Tag Archives: crisis

When Trouble Comes …

trouble

Dear Readers:

What do you do when trouble comes? When dread clutches its icy fingers around your heart, or unimaginable images boggle the mind, what do you do?

I’ve been away a few days, but by the grace of God, I am back. Yes, an unforeseen event — beyond my control — brought me to my knees. It began when I received an unexpected phone call twelve days ago . . .

“Mom, come to the job-site; Pops fell off the ladder–”

“What? No!”

“He’s not responding now, Mom. I need to call 911.”

By the time I arrive at the scene, paramedics surround my husband. They have him in a neck brace and on a gurney, asking him questions. He is in and out of conscientiousness, unable to say where he is or what has happened. At that moment, many things become a blur to me. I try to follow the ambulance to the Emergency Hospital, lest I become lost due to complete disarray and panic.

So there I sit in the midst of the storm, waiting and interceding:  I can’t leave this hospital without him, Lord! 

I soon receive word that my husband suffers from severe injuries from falling off the 20′ ladder. Even though he missed the concrete, he sustains thirteen fractured ribs and partially collapsed lungs. A surgeon is assign to Mark and once in the ER, they insert a chest tube to inflate his lungs.

I call on family and friends to please pray for my husband . . .

When the accident occurred, my daughter and husband were working together. She joins me in the waiting room. “Mom,” she said, “when I got to Pops, he was praying, ‘Please help me, Jesus … heal me, Lord.'”

That piece of news soothes my soul — it comforts my heart, it encourages me — it encourages us all! You see, after his fall, my husband is unable to communicate; yet his spirit-man cries out to God for help!

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6.

15045729_10207832063581448_925697627_nI stay in ICU as long as I can before they send me home. Three days later, they transfer Mark to a private room with a common germ on the skin called MRSA (a type of Staph). I remain with hubby in his room for the duration of his stay. He is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The morphine pump doesn’t seem to be enough. Every day, several times a day, two or three blood samples from different veins are taken for blood culture. Only problem is that Mark’s veins are small rolling veins, which eventually cause his arm to become tender and swell up.

We’re so blessed having our dear pastors from church come by, as well as a few other visitors, dressed in gloves and gown to pray over Mark. On the fourth day, the doctor removes my husband’s chest tube, but he is not out of the woods yet . . .

Day Five: Mark experiences excruciating pain in his leg, so much so that his blood pressure elevates with 103-degree fever. Still unable to sit up, they wheel him out on his bed for additional x-rays of his hip, femur and leg. When they return, he is knocked out. In the wee hours of the morning, he’s awakened drenched in sweat, tugging and pulling off his gown, tangled with the wires he’s connected to. I buzz for the nurse and try holding him down until help comes. They cool his body and when they use a wet cloth on his brow and neck, he says it feels good.

Day Six: The doctor leaves after checking in on Mark. That same hour, Mark says he feels a chill. I figure maybe his fever has worn off and I cover him with another blanket. But he complains of still feeling cold and begins to shiver. Ten minutes into it, he takes a turn for the worse. I call for the nurse. She comes with a couple of extra blankets, telling Mark he’ll soon be warm and leaves. Mark’s shivers become more vigorous and uncontrollable, he even starts wheezing. After a few more minutes of shivering, he becomes unresponsive. I run out to fetch help.

The nurse comes in and rushes back out and calls for a Code Blue. Within minutes, a rapid response team of ten to fifteen people arrives at Mark’s bedside bringing along some emergency equipment; even the chaplain walks in. While the team is surrounding Mark, the chaplain is trying to speak with me. He asks if I am the wife. He says he can see how much love I have for my husband. But I don’t want to chat with him. I want to talk with Mark. The doctor comes and asks me what has happened. “You tell me,” I answered.

I quickly phone my son, telling him of Mark’s condition and to pray. I remain near Mark’s bedside and caress his face while talking to him. And I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I don’t know how many minutes pass before the doctor and the entire team, work on getting Mark to respond. Thank God, my husband finally comes to!

More test. They find that Mark has a bout of pneumonia, as well as an unknown infection in his blood. He is off of morphine and Norco is given for pain. Now they have him on a broad spectrum of antibiotics for infections. Three days later, the infection he has is called Acinetobacter, commonly isolated from the hospital environment and hospitalized patients. In other words, this type of bacteria is frequently associated with healthcare associated infections.

Day Nine: Mark is able to sit up in a chair for a short period of time. That evening, he is using a walker as we walk around the corridor. The hospital staff is amaze and delighted. It is obvious that they adore my hubby.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Day Ten: Homeward bound!

I am happy to report that hubby is resting and quite content being back home. I appreciate every one that extended their love, prayers, and encouragement on our behalf. I may feel a bit worn out, but then again, I am one grateful woman. We have much to be thankful for.


I once read, “It is hard to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So when trouble comes knocking at your door, don’t walk it alone. Give it to God and reach out to others for encouragement and support.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Code Blue, crisis

Another Day at the Office

Note: This traumatic situation happened in the 90s, something I’ll never forget.

Ever think you’d wake up to face another day and everything go according to plan? Remain normal? Nothing out of the ordinary? Yeah, me too. But this would be no ordinary work day for me …

Several months of working the drive-thru window at my new banking job, I looked forward to working the inside lobby. I retrieved my cash box and set up my drawer like any other day, with the exception of being stationed alongside manager and friend, Judy, with her fifteen years of experience in the industry. Once all bank tellers were set with their consignment items, our security guard Victor, unlocked the front doors and opened for business. Because it was the beginning of the week, I felt confident the day would go fairly smooth.

After assisting a couple of customers with their transactions, I became startled by a commotion to my far left. I glanced toward that direction in time to see a masked man shove Victor against the counter, snatching his gun out of his holster. Like a surreal scene right out of a horror flick, the masked man shoved the gun against Victor’s spine, ordering him not to move or to turn around. Before realization hit me, another gunman shot by from the opposite direction with a stocking over his face, shouting obscenities and threatening that he would “pop” anyone who moved!

Another hooded gunman appeared, waving his rifle, shoving customers and employees along the wall, yelling at them to drop down and not move. Staring in disbelief and in shock, as if frozen in time, we tellers behind the counters, were still standing with hands in the air. As thoughts reeled in my brain, I hardly noticed that my hand was slowly etching out attempting to set off a silent alarm hidden under the counter inches from me. Out of no where, one of the gunmen jumped on top of my station, glaring with his gun pointed at me and growls, “You! Down, now. Or I’ll pop you!”

I was going to faint on the spot at best, or be shot to smithereens at worst. Thank the good Lord, I still had some control of my faculties and complied, dropping to my knees with my head down, all the while praying. Judy was not so lucky.

The gunman began ordering her to climb over the counter to go into the vault with him. One of the other gunmen already held Victor and the commercial teller with his gun pointed in their faces while they waited to go inside the vault once it was unlocked. The gunman became impatient with Judy and proceeded to pull on her arm attempting to drag her up and over the counter. As she struggled to raise her leg to climb, she stumbled back and was immediately pistol whipped after he jumped down, cursing her for moving too slow. He proceeded to push her towards the vault with the others. (Yes, my head was up and I was peeking.) Once the vault was unlocked, one could only imagined what was taking place inside.

One of the gunmen stood by the front door, holding everyone at bay spewing profanities and waving his gun back and forth. After what seemed like an eternity, the two gunmen ran out from the vault, throwing money bags at their partner by the exit. They ordered everyone to remain down as they scurried out the front door. After the ruckus, we began to stir and rise from our positions. Peering out of the windows we noticed the police were already on the scene (an alarm had indeed gone off), and they were in hot pursuit of the bank robbers who apparently had jumped into a getaway car. Instantly, I thought of Judy and the rest who had gone into the vault. They were still inside! Were they hurt? Still alive? I shuddered to think.

As I quickly approached the vault, I heard sobbing and my heart dropped! All three employees were lying face down. But the sight of Judy faced down with blood glistering from a gash on her forehead stunned me. A sob escaped me as I called her name. I was relieved to discover that in calling out, they all responded by sitting up and were simply waiting for one of us from the outside to come and get them. Upon examining Judy’s head, we knew her outer wounds would heal. But one never knows about the turmoil that goes on inside.

We hugged one another and let the tears flow freely.

After the police interviewed everyone, we were allowed to call family members to come for us. When Mark came for me, I was still trembling and immediately crumbled in the safety of his arms. I couldn’t wait to leave, go home and hug my kids.

Recovery from trauma is a process. Most of us were shaken up for quite some time after that ordeal and needed counseling. Some even quit their banking jobs to look elsewhere for employment. As for me, that moment in time would forever be etched in my memory. I myself experienced what is called a trauma-related symptom in the aftermath of that bank robbery.

Days after the incident, while on lunch break at a fast-food chicken joint, an outraged customer began verbally attacking one of the employees over his incorrect order. My heart was pounding out of my chest, my nerves felt like pins and needles. I left my food and made a hasty exit and got the heck out of dodge.

Reflecting back, one thing became perfectly clear: You can be “busy as usual” with the mundane things in life and at a moment’s notice, your world can turn upside down and you are faced with a life and death situation!

Life is precious not to be taken for granted.

© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

Your turn. Have you had a traumatic experience or a close call when you least expected it?

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Filed under Bank Robbery, Social