her a naproxen. "That's naproxen." she said. Finally the found it and gave it to her. But they were worried. Her blood sugar was high (she had just eaten and was drinking a cafe mocha). They wanted her to go to the hospital. They kept trying to convince her. "It's just down the road," they told her. But she kept refusing. "I've been doing this since 6th grade." she told them. Eventually she stopped jerking and they had her sign a paper refusing the hospital after they warned her the results could be death. She asked for some kind of proof they had worked on her so she wouldn't get in trouble for being late to class and they gave her a copy of one of the papers.
So she went to class. She had the teacher last semester so they already knew each other pretty well. Remember when H had to do emergency firstaidon the guy who cut off his thumb? It was in her class. So she was super sweet to Hannah and offered to let H go rest in her office. H decided just to sit in the back and work on some sketches, right after she called me to let me know what was up.
Hannah said she was annoyed that the security guy had noticed her, and especially annoyed that he had called EMS, but personally I was so relieved. It was great to know that if anything happened to her on campus she would be taken care of. Beyond relieved. So grateful. We hung up and I went back to my business.
For a couple minutes. Then I got a text.
I'm still shakey. I almost want to come home.
Do it. I texted back.
Do you want me to come get you?
Omg yes please.
So I threw on some clothes, separated the dogs and headed out. I realized I had the bad car and would have to go to Danny's office and trade for the better car, so I texted her that and that I'd be there in less than an hour. When I got to the car I realized a tire was super low on air, so instead of heading to the highway, I drove to the gas station to get some air. Thing is I didn't have an air pressure gague and I did not have time to find mine or buy a new one The one on the air machine was too cold to work. I mean it was seriously cold. I thought my hand was so frozen it was going to break off while I aired up the tire, but I held the nozzle in place and just tried to guess at the pressure by how it looked.
Ok so finally I was off to get Hannah. I was still worried she might have more seizure activity, and especially worried about her having a grand mal seizure in class. I tried to call Danny so I could tell him I had traded cars and ask him to text H to let her know I was a running a little late. The call failed. I tried again and it failed again. I looked at the phone and noticed that horrible little circle with a line through it indicating I had no signal. What? I turned off my phone and turned it back on again. Still no signal. What the what? So I turned around and headed back to Danny's office. I needed a phone, to let her know I was late and let her know when I got there. And where I was waiting since we didn't have a set pick up spot.
I rushed into Danny's office.
"It's kind of an emergency," I said. "Hannah's ok I think, but I need your phone."
He handed it over. My text to Hannah failed. I tried to call her - failed. He couldn't text or call anyone either. I tried the land line in his office and got the three annoying tones followed by the lady saying all circuts were busy. How could all circuts be busy? Was there a national emergency happening in addition to my personal one or what? We were trying different things, but I was also a little panicked because she was expecting me about 20 minutes from that point and I didn't have a way to let her know I was late. I was afraid if she got more stressed, it might cause more seizurey stuff. And I was worried that if she had a grand mal seizure and they took her to the hospital there would be no way for them to let me know.
I tried my mom, but just got a busy signal. At that point we started to think it was AT&T not working. We used Danny's land line to call our friend Leonard's land line. Danny asked him to keep trying to call Hannah to let her know we were on our way and our phones weren't working and we headed out.
Danny had decided he wanted to come along which was more than fine by me. While he stopped by the bathroom, I used his email to send a mail to Hannah hoping she'd think to check that if she figured out the phones were all down.
While we were in the car, Danny realized he could still use the data network to send Google Talk messages. Unfortunately, Hannah had that option off, but he was able to communicate with Leonard who let us know AT&T was down over several states. Perfect timing AT&T. Really really perfect.
So I'm zooming into KC and we're wondering how on earth we're going to find her once we get there. It's like the olden days before we had cell phones, or I guess like what would happen in some crazy all the phones are out kind of end times disaster. I realized I have a handful of friends who take classes on the same campus so I had Danny post on my Facebook to see if anyone was there at the moment. No one was, but several friends offered to drive there to help me if I needed it. Thank you friends, that was incredibly sweet.
Eventually we made it there, about 45 minutes late. I tried one spot where I've picked her up and dropped her off before. Danny stayed in the car and I rushed in and ran around looking for her. No luck. So we went to the next spot. Again, no girl. I asked a student working the theatre's ticket office if she could tell me where the metal smithing classroom is, and luckily she could. I decided to also ask if there's any way they can get ahold of that classroom. I tell them my story and that the phones are down. They can't, but they send me to campus security to see if they can help.
The very nice security officer (with a really big gun in his belt) remembered the report about her seizure that came through earlier and led me to a lady that I think was about to help me in some way when I got a google talk message from Danny. He had found her! She was wandering around the building, kind of dazed and trying to find a signal since no one around her had realized AT&T was down. Such. Relief! He was going to get the car, but Hannah was waiting for me by the front door.
Oh you guys, there have been very few times I was more happy to see her than at that moment. She may be almost 20 but at that moment she was just my baby. I think I'll remember turning the corner as she came in to view forever. Her white parka was covered with coffee. Her hood was up and her face was half covered with the fur of her hood and the mess of hair she had also spilled coffee all over. She was pale and she looked confused. I hugged her close before asking if she was ok.
"I feel weird," she said.
I helped her out to the car and she laid down in the back. Danny and I told her the story from our point of view and she filled us in on the details from her end as we drove home. Our phones came online just as we got back in town. Perfect timing AT&T. Down just during the 3 hours we were having a crisis.
So, all's well that ends well, right. But dang! How crazy was that morning?
Today Hannah's mostly back to normal. She was hungry and tired, and coughing a lot yesterday, but otherwise normal. It sucks to have a kid with health issues, even when that kid is mostly grown.