COMATOSE

HOSPITALS SUCK

Please don’t ask me what happened…I am not sure I even know. I only know one minute I was pushing my son’s stroller down the road fighting an icy wind and the next minute I was being intubated in an ambulance. Dx: Acute respiratory failure.

They said my chances were slim, and since i have no viable family, a foster care agency set about trying to find an adoptive home for my son. I sank into a coma on February 19th, 2010.   My blood pressure was so low, I have since been told, that young interns kept a 24-hour bedside vigil to make sure I did not flatline.

(photo - j.cunningham)

I still remember all the nightmarish morphine hallucinations that plagued me for weeks after I awoke on March 17th. I could not speak, had a tube up my nose, a tube in my skull, and a big hole carved in my throat – a tracheotomy tube in place.  I was a veritable ghoul. A ghost with a pulse, albeit faint.

I did not know who I was, why I was in the hospital, how old I was, my name, how to eat, how to walk. A giant 90 lb baby with a bedpan. All I knew was that I had a baby boy and I had to find him.  And within two days of regaining consciousness, I located William James.

Where am I? Who am I? Why am I here? WHERE IS MY BABY????

I spent a month in the ICU, slowly relearning how to walk, speak, eat solid food, and breathe from a tube with the aid of machines.  I also had to relearn how to use my cell phone and iPod, and to my delight, I could text if I could not speak. I tortured many busy friends with endless rambling that month, needless to say!

I was afraid to sleep…the hallucinations were so vivid and real, and my arms were bruised, overripe bananas – but skinny networks of tangled wires and IV tubing.

SO I stayed awake for days on end, listening to all 6k + songs on my iPod and endlessly gazing at photographs of my baby boy. I willed myself to live.  And here I am.  Finally going to regain full custody of my son, I pray, on Friday…twenty pounds and a zillion doctors later. God is good. Or whatever you believe in.

Reunited for the first time after regaining consciousness. April 2010

I used to be a singer and a flautist, my pride and joy.  I will never sing or play the flute well again, save for yet another miracle.  But I can breathe, and I will keep breathing. In. Out. In. Out.

Oh, just to breathe. Oh, to hold my son again. I am so grateful I could sing about it.

But I can’t sing.

However, I have not ruled out another miracle.

Life can be like that. Just hang on.

On the way to the second to last custody hearing...

And here is my proof. The pictures above and below were taken last week.   L’chaim!!!

William James and Mommy - together again at last!

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28 Comments

Filed under diary, life, love

28 responses to “COMATOSE

  1. Ellen Fagan

    Magnificent account of a miracle, baby! & you do it justice with your amazing writing & heart.

  2. redhotdot

    Great heartbreak, tons of worry, tons of calls to Joe! You are here! You have William Max and you are awesome! I love you from the depth of my soul♥

  3. And Ellen and Dot, I love you. Thank you so very much for reading this. xoxox jc

  4. Margaret Schuerlein Lester

    You are a strong woman….driven by the love of her son. Isnt it amazing? No one really knows love, true unconditional love….until they have a child. I am happy to see those beautiful smiles in the last photo, that is the Janice I remember! I am happy to hear that you have found a home, with a yard to play in and a family to surround you both. You deserve love and happiness Janice! I am so happy that you and William have eachother. I thank God for always being there with you and watching over both of you.

    • Thank you Marg…i will always and have always treasured your friendship and am so grateful you are back in my life! The strength you see in me is but a reflection of your own. You are an awesome Mommy and a great friend! Can you believe it has been 26 YEARS! Wow. Love you much ❤ jc

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    • Christopher, CHristopher. I am honored to be your friend. You have stuck with me through good times and bad over the past decade. I am so proud of you and what you are doing with ManhattanSociety.com. From one survivor to another, I love you. JC

  6. Melissa LaCarrubba

    As tears run down my face I am reminded of what a truly incredible woman you are. A true inspiration. Just looking at how far you have come and the smile on your face in that last picture…. never rule out that miracle!!!
    Congrats on your new home and your new beginnings! You deserve it!!!!!

    • God bless you Melis. I am so glad we have been friends for so long…your sunny heart and hilarious sense of humor have helped me from afar through more hard days than you could ever know! I love you and Sal. xoxo

  7. Chris Ruskay

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your strength is truly impressive. You and your son look so happy in the last picture!

    • Chris, thanks for READING my story! I never imagined I would be hearing from a good ol’ SAE buddy after 20 years! What a wonderful surprise, and I am grateful for the compliments. My son is my everything. hugs, jc

  8. Alvo

    You are one tough cookie and I am so proud of you. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must have felt to wake up not knowing what happened and have to start from scratch. Your patience and perseverance to not give up is amazing. I know from work how miraculous it is to go from a vent and an EVD to where you are now! (I wish I could say it better, I’ve been working nights it has messed with my brain a little. )

    • Funny you should write – i just put a giant pickle magnet on my fridge and wrote PEOPLE FOR PICKLES underneath it!! you are psychic! You are and will always be one of my favorite human beings on the face of this earth. Alpha Schmegma Nose forever. loveovelovelove, Splan-tastic!

  9. Cathie MacArthur

    Janice, I read this post again – and I’ve agonized with you every day through your ordeal – and I have to say again how much I respect you as a Mother. Your commitment to be with Your Son in the face of an unbelieveably adverse situation is beyond words. Love ya, Cathie

  10. Yoly

    GOD KEPT YOU ALIVE FOR A REASON HE HAS A PURPOSE AND A PLAN FOR YOU, I HAVE THE HONOR TO BE WILLIAMS FOSTER MOMMY WHILE YOU GOT BETTER AND NOT ONLY GAINED A SON BUT A TRUE SISTER!
    I LOVE YOU!

  11. Donna

    OMG!!! Jan, I had no clue!!!! I’m hysterically crying right now!!! You were always like my kid sister living in Mtk!!!!! I love you and will help you with anything!!! Thank God your alive!!!!

    • I love you DonnaDonna…back in our golden days of Gurneys and parties on the beach I had much brighter plans in mind. But it seems He has a plan for us all. William is my sunshine. Thank you for caring. You are always in my heart…..<3

  12. DAMNNNN I AM ONE HAPPY MAMA! Trach TUBE COMING OUT in THREE DAYS! Wootie woot woot! I love you, all. Always! JJC 10.15.2011

    • LOLA…L-O-L-A, LOLA!!! Where art thou? Mine heart misses thee! Can you email me your digits please? janice.cunningham@gmail.com. I will be in NYC on business for a week following Christmas day and would like to take the Jitney ( i want to irreverently call it the Hampton Shitney but that’s my issue. LOLOL I’ts just a bus that serves drinks and expensive nuts! TO Expensive Nuts Like Moi ) out to East Hampton/Montauk to see may peeps. Wanna go to the beach? ❤ I love you and you are in my prayers. Your mama too. NAMASTE

  13. Janice,
    Just read this entry in your blog. You are an amazing human being is all that I can say. I am proud to have you in my facebook family!
    Love,
    Gerry

  14. Lynn

    So very very touching! You are a true hero Janice Cunningham!

  15. danny

    You’re killing me.

  16. William Joseph Lippus

    I am sorry for all the bad you and William have gone through. Even though I have never met you in person, I think you are a very pretty lady and you have a beautiful son to keep you strong in life. Life is not suppose to be this way and Jehovah, God will be a change to all this bad we see today one day soon. You hang in there and any time you need to get something off of your chest or vent, I William Joseph Lippus will always listen to your words. ❤ ❤ ❤

  17. You’re wonderful. I’m so happy to hear of your recovery. I wish the best for you and your son.

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