MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Kara Van Pelt
The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
Jan. 03--Working in the emergency room, Lynn Boggs, a 31-year-old single mother of two, has witnessed many medical miracles. However, Dec. 3, 2010, was a day that would change her life forever.
Instead of witnessing a miracle, she lived it.
Now, a month later, Boggs takes a moment to tell others the valuable lessons she learned through her near-death experience.
"On Dec. 3, I went to work like any other day," she explained. "We actually had more nurses scheduled than needed, so the day was great. I didn't have any stress, no headache -- it was a good day."
Boggs is a registered nurse at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital.
She was scheduled to work until 11 p.m., but when the evening shift reported for duty, Lynn was offered the opportunity to leave work early. And she did.
It was around 9:30 p.m. when she prepared to leave. However, once she made it out to the parking lot with a co-worker, she realized something was seriously wrong. What she didn't know at the time was that an aneurysm had burst in her brain.
"I can remember her cleaning her windshield off with a CD case while I lit a cigarette," Lynn explained. "As soon as I lit the cigarette, I immediately got a headache. But it wasn't a normal headache that creeps up on you; this was instant and it started at the back of my head and was coming up toward my eye."
She said she told her friend that she had a really bad headache and her friend replied that Lynn needed to quit smoking and eat better.
"After that, I couldn't talk to her anymore because I got so scared. I knew something was seriously wrong with me and the headache continued to get worse. It felt for a minute that I had been shot in the back of the head and I don't know how to explain it, but in that moment, I just knew I was going to die," she explained.
"I think it was like an animal instinct, you know, when they go off to die alone, and I did not want my friend to see me die. So once I got to my car, I made excuses so I could just get inside it to be alone," she said. "Once I got in my car, I started to shake on the inside, kind of having a breakdown, and I prayed that God would take me quickly.
"It was the worst time in my life and I cried out to the Lord to help me and then I heard a voice in my right ear," she continued. "I knew the voice immediately. It was Jerry Brooks. He was the pastor of Shiloh Church and was a dear friend of my dad's."
Brooks had passed away two years earlier, and Lynn says he used to call her "Little Buddy."
"I heard him say, 'Little Buddy, you need to get back to the emergency room.' I was at a place where I wasn't afraid. I wasn't afraid that I had heard him; I was just pleading with God to help me."
Lynn said she was unable to move due to nuchal rigidity (a common symptom after an aneurysm has ruptured), and said she cried out, "I can't drive."
"I heard him say put it in reverse and drive backward. That is one part I still don't remember, is how I got back to the emergency room because I couldn't even turn my head to see to drive. My hand was balled up in contractures, like it would when you have a stroke, and my face was pulling on one side," she explained.
"Then I heard Jerry again and he told me to honk the horn three times. I blew the horn three times and waited. He said to do it again. I did. Then again. After that last set of three, I tried to take a breath and my diaphragm wouldn't move. That's when I saw three men walking over to help me."
She asked the men to go into the ER and tell a nurse to come out to help her. A fellow RN came out to assist Lynn.
"It was a very serious moment. I remember looking at her and her face was just terrified," she recalled. "Once I was inside, I was telling my co-workers my symptoms: sudden onset of headache, nuchal rigidity, I feel like my chest is ripping in two."
She says a doctor ordered a CT scan and found that she had a bleed in her brain in an area called the Circle of Willis, a complete ring of arteries at the base of the brain that is formed by the cerebral and communicating arteries and is a common site for aneurysms.
Lynn says the most important artery in that ring is called the basilar artery.
"It comes up from the base of the brain and it controls all your vital functions of life. I knew because the bleed was there, I only had a 30 percent chance of survival."
After being taken to Charleston Area Medical Center, Boggs was then transported to West Virginia University's Ruby Memorial Hospital where she would need surgery. During the transport, she started experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations, both symptoms of bleeds in the brain.
Once at Ruby, her doctor decided to wait until Monday morning to operate while family and friends made their way to Morgantown.