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A Life, Frame by Frame

Entering the Middle World

By Tina D'AngeloPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 6 min read
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A Life, Frame by Frame
Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

About twenty years ago I developed a severe blood infection. My husband had just flown out to California for his company, leaving me at home with our two teenage kids in Upstate New York. I had spent the night with Bob in a hotel near the airport for a proper goodbye, as he was to be gone for a month.

Already feeling sick and dizzy, I drove home from the airport hotel and made an appointment with my local doctor to find out if I had a kidney infection. The doctor took me right away and the NP who examined me held my urine sample up to the light and said, "Pfft. Looks fine to me. You're just fat. Lose some weight." She did, however, prescribe a mild antibiotic to be picked up on my way home.

I almost fell off the examining table as I tried to get up. The dizziness was so intense I don't know how this educated professional didn't notice that her patient was getting ready to pass out on her clean, white tile floor. She dismissed me with an annoyed wave of her hand and I wobbled out to my car. With black spots dancing before my eyes, I tried to insert the key into the ignition. After several unsuccessful tries the vehicle purred to life and I zig-zagged my way to the drug store and the five miles home.

Thankfully, my nine-teen-year-old son was home at the time when the antibiotic pill my NP had prescribed came back up all over my bedroom floor. Nothing would stay down, water, kool-aid, or Jello, nothing. I became worried about getting dehydrated, so I asked my son to drive me to the emergency room in the next town, so they could put an IV in me.

That's when he became concerned and called my husband to tell him I had asked for a needle to be stuck in my arm. Things had just gotten serious. I was terrified of needles and generally ran out of the doctors' offices when presented with that option, in any form. This began a chain of supernatural events on opposite edges of our continent.

I remember hanging my head out of the window on my side of the car, like a happy puppy with tongue lolling, as we drove the ten miles to the hospital. When we arrived at the waiting room of the emergency room I promptly passed out. Fortunately, no one else was injured but it sure got their attention. I was immediately tossed into a wheelchair and rolled to an examining room where I got my fondest wish, an IV needle was slipped into a vein in my hand and I passed out again.

How they did it was a mystery to me but they got a urine sample without my help and then took a blood sample, also without my help. As it turned out I had a severe kidney infection that had spread to my bloodstream. They added Cipro and another strong antibiotic to my IV bag. For the rest of that day, I was in and out of consciousness, waking up only when a nurse would come by to check my pulse and peel back my eyelids.

By that evening I was shivering and begging for more blankets but the monsters denied my request and instead began laying ice packs on my chest. Thanks a lot.

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, my husband was trying to weave his way in and out of Los Angeles traffic to find the airport. Being totally out of his element it was a miracle he found the place. Not having a pre-purchased ticket presented another problem for him after he finally reached the terminal.

Miraculously, a disheveled, older gentleman appeared at my husband's shoulder and asked if he needed assistance. Oh, boy, did he ever! Bob explained that he had just arrived in LA the day before on a business trip when his son called to tell him his wife had been rushed to the hospital and was in critical condition. He had to get home to Upstate New York quickly as possible. His "Angel" in a wrinkled shirt and tie pushed him past the line of irritated passengers with tickets and demanded room be made on a plane for this man.

Somehow, this paunchy, old fellow with gray hair sticking out all over his head wielded some sort of power at the ticket counter, because shortly after he had pushed Bob through the line, they were running down the moving walkway together to board a plane that was being held for an emergency passenger, my husband. He had to carry on all his luggage because there was no time left to check it. After depositing my husband at the correct gate the Angel simply disappeared. Bob didn't see him leave and couldn't see where he was headed after dropping him off. He just credited God with providing an unlikely angel when he needed one, shook his head, and boarded the plane.

While my husband was flying toward me I was lying in bed imagining music being played all night. Every so often I could hear the melodies and lines from "Isn't She Lovely", and "What a Wonderful World", drifting ethereally into my ears. Over and over again, all night long these magical tunes kept me from drifting away as I concentrated on their lyrics to hold spirit to body.

At some point during that night a film reel began playing in my mind, sort of hovering over my fevered body. I saw arguments with my little sister and saw myself making attempts to mend fences with her. I saw the son I had given up for adoption, all grown up, approaching me in a fog, with arms outstretched. The birth of my second son and my daughter were playing in the frames with my husband running alongside the hospital gurney, holding my hand in his. Bit by bit my life unfolded in clearly defined movie frames above my head, pulling a torrent of tears from my eyes.

I drifted further into the in-between world, teetering between taking another breath or giving up. The space only the nearly dead are familiar with. A peace came over me as I realized nothing I could do would change the outcome of that night. Something that had escaped me during my short time on Earth up until that point. All life was in God's hands. We can't control the next day, hour, or minute of our lives and I heard God's voice clearly say, "Rest. I'm in charge," and I fell into His hands, grateful for his presence.

When I awoke the next morning the fever had subsided to a mere 103 degrees and my husband, weary and red-faced, was sitting near my bed with my hand in his, tears staining his face. I had survived. He had survived. We both made it with a little help from God and his rumpled Airport angel.

Oh, and the music I thought I imagined in my delusions? They had put me in the maternity ward and every time a girl was born they played, "Isn't She Lovely", and when a boy was born they played, "It's a Wonderful World". Apparently, more people arrived in the world that night than left it.

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About the Creator

Tina D'Angelo

G-Is for String is now available in Ebook, paperback and audiobook by Audible!

https://a.co/d/iRG3xQi

G-Is for String: Oh, Canada! and Save One Bullet are also available on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback.

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Comments (3)

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  • Naomi Gold10 months ago

    That’s a wild story, and also very sweet. I believe some people act as angels. How amazing that one helped your husband get to you. It’s strange that they’d put you in the maternity ward, and even stranger that they kept playing those songs—but hey, at least they kept you alive.

  • Leslie Writes10 months ago

    This is incredible! Im glad you survived! Your descriptions are so vivid and compelling.

  • Mark Gagnon10 months ago

    That was quite an adventure for you and your husband as well as your son. The NP needs to go back to school for some empathy training as well as basic medicine.

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