Fight Back to Life:
By Lindsay Morgan
There I was: lying in a hospital bed, barely coherent, trying to maintain consciousness in between seizures long enough to understand what my doctor was saying.
"It's time for hospice."
Even in my barely conscious state, I was shocked to my core. I knew things were bad. My weight was down to an unimaginably low number and my blood pressure and heart rate were barely discernible. I had more than thirty seizures over a two-day span, and had surprised even my doctor by staying alive as long as I had. I never truly believed this would be my end, though. I then reached out to my previous doctor in Denver, who told me in no way was I to accept that this was it. She arranged a medical flight by Angel MedFlight, and as soon as I was stable, I was transported to the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health.
Once there, at a center for the most medically severe anorexia patients in the world (my 6th time there), my doctor and I decided that it was indeed time to say goodbye and go on hospice healthcare. If you had asked me then, I would have told you truthfully that I was ready to accept death. I was thinking about how I would spend the last days of my life: places I wanted to visit and goodbyes I wanted to say. I began setting up end-of-life care plans for when I was too weak to care for myself. I spent days sobbing over my imminent demise and even started writing farewell letters to my loved ones. I thought about people I wanted to include in my will and how to word my final goodbyes.
You see, I have a potentially terminal illness, one that has almost stolen my life several times to date - Anorexia Nervosa. It has left me feeling hopeless and helpless. I waited for the magic treatment to come along that would cure me. I asked, "why me?" and lamented over opportunities stolen from me because of this disease: school, relationships, having children, and simply enjoying life. I thought I had exhausted every option for living and death was the only way out.
After several exhausting days, though, I realized something: it didn¹t have to be this way. I didn¹t have to cause the same pain that I¹ve felt to my friends and family. I didn't have to accept death from my illness. Until I take my last breath there is an opportunity for change. I decided to stop asking "why" and start asking "how" instead.
How can I live with this disease? How can I do the best I possibly can, knowing every day will be hard while all the while continuing to push forward? How can I sit with my misery until it dissipates instead of starving myself into the grave?
I cried because I have too much to do left in this life to leave it so early. I have a career to be had and school to be finished. I have books to read and worlds to explore. I have great big bear hugs to give to my nephew. I have tears to cry and laughs to bellow, love to give and a niece to see grow up. I have both joy and devastation, solace and companionship, failures and successes to experience.
It still seems overwhelming. I think of being twice the weight I was and I want to give up, accepting my fate of dying from this disease. I have realized, though, that I don¹t need to know how I am going to make it through tomorrow; I only need to know how I am going to make it through this day, this hour, this minute. If I can continue to set aside how I feel in the moment in order for my lifelong values to be honored, then maybe one day it won't matter so much to me. Maybe one day I will live in peace, enjoying the ups and downs that life has to offer. After all, it is the depths of despair that carve out the capacity for joy.
After I decided to give life another shot, my doctor arranged for me to go to treatment on a full scholarship, and though this was my ninth time attempting such treatment, something was different this time. I still hated it. I still fought it. I screamed and cried and begged to be let go. But my doctor refused to give up on me. And I refused to give up on myself. For six long months, I battled my disease with every bite that I took and pound that I gained.
Today, I am home and weight-restored. My health has bounced back and I am enjoying life in a way that I never knew was possible. I have beautiful friends, a family that I love, a wonderful church, I am going back to school, and I am leading an organization that I am passionate about. For so long I believed it was a burden to be alive; now I know the truth - it's a blessing.
Patients share their experience
"Everything for my husband's flight was wonderful. The Angel MedFlight medical crew was so nice and easy to work with. They kept my husband comfortable. They held his hand; it was great. The flight coordinator explained everything to me ahead of time. She told me what was going to happen and what to expect. I am afraid of flying but they made me feel comfortable. When we landed, the ambulance was right there and ready to go. Everything went well. I want to thank everyone at Angel MedFlight, they were fantastic."
"...We are thrilled that everything has gone so well! We tremendously appreciate the care and support that everyone at Angel MedFlight has provided Betty leading up to this point . They helped keep her informed about her condition, which was so important to us, and as comfortable and healthy as possible while she waited for transplant. We thank them for their expertise and kind compassion."
"My mother and I just wanted to thank Angel MedFlight for all of their help and consideration moving my father and mother to Texas. It could not have went any smoother just as they told me it would. My parents got here safely and dad is in the nursing home and I'm sure his progression will improve. Again, thanks Angel MedFlight for the tremendous effort. The crew was great with my parents."
"I read the testimonials on your website and was very impressed. I wish I would have found Angel MedFlight sooner, so we could have gotten my mother home right away. I was very impressed with Angel MedFlight. There were no time constraints. I could call in the middle of the night and they would answer. Also, the help we received from the Angel MedFlight staff really took the load off me and my dad so we could concentrate on my mother. Knowing that they were taking care of the insurance claim really made me rest easier at night."
"Angel MedFlight is absolutely fantastic. Beyond fabulous. The pilot, paramedic, nurse -- all of them. It was the best flight I ever had in my life."