12 Months Later

I'm sure, if you follow me on Facebook, then you are probably sick and tired of hearing me talk about my hospital stay a year ago.

I started posting about it on the day I was admitted. I let it go for a while, but seeing that it's the 17th of September, I realized I was in the lowest lows of my life on this day last year. A lot of this post consists of fragmented sentences. I'm just rattling things off the top of my head.

At this point, I had been in the hospital for 18 days. I had gallbladder surgery that left me with a perforated diaphragm. Because of the infection associated with the gallbladder, I had what is called "sympathetic" fluid in my lung and on both sides of my diaphragm. I had been on an intensive care-type floor because I had respiratory distress. I had countless x-rays and MRIs. I had two drains coming out of me, one from my bile duct and one from my liver. I had my lung vacuumed out when I had my lung puncture. And I cannot forget, I had that barbaric "procedure" where I was given a chest tube. Not only did I have an inch thick tube coming out of my lung, it was connected to a box on the floor. I was tethered to my bed on a very short leash.

I had two IV stands that were filled with various bags of things I needed: nutrition, fluids, antibiotics, something to treat a fungal infection, something else to restore the good bacteria into my digestive system...I can't even remember what else. And all of these fluids entered my body via a PICC line that had to be placed by a cardiologist because it had a threadlike thing that goes towards the heart. It was supposed to reduce the times I would have to have blood drawn, but after a couple days they weren't able to get blood out if it, so it was back to the old way. Shot after shot, needles after needles. Being awakened in the wee hours so they could get an oxygenated blood specimen. Having my finger pricked multiple times a day. Insulin every now and then. Shots in my stomach for something I can't remember.

Sticky patches stuck to me for the entire time. Those damn things they keep on your legs to keep the blood circulating. Awful hospital food. Not being able to shower at all. Hospital beds that hurt after the first week. Not being able to sleep well. Only being given pain meds every 4 to 6 hours even though they wore off after two. Nebulizers I'd have to practice breathing with for 15 minutes at a time, a few times a day. Do you know how stupid it feels to have to concentrate on breathing? This is something we take for granted. Inhale...exhale. Our bodies do that on autopilot everyday!

Then there was physical therapy so I could get back to walking. Sure, it sounds easy enough, but it's not when you have a bum lung and your legs are weak from being laid up for weeks.

I laid and watched Mad Men. Then it was every brain-rotting Housewives show on Bravo. There was the huge PG&E gas line explosion in California. I learned Thunderheart is one of the most depressing films ever. I was intrigued by the ads for The Walking Dead, but hated seeing the ad where Rick falls out of his hospital bed in the first episode.

But the worst part of it all was the NOT knowing. When would I get out? Would I get out? Were the doctors sure I wouldn't die? What would go wrong next? What horrible procedure would I face the next day?

When I was on the intensive care-type floor, I asked my doctor if I was going to live. He reassured me all would be well, but there were so many unknowns. And I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my post after all this happened or not, but the second week I was in, I seriously considered taking my own life. I was in so much pain and so miserable. No one had any answers and I had a very hard time trying to visualize my life returning to normal. I mean, I couldn't even talk without getting winded. I was in such a state, I didn't want any of my loved ones to see me like that, especially my kids. I really did want to down too many sleeping pills and end the daily pain and torture. I experienced pure hopelessness. It wasn't terrifying to think about it, I guess I was just so worn down at that point (and this was before the chest tube). I would get sad and cry about all of the things I would miss in my kids' lives, but I wasn't afraid to die...I didn't even look at it that way. I just wanted the hospital experience to end.

It took me about 5 months to fully recover, complete with in-home nursing for a while, as well as tanks of oxygen for me to use, if needed. I have 11 scars to remind me of my nightmare. Even today, if my cat settles down on my side and happens to stick his foot near just the right ribs, where my chest tube scar is, it hurts.

Have I changed my life after all of this? Sadly, not so much. Things have pretty much reverted to the way they were before I got sick. It makes me sad to see that not much has changed. I suppose I was hoping life would be rosy and new, if only for the simple fact that I survived the roughest time of my life. But the reality is that life goes on with you or without you.

I try to see things in a different light. I am thankful for the second chance I was given and all that I have. Although, I can't help but feel disappointed with myself that I haven't "seized the day" as much as I wish I could. The routine of being a mom, with two young kids and a husband who works an insane number hours a week, really doesn't leave much room for anything else, apart from complete exhaustion. I hope that one day I can figure it out. For now, I have to be thankful that I am here and will be around to experience tomorrow.

posted under |

No comments:

Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home


Recent Comments