Thursday afternoon, my friend, Jennifer's, youngest daughter, called to see if I could pick up her older sister from dance class in half an hour. She said her mom was not feeling well. The dance studio is not too far from my home, and I've run this errand before when Jennifer was running errands herself, or when she hasn't felt well.
I became worried, though, after picking up the dancing daughter who told me Jennifer had suddenly felt very nauseated when driving to the dance class that afternoon. She said her mom's vision was blacking out and she ran into the curb at the dance drop-off. Jennifer's husband works in Salt Lake, too far from home to get back quickly; so I told her daughter to have Jennifer call me if she needed to get to a doctor or hospital. I followed up with a text to Jennifer saying that I was worried about her symptoms and would drive her for medical attention if needed. I also asked if she wanted me to come check on her.
I did not receive a response immediately, so I kept her and her family in my prayers and figured she was getting some needed rest.
Friday morning, I carried my cell phone in my pocket during school drop-off as usual. When I was walking to my workout class a little later, I realized I had left my phone in my pocket. I always leave my phone and wedding ring at home because I don't want them getting damaged or lost while I exercise. I had remembered to take off my ring that morning, but had forgotten about the phone at that habitual moment. When I discovered the phone in my pocket, I almost turned around to leave it at home, and then thought, "I guess I'll find somewhere safe to keep it out of the hands of the little kids that run around during aerobics." In the gym, I found a ledge about seven feet off the ground and mentally noted that I would need to remember it was there before leaving.
After the first hour of weight training, the toning instructor turned off the music to swap microphones with the zumba instructor. The rest of us were running laps around the gym during the transition to the second hour of our workout. From across the gym, I could hear my cell phone ringing. I jogged over and saw that it was Jennifer's number. Her older daughter was calling to say that her dad was already at work and her mom was really sick and needed me to drive her to a doctor. I quickly gathered my things, jogged home, and drove to their house.
I found Jennifer in her nightgown covered in sweat, wheezing, and looking very ashen. As she got herself out of bed, she asked her daughter to find her wallet. Her daughter looked everywhere, with no luck. I helped the daughter on a second sweep of the house, with no results. Then I had the thought that the wallet was in the car. I told her daughter to go look there, and she found it. We packed Jennifer's purse, got a robe on her, left her daughter with some instructions, and headed out. Jennifer held a bowl on her lap, and a wad of tissues to catch any phlegm she might be able to cough up. She explained that a cold had been going through their family that week, and she thought she simply had really bad congestion from that. She had begun vomiting every hour and had a raging headache. At that point, she was so weak that she couldn't even cough much. She felt more sick than she had ever remembered being. We decided she should go to the ER.
At the hospital, they discovered that Jennifer's oxygen saturation was 25 percent. That's quite bad. They began treating for pneumonia with a variety of oxygen treatments until her skinned pinked up. After a couple hours, her oxygen was in the 90s, her headache was mostly gone, and she was finally feeling hungry. Her daughter called to find out what was happening, and I told her they thought it was pneumonia and the doctor and nurse were helping her feel much better. I also called her husband to fill him in. He decided to cut some appointments short and meet her at the hospital.
She and I visited for four hours in the hospital. She told me she wasn't too concerned about her illness, figuring it was the flu, until she received my text saying how worried I was. Her daughter asked her to call me several times, and was relieved when Jennifer finally said to go ahead. Ironically, the symptom I was most concerned about was the vision blackouts accompanied by the sudden nausea. Jennifer chuckled and said she had not had any problems with her vision. She did bump into the curb at dance class, so her daughter must have concluded that her eyes were not working. Coincidences? No.
As it turned out, Jennifer did not have pneumonia. She had a birth defect in her heart that was finally acting up and not putting oxygen into her bloodstream. As a result, her lungs had filled with fluid, which caused the pneumonia-like symptoms. She is still in the hospital, and just finished open heart surgery this evening. She is in good hands and I know through this series of non-coincidence miracles that Jennifer has angels watching over her. Let me list them one more time:
- Her daughter mentioned non-existent vision loss, which raised a flag in my mind.
- I sent a text that helped Jennfier realize the situation might be worse that she thought.
- My cell phone stayed in my pocket when it normally shouldn't have been there.
- When I would have taken the phone back home, the thought came to my mind to just keep it with me.
- Jennifer's daughter called for help at the only time during the two-hour workout that I could have heard my phone. The loud music was only turned off for a couple minutes while instructors traded the microphone.
- I heard the phone from across the gym where a dozen ladies and at least a dozen more small children were running around and being noisy.
- I knew where to find Jennifer's wallet so she could register easily at the ER. This allowed the hospital to pull a list of her medications so they could treat her carefully.
- We got Jennifer to the hospital in time. With an oxygen level of 25, she probably shouldn't have made it. When we left, the nurse told mentioned that he had never seen such a low oxygen saturation in someone who was still living.