One Foot in the Grave and the other on a Banana Peel, and then I Slipped

     It’s been a bad few weeks and I don’t even know where to begin.  I guess I’ll start with the bladder infection, only because any time I get an infection of any kind my blood sugars spiral out of control very quickly and I end up chasing them.  It doesn’t work, I just get sicker and sicker and the sicker I get, the higher my blood sugars get and all cognitive function and reasoning flies out the window.

     All I could do was sleep, and that should have been my first clue that things were going to spiral out of control.  I just didn’t see it.  I had a change in my pain meds, and some other meds and I attributed my sleepiness to that.  What a fool I was, and this time it almost cost me my life.

     My daughter Sarah came home on Friday and immediately knew that something was very wrong.  I had been vomiting and she emptied my basin for me and told me I needed to get to the hospital.  I’m ashamed to say that all I could do was beg her not to wake up her dad and I do remember telling her that if I didn’t feel better the next day I would go.  It was extremely unfair of me to put that burden on her.  If I had died I can only imagine how she would blame herself.  When I see her this weekend I’m going to tell her that when I’m that sick she should ignore whatever I’m saying and just do what she thinks is the right thing.

     Rudy was getting an idea already that I was getting pretty sick, but I’ve become a master at hiding from him just how sick I am.  The rest of the story is based on what I remember, which is pretty sketchy and filled in by what Rudy, Sarah and the Doctors and Nurses at the hospital told me.

     It was now Saturday and I don’t remember if all of this took place before or after Sarah’s shift at Walgreens.  I remember that she was pretty mad at me for not going to the hospital like I promised her and for not letting Rudy know just how bad it had gotten, I didn’t realize how sick I really was.  It must have been late, he had fallen asleep on the couch and he tells me that something, he doesn’t know what, but we credit it to God woke him from a sound sleep telling him that he needed to check on me.  He said he could smell the acetone on my breath as soon as he opened the door and I remember him saying that I had to get to the hospital.  Even then I tried to argue with him that I wasn’t that sick.

     He said I was slurring my words and I looked like I was dying.  I heard him tell Sarah to call 911 for an ambulance, even then I thought he was overreacting.  I remember him dressing me before the ambulance got here and I remember him saying that if it didn’t get here in a minute he was going to put me in the truck and take me himself.  He picked me up and carried me out of the bedroom into the living room.  I remember seeing the ambulance pull up to our door and Rudy lifted me up and carried me to the gurney and walked me outside.

     Our town just within this past month went from strictly EMS service to advanced life support with paramedics, and what a blessing that was to me.  Rudy walking me outside is the last thing I remember before getting to the hospital. 

     I remember only a few minutes of the ER., and I’m ashamed of every one of them.  I was surrounded by doctors and nurses and it seemed they all had their hands on me at once cutting off my clothes and doing things to me, all without talking to me and I was extremely combative.  I remember trying to fight them all off of me and in my head I was thinking I just needed them to slow down and tell me what they were doing.  That’s the last thing I remember and the next thing I knew was that I was in a room and there was a cna in there and I asked where I was.  I was told in ICU and then I asked what hospital I was in.  I had no sense of time lost even though it was almost 3 days later.

     It was my husband who told me I was intubated in the ER.  Evidently my efforts to breathe was not moving oxygen.  I do know that my first day of awareness, I was hallucinating.  I don’t know if that was residual effects from the sedation drugs or not.  I kept hearing Rudy call my name when he wasn’t in the room.  I also remember thinking or knowing that I was hallucinating but not to tell anyone or I’d be heading to the “One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” hospital.

     This is what I know now.  I’ve been sufferring from anxiety attacks ever since I’ve been home and I’m afraid to fall asleep when I’m here by myself.  I don’t know if you can get PTSD from a hospital stay, but I really do feel shell shocked.  The ER doctor told Rudy that had he waited another hour I would not be here.  I’m frightened,  and I don’t remember ever feeling quite so vulnerable as I do now.  I don’t know how to cope with this, it’s beyond me.


9 thoughts on “One Foot in the Grave and the other on a Banana Peel, and then I Slipped

  1. Pingback: TED Talk: Peter Saul on Dying in the 21st Century: « Under The LobsterScope

  2. I have read your blog for awhile. It seems that you don’t want to be a burden to your family by having them stop to take you to the hospital and then it becomes a paradox since you don’t go you get sicker and then you become a burden by being in hospital. I see that it is a fine line that you walk but perhaps you should just go whenever something is amiss. It might be frustrating but it won’t be this close call that you had. I do wish you luck in your endeavours.

    • You’re absolutly right. I guess it just took me awhile to figure it all out. I’m still going through anxiety over all of this as well as my family. We’ve been talking about this last time a lot, and I’m definitly going to change how I’ve been managing my illnesses. Thank you for reading and thank you for your concern.

  3. As an ICU nurse, I will tell you that yes, you absolutely can get PTSD from being hospitalized, especially in an ICU. The delirium you describe is also a very, very common response to the physical stresses – it takes a while to go away (sometimes weeks). So no, you’re not crazy to still feel out of it. It does not mean that your cognitive function will remain “off”, just that you haven’t come through it yet. It is also reasonable to seek support, even therapy, to help you deal with the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty that you are going through now. Best of luck to you as you navigate these waters – learn to trust your loved ones, especially when you’re not sure of your own judgement.

    • Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read that and feel validated. It’s been almost 2 months and I’m still learning of things that happened that I don’t remember. I still don’t feel “right.” I’m still having panic attacks and I’m still afraid to fall asleep when I’m home by myself.

      I’m seeing my Doctor again on Friday and I’ve been seriously considering asking for an anti-anxiety medication. I’m fighting every night just to go to sleep. I don’t know if I’m overcompensating or not but I’m checking my blood sugars every hour or 2. I often find myself crying out of no where, hell I’m doing it now. I feel weak and emotionally spent.

    • – learn to trust your loved ones, especially when you’re not sure of your own judgement

      That is the absolute key trusting my loved ones. I have no sense of what I’m going through when my glucose readings are high, and the higher they go the less I can trust my own judgement. I didn’t even realize that I was getting septic from a simple UTI. Now I know. Thank you.

  4. Hi,

    I’ve just read your blog from the start to this post and I am so amazed that you manage to have such a positive attitude with everything you’ve been through.

    Best wishes from New Zealand.


    • Aren’t you sweet! Thank you so much. Sometimes the only thing one can control is how we react to what happens. I don’t always make it, but I try really hard.

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