I Think I Fell Down the Rabbit Hole


It’s such a long story and I thought I had to tell it all at once.  It’s been a long time and it’s a long story, so I’m going to take my time.  I hardly know where to begin.

I have been very sick this past year, the pancreatitis and the gastroparesis have been horrific.  My weight dropped, I still vomit constantly quickly become dehydrated and as a consequence my diabetes becomes very hard to control and I find myself in DKA.

Sarah spent the night at home in April and found me in septic shock the next morning.  This was a Friday and except for getting into the ambulance I don’t remember anything until Sunday.  This is what I’ve been told.  My temperature was 94, I was in acute kidney failure.  I had a GI bleed so I was getting blood transfusions and I think my blood pressure was 80/50.   The first thing I remember is hearing the doctor tell me they almost lost me.

Rudy went home to grab a bite a come back and the doctor called and told him to hurry back.  I didn’t know I was so sick.  My usual symptoms weren’t there.  I wasn’t vomiting but I do remember Sarah coming in my room all night and telling me I was sick.

Since November of last year I have been admitted to the hospital at least every month, several times I’d only been home for a few days when I would have to go right back in.  While I was in the hospital Rudy and Sarah moved me to the downstairs bedroom because I started randomly passing out.  Probably a good decision but I loved my huge bedroom upstairs and hate being downstairs.

For a while, I truly thought I was dying and perhaps I was.  I was also starting to feel ready to go.  Turns out I’m a lot tougher than I ever gave myself credit for.

Better


    It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  Rudy had to take me to the ER four times I think, and I was admitted twice.  I simply could not stop vomiting.  The phenergan doesn’t seem to be working as well as it did.  In fact one doctor gave me a shot of Thorazine, that knocked me out for a good 6 hours.  As soon as I woke up though I was still  throwing up.

     I could go into ketoacidosis very easily, fortunately I never got to that point.  The gastroparesis has gotten really bad even though my glucose readings are good. 

     I had to have some minor surgery, I was discharged the same day and damned if I wasn’t back in the hospital the next day.  I have to follow up with a gastroenterologist. 

    What scared my husband is that I went over a week without eating anything.  Chicken water and jello doesn’t count.  He’s watching me lose more and more weight and it really does bother him.

     On the other hand I’m feeling much better now and I’m looking forward to spending time with him.

     I found out more things from my hospitalization in March when I was on the ventilator.  My nurse told me I was septic and the reason I was so combative was that I wasn’t breathing.  That’s not what was in my head though.  In my head I just wanted them to slow down and tell me what they were doing.  evidently there was no time for that.  I’m still having some anxiety over all that, but it is getting better.

     I’m looking forward to this week with my husband, thanks for listening.

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.

My Apologies


     I’ve never gone this long without a post and I’m not sure I know why.  Getting through the holidays was hard for me this year.  Four months later and I’m still struggling with the loss of my best friend, Michelle.  I’m feeling mired in the mud and the muck of depression.

     I ended up right back in the hospital only a week after my last discharge.  I had a pancreatitis flare up that was as bad as it gets.  I was vomiting constantly for well over 2 days and I hardly had the energy to actually get up and go to the hospital.  Rudy kept telling me I needed to go, and for some reason when I’m that sick, my mind is telling me I’m not that sick.  It got really bad this time.  In fact while Rudy was at work, something in me finally told me I needed to get to the hospital RIGHT NOW.  I actually called him at work and told him I was going to call an ambulance.  Out of nowhere a feeling of impending doom came over me.  I thought I was going to die.

     In the morning my blood sugars were 148, a little high but I chose not to take an insulin injection due to not being able to keep anything down if they were to go too low.  When I checked again they were at 248, so I gave myself 3 units.  It was an hour later that I called Rudy and he came home immediately to take me.  When they drew my labs my blood sugars were just over 900!  I couldn’t believe they had gone that high, that fast.  One of my enzymes, I forget which were supposed to be in the 200 range were 1200, and even the next day instead of going lower went higher to 1500.

     As soon as the nausea and vomiting were under control I was starving.  I think at that point it had been 3 days that I hadn’t eaten.  Of course with the pancreatitis one of the treatments is complete rest of the digestive system.  I also had an infection somewhere because my wbc (white blood count)  was pretty high as well.  By day 3 in ICU my numbers were back to normal.

     I guess I’ve been getting pretty discouraged that I don’t seem to be able to have any control over my health or what my body decides to itself.

     I feel spent emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason why this pancreatitis flares up.  It seems to be out of nowhere.  Looking back I believe it was God that gave me the feeling of impending doom, given all my numbers Rudy and I both were surprised I was still conscious, and we do believe that if he had not gotten me to the hospital as quickly as he did that I might not have been alive had we waited until he got home from work.

     I’m going to spend more time in prayer and try to turn my perspective around.  I like me a lot better when I have a more positive frame of mind.  I do believe my emotions and mental state has a lot to do with my health.  I should have written sooner.  Won’t let that happen again.  Love to all, thanks for reading and as always comments are welcome and appreciated.

What I’m Thankful For


     I really do have much to be thankful for. God has blessed me with an amazing family.  Statistics show that more women with a chronic illness will be left by their partner than men will.  Rudy tells me that the thought of leaving me never occurs to him.  It is a rare thing these days to have a man of honor in one’s life and it’s not something that I take for granted.  Between Rudy and I we have 5 children that never cease to amaze me, and watching them grow to see the young men and women they’ve become has truly been a privilege.

     I also have a few very close friends that I can count on for anything, in fact in some weird way I could say I’m grateful for the chronic illnesses.  My life has  challenged me and forced me to step outside of my comfort zone.  I’ve learned who my friends are and perhaps just as importantly who my family isn’t.  More on that at another time.  As much as I miss her, I’m so thankful for having Michelle in my life for the short time that I did.   It’s all these  threads that have woven themselves into the tapestry of my life.

Reflecting, After all, it’s Been Two Years


     It’s been 2 years since I started blogging,  I’ve re-read it from the beginning and just reflecting on everything.

     I’ve covered a lot of things The Coma,  I thinks I’m going to do all of these in capital letters, they had that much of an impact with me. Now I have to start over and in no particular order.

The Coma

The Pancreatic Tumor

The Sepsis

Removing My Port

Replacing My Port

Central Lines

Chronic Pancreatitis

DKA

Countless other procedures

Tranfers Via The ALS Ambulance

     Well, I think I hit all the hight points  anyway.  Now I want to set some goals this new year.  I’m thinking I want to try the cymbalta.  Depression kind of creeps up on me slowly without me being aware of it until I’m mired in it.

     Daily exercise, and for sure much better control of my diabetes, I feel like I’m always putting out fires instead of preventing them in the first place.  To that end I’m going to appeal my insurance companies to approve the insulin pump for me.

     I’ve also done much that I’m proud of,  I went to Texas for a couple of weeks and made it to New York with the family for a long weekend.  Of course it was when they were breaking records for temp and humidity.  I went skydiving, I tried sushi.  Note to self:  Do not try the skydiving and the sushi in the same day.      Rudy and I noticed and commented on how peaceful and loving our house had become.  We were in a very good place, the equilibrium was palpable.  That being said, there were some challenges.

    It was a tough year, emotionally, and mentally.  My sister and her crazy girlfriend moved in and it was very difficult not getting entangled in their drama, then just my sister was here.  That was hard.

     My sister moved back to Kentucky about a month ago.  Rudy and I are getting our mojo back.  There’s a lot going on right now,  I’m getting my sewing room set up, I’m on the hunt for a dress form.  I want to try reworking vintage clothing, it appeals to the hippy in me.

     I also want to give a big “Thank You” to all of my readers, I have learned from you as well.  Keep reading and commenting.