My name is Alicia McLelland Gilbert. I am thirty-three years old. I almost did not make it past thirty-two. My life was saved by a blood transfusion. I received six pints of blood at Christus St. Michael Texarkana in August of 2012. I walked into the ER just two hours away from bleeding to death internally.
Alicia and her family
I had worked the day before and attended a cheerleading competition for my middle daughter. I woke up the next morning feeling weak nauseous, dizzy and I just could not make myself keep going. I saw my local doctor, Dr. Michael Young- a wonderful man and friend. He was very concerned and ran lots of tests, but I was not willing to go to the hospital. I had been a single parent of three for six years working two jobs, and I did not have time to be sick. He sent me home awaiting test results with a shot to make me sleep and feel somewhat comfortable with strict instructions not to be left alone. Thank God in June of that year, I had married the love of my life Ryan and gained two more kids. He was there with me and kept close watch. I was very weak. After a few hours, I went to use the restroom and passed out cold between the bathroom and the bed. My husband then took me to the hospital. The doctor at the ER could not believe I was walking and had worked the day before. I told him, I had no choice my family depended on me. My hemoglobin which is normally a fifteen was a six.
I had been told several months previous that I had two discs in my neck compressing my spinal cord to the extent of numbness, tingling and constant pain. This required surgery to fix, which I didn’t have the time or money for. Steroid injections gave me little or no relief. I was scared of pain medicines and muscle relaxers due to watching people I cared about get hooked on them so easily. I self-medicated by taking over-the-counter ibuprofen and BC powders every day, all day.
I was at least able to function by taking them. However, I had an ulcer from years of worry, stress and not taking care of myself. My only concern was my children, but I didn’t realize that by not taking care of myself, I could have hurt them worse in the long run. My ulcer had become aggravated by the over-the-counter medications I was taking all the time and had begun to bleed. The bleeding had gotten so bad I was literally bleeding to death. The doctor said it was just like a main artery had been cut and was gushing blood. When he asked if I had been feeling bad, I said I've worked two jobs and been a single parent of three, I always felt bad. By the next day, I had received six pints of blood and was feeling better already. I went in for stomach surgery to cauterize the bleeding ulcer that next afternoon.
The blood I received was provided by LifeShare. I now have my life back, my children have their mom and my husband has his wife. I can’t begin to put into words what I feel for LifeShare and their organization. Gratitude, love and the utmost respect don’t even cut it. I am now pursuing my dream career as Marketing Director for the SWAR Division of Hope Healthcare at Prescott Manor Nursing Center in Prescott, Arkansas. I have three daughters Brittney 18, Kenzie 17, Karrigan 14, & two sons Konnor 12, & Colton 7. My family and I live in Prescott, Arkansas. We are just good ol' southern country folk who love life, family, friends, animals and the outdoors. Because of what LifeShare does and the services they provide, we have a chance of seeing so much more together.