My amazing adventure
Posted By Linda Branham on August 25, 2013 @ 8:17 pm
Dangling in a basket off the side of an Alaskan Coast Guard Search and Rescue MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is not everyone's idea of light evening entertainment.

However, as the night evolved and the helicopter was swapped out for a King Air medical evacuation and a final jaunt by ambulance to Providence Hospital in Anchorage, I assumed something out of the ordinary might have occurred.  Due to mild electrical storms playing havoc inside my cranium, the thoughts filling my head at the time were somewhat jumbled. 

Just before dinner on the night of the 19th, I apparently put on a mild comedic performance of short duration for an audience of one, (sorry about that Joe.)  Since the humor only lived inside my head and not in the eye of the beholder, I did not receive applause, only strange looks of weirdness gone overboard. 

In the past, people that had petit mal seizures were thought to have a special ability and be in communication with higher powers—good gods in the case of the Romans, the devil in the case of early Christianity.  However I felt none of this, only a slight concern that there was much ado about nothing and why would Chris want to call in a helicopter to whisk me away from the lodge?  Apparently his concerns were warranted and my insistence upon staying were fortunately overruled.

The good Dr.John Mues with a smile almost as big as the rainbow!

Without the caring help and thoughtfulness of our incredible staff, good friend and Doctor, John Mues, the daunting crew of the Kodiak based Coast Guard Search and Rescue and the King Air medical evacuation, none of this would have been executed so perfectly.  I was merely a spectator, still confused that this spectacle was in my behalf.

After a long helicopter ride, I became aware of a couple of guys with large cameras inside the helicopter, and after landing in Homer the two men asked me to sign a release statement giving permission for the footage taken of my rescue to be used for the Coast Guard Alaska television show.  That all became a bit surreal as I unsteadily walked, (more like a dog running sideways down a dirt road) to the awaiting King Air flight to Anchorage. The medic's did a great job and got me hooked up for an IV and took more vital signs while racing down the runway for the last leg of the trip. 

We finally arrived at Anchorage International Airport and then transferred quickly to a waiting ambulance, arriving at Providence Hospital at 2:00 AM.  Being a bit sleep deprived by the time I was admitted into a room and let out of the ER, (just as the night shift was getting ready to switch over to the day shift crew,) the last few hours had not become a reality to me.   

After a barrage of MRI's, CAT scans, blood tests and generally poked and prodded until I was numb, I was able to leave the hospital, (first believing it was some sort of TIA, (a transient ischemic attack.)    However, after having 2 more "episodes" at home, after leaving the hospitaI the first time, I was scheduled for an EEG and the problem was at last decoded.  It was a small seizure and once that was solved I was put on anti-seizure medication and the "episodes" stopped.
In the late 18th century they called it petit mal, (small illness) but the current condition that I have is referred to as a partial complex seizure, according to the good Doctor John.  It seems there are over 70 types of seizures, where as 25 years ago we were aware of only a few.  I was astonished to learn that 1 in 10 Americans will have a seizure at some time during their life. 

 I am home now and am very relived to be out of the hospital.  Even though I had wonderful care from the Neurology Department, and all the nurses at Providence, (especially Amy!) I want to thank everyone that put forth such a grand effort to get me safely into Anchorage, albeit the difficult way.  Our wonderful staff at Royal Wolf, all of the medical experts at Providence, my daughter Alix, son-in-law Jason, and last but not least, my husband Chris. You were amazing, as you have always been in times of crisis.

 I will be back at the lodge next week, but I am sorry I missed out on being with Dan and some of our favorite Texans last week, although I hear their fishing was superb, and I miss being with the guests this week, as they have been coming to Royal Wolf for so many years it feels like I am missing out on family, (especially Fred, Michelle, Doug and Carl.)  My thoughts are with all of you.