Blessed beyond reason


Last week was surreal and scary.

We all went into survival mode, doing what we could to support each other. Trying to stay positive, while struggling with those little voices that kept saying he might not pull through. Those voices can be vicious, but despite your best efforts to shut them out, they find you in your weakest moments and eat away at your remaining strength.

But by the grace of God, those voices were wrong. Daddy’s fine. He’s healthy and happy to be home. And we all know just how blessed we are to have him.

When my brother and stepmom found him Monday afternoon, they didn’t know why they couldn’t wake him up. The EMT ruled it an overdose, but that didn’t make sense to any of us. Yes, Daddy has been sick for awhile, struggling with the pain of his kidney disease. But he has always put his faith in God and found strength in the Bible. We couldn’t believe he’d take his life into his own hands and end it without so much as a note to tell us goodbye. But the empty pill bottles told a different story. Nearly 300 pills — sleeping aids, muscle relaxers, pain pills, blood pressure medication —all gone. Empty bottles put neatly back into their place in the cabinet.

Over the next few days, we waited. Waited to see if he’d come around. Waited for him to open his eyes. Waited for him to talk to us. To tell us what happened and why he did it. But when he finally woke up, he couldn’t tell us. He didn’t know. He didn’t know why he was in the hospital or how long he’d been there. He asked if he’d been in a car wreck. The last thing he remembers is taking his Ambien Sunday night and trying to go to sleep.

After two days of psychiatric evaluation, the doctors truly believe he’ll never remember taking the pills. They don’t think he did it consciously, but rather as a result of the Ambien. They think he was sleep walking — that maybe he went to take something else to go to sleep and just kept taking pills until they were gone. They said that there are a lot of documented cases of people going into these deep, bizarre trances while on Ambien and doing things like this. Some people wake up the next morning with empty food wrappers in their bed, with no recollection of eating anything. Others try to drive their cars, often crashing into trees or other vehicles. Some commit suicide.

But the psychiatrists said that they don’t think Daddy is any harm to himself or to others. They say that his mental state is sound and that he seems stable and strong. Not a man who would consciously try to take his life. They released him to come home Friday and we were able to spend Father’s Day with the man we were afraid we’d never see again. It was truly a sweet, sweet day.

And as much as I try to rationalize what happened, I know that there are some things that will never make sense. There are things that will remain unexplained. Things we’ll never know. But I do know this – we are so grateful to have him and we know now just how precious time with our loved ones really is. We got a second chance and we intend to make the most of it.

6 Responses to “Blessed beyond reason”
  1. Heather says:

    Heather … I’m so happy that your dad is okay and that he’s back home, surrounded by his loved ones. I cannot imagine the shock and confusion and fear you all must have been facing.

    I’ve heard about the infamous “Ambien trips.” Just the other day, a local radio station was taking listener calls about all the crazy things people do when they take Ambien … hitting their helpless babies, eating ravenously, acting erratic and getting angry without being provoked … and suicide. I’m shocked that the FDA approved a drug that has such horrible, horrible side effects … and what’s worse is that the individuals have zero recollection. Like your father.

    Again, SO glad he pulled through. Hang in there and stay strong.

  2. Kelly says:

    So glad to hear that your Dad is doing well. I almost lost my Dad Christmas night to internal bleeding and it certainly gives EVERYONE a wake up call!!!

  3. Paula says:

    I’m glad your dad is okay – so scary that he doesn’t even remember taking the pills, but then that’s better than the alternative reason. He’s in my prayers anyway. xxx

  4. Heather says:

    Glad to hear your father is doing so much better. I’ll keep your family in my prayers.

  5. Jenners says:

    Oh My God … how terrifying! I’m so so thankful that he was able to wake up and you weren’t left with some seriously difficult to handle unanswered questions. Ambien is very scary. Glad things worked out well in the end. Hugs to you!

  6. Trudy says:

    Praise God that he is doing well and back home. I have heard of some crazy things happening with Ambien too. Steve has trouble sleeping and his doctor mentioned something about that and I said no way!

    I’m glad that you know that it wasn’t intentional though. Hope he just continues to get better. And yes, we do need to treasure every moment we have here on earth with our loved ones. It all goes by much too quickly anyway!

    God bless you dear!

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