Whitley’s back pain got so bad that he went to his doctor. He had been taking pain meds that made him too nauseous to eat or drink, so he lost a lot of weight and became weak and dehydrated. He recognized he was fading fast, so he went to our General Practitioner, who gave him three intravenous bags of what he assumed was saline solution, but it turned out that the 3rd bag actually contained Dextrose (sugar water), which immediately sent his blood sugar level up to the 700s (the normal level is around 100). After taking his blood, the doctor said that he was going into diabetic shock and immediately sent him to the emergency room.

When he arrived there, the OR docs checked his blood again and found out that it was around 94, so they were completely puzzled. One of them phoned our G.P. and told him to check the empty bags, and that was when the discovery was made that he’d been given the wrong solution during the 3rd infusion. He was starving and badly dehydrated, though. (He has lost 15 pounds in ten days, which is a serious weight loss.) They checked him in, rehydrated him and essentially brought him back to life.

He had already made an appointment with a back surgeon at another hospital that he had found on Google who seemed to be excellent, and he was determined to keep that appointment.

When he met with this surgeon, he brought him the MRI he’d had taken recently, and upon looking at it, this doctor said that Whitley had one of the worst herniated discs he’d ever seen. It was pressing on a group of nerves and that was what was causing him all the pain. He saw this surgeon on Thursday, and he checked him into the hospital at 4:30 am on Friday morning and operated a few hours later. Whitley spent Friday night at the hospital and checked out on Saturday.

I spent the night with him at the hospital, sleeping on the couch. Whenever I’ve been in a hospital (and I even worked in one once), I’m always amazed at what NOISY places they are, with people talking loudly and running around constantly. You hear clanging, beeping and buzzing from machines all night long. While he was recuperating, Whitley took a couple of those wonderful walks up and down the corridor in one of those butt-baring hospital gowns, then they pronounced him well enough to go home and get some REST.

While we were in the hospital, one of my jobs was to go over to the cafeteria and get food–meals for me and a few little extras for Whitley. Since this hospital consists of two towers, with the patients in one of them and the cafeteria in the other, it took me a while to figure out how to get back and forth, especially since I’m still not good at finding my way around. Having been in two hospitals lately (the one where Whitley was admitted for the erroneous blood test and the other one, where the operation took place), I’ve learned that ALL hospitals are designed like incredible mazes.

Before he went to the G.P., although he was in incredible pain, Whitley did an incredible job of writing an ebook to be published soon by Tarcher Penguin (the publisher of the new Key and of Solving the Communion Enigma). His editor says the work is excellent–Did working through the pain cause his writing to soar to a high level of expertise?
In the hospital, I knew he was getting better when he said to me, "I have a GREAT idea for a series of Young Adult" novels!"

One thing an experience like this teaches you is who your true friends really are. We got the interest and sympathy we expected from our good old friends in Texas, but several people we didn’t know that well came through for us in a big way.

One of them was a kind, self-effacing man who drove us everywhere we needed to go in our Prius (which has a passenger seat that leans way back–something Whitley needed because he found it too painful to sit up. I couldn’t do the driving because Los Angeles freeways terrify me. However, I’ve realized I need to be able to get places WITHOUT taking the freeways, so I’m going to take some "refresher" driver courses (stay tuned for THOSE diaries–they should be hilarious!)

Another was someone I’d just met who has now moved to another state, so we’ve decided to be "internet friends." This person sent me friendly, encouraging emails every day and kept my spirits up during the entire ordeal.

This tells me something about heroes: We can all play that role. The surgeon who helped Whitley was a hero to us, because he relieved him of his pain. To him, of course, that wasn’t heroic–he was just doing his job.

We met lots of other heroes at that hospital as well–people who were doing more ordinary tasks, like taking vital signs, emptying bedpans and rolling people around in wheelchairs, but who were doing it with a smile and a cheerful spirit and was uplifting to sick, agitated minds like ours.

The two friends who showed us such kindness were the kind of "ordinary heroes" you find in life all the time–people who, when an occasion when they can help in some way pops up, don’t shirk but plunge right in, and give all they’ve got. In order to be a hero, you don’t need to dash into a burning building or dive into the ocean to save someone–sometimes just a small action or the right word at the right time will do it.

When we checked out of the hospital and arrived back at our apartment Saturday morning, our rolled-up newspapers were at the door, waiting for us. We were home.

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  1. “They fed and watered
    “They fed and watered him.”
    Let’s hope this old horse is galloping and soaring soon again!
    Thanks for the update Anne!

  2. Anne and Whitley, this is
    Anne and Whitley, this is WONDERFUL news. I really like this reading because it encourages ALL methods of healing.

    TEXT OF READING 1967-1 M 24

    18. Know that all strength, all healing of every nature is the changing of the vibrations from within, – the attuning of the divine within the living tissue of a body to (Creative Energies). This alone is healing. Whether it is accomplished by the use of DRUGS, THE KNIFE or WHAT NOT, it is the attuning of the atomic structure of the living cellular force to its spiritual heritage.

    19. Then, in the prayer of those, – live day by day in the same manner as ye pray – if ye would bring assistance and help for this body.

    20. We are through for the present.

  3. Thumbs up for Whitley for
    Thumbs up for Whitley for getting this handled quickly. Though I imagine the excruciating pain begged no compromise.
    And kudos to Anne for steadfastness and also to the heroes Anne mentions.

    What an intense few days. The Universe has been that way lately, at least in my experience.
    Glad Whitley is back home recuperating where he can get some real rest.

    Hokey smokes kids! What an adventure!

  4. Lord, have mercy! Adventure
    Lord, have mercy! Adventure is right!

    Just hoping that you all got some profound apologies from the GP who gave the bag of sugar water…On the other hand, I guess Whitley got exactly what he needed when he got to the source of the pain in his back and had it corrected, all due to the comedy of errors from the GP.

    Yep, The Universe works in mysterious ways!

    Anne, much rest to you and Whitley…You both deserve it before you start the next chapter, which should be quite empowering!

    And holy smokes, Anne! I had not read this until after I sent an email to Whit this morning. Totally bizarre, but an odd synchronicity too that dovetails with finding out about Whitley’s surgery. I apologize in advance if it appears in poor taste! Yikes!

  5. I took a walk this morning to
    I took a walk this morning to the nearby news stand, and the ordinary world looked amazingly beautiful. I have some incision pain and pain in my right leg about the level of a migraine, but I can tolerate this easily, and it’s dropping.

    I have to say, my wife is a real trooper. She was beside her guy all the way. Our love affair has been very intense for all of our 42 years together, and she stuck to me like glue.

    The pain lasted for three weeks, and the surgeon said that the particular herniation I had would cause what is essentially the worst pain that can be felt.

    I almost passed away last Sunday night. (I was on my way into a coma, essentially from starvation and dehydration.) However, I finally recognized the symptoms, and got the care that Anne describes. They fixed me right up and sent me home the next morning.

    The wonderful day was Friday, when I had the decompression surgery.

    I thought a great deal about the site, about you guys, about all we are doing together, and I have to tell you, holding that thought brought me such a happiness and strength.

  6. Holy cow, Whitley. You’ve
    Holy cow, Whitley. You’ve really been through it, you and Ann. Congratulations on finally getting the right treatment, and it’s wonderful to hear you are on the road to recovery. Best thoughts, wishes and prayers to you both.

  7. Thank God Whitley made it
    Thank God Whitley made it through. His work has been such an inspiration to me for the last 25 years. (And I’m not even an experiencer.)

  8. What an unbelievable ordeal
    What an unbelievable ordeal for you Whitley! I am so heartened and relieved to read of your progress. Now that the healing has begun, all the prayers and healing visualizations that have been sent your way will help to ramp up the recovery, I feel certain. Anne – Whitley is a lucky guy to have you there for him 100%. I’m keeping you both in my prayers, and thank God you found such a skilled surgeon!

  9. I cannot even imagine losing
    I cannot even imagine losing your light in my life, and I say this unabashedly aware of how selfish it sounds. I’m not confident I could leap this vast chasm without your patient guidance. I pray you heal quickly, and that this awful experience has left you stronger. We’ve so many great things left to accomplish before you return to that “Long Home” …

    +1 for Google and specialized medicine.

  10. Hot Dog!
    Hot Dog!

  11. It’s a sad sad fact but he is
    It’s a sad sad fact but he is LUCKY. Each year many are killed by Medical Mistakes and there is much white paper on this which I will not bore everyone with. Suffice to say, that it is caused by over worked staff, no system of checks and not enough training. One of our missions here at the Simulation Center is have all helath care workers coem out well trained and doing many practice sceanarios. In fact I think I shall purpose that we write up this “dextrose infusion bag mishap” as a scenario.

    Glad WS survived the “system”

  12. The relief you must have
    The relief you must have felt! Great job, Strieber family for making it through all this.

  13. I’m so sorry that happened to
    I’m so sorry that happened to you, Whitley. Thank goodness you received the proper care and attention you needed.

    You are valued more than you know, and my husband and I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Anne, I have trouble driving in this crazy SoCal traffic, too. 😉

  14. So glad Whitley is feeling
    So glad Whitley is feeling better.

  15. It’s infuriating that the
    It’s infuriating that the most expensive health care system in the world is in such an appalling state that Saline and Dextrose solutions can be confused and nearly cause a totally unnecessary death. That having been said, I am very happy for Whitley and for you, Anne, that a surgeon finally took the appropriate action and operated on the herniated disc and that Whitley is making a good recovery. I look forward to many more posts and books from you two!
    Delia O’ Riordan

  16. Thank God, Whitley. Thank
    Thank God, Whitley. Thank God!

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