I woke up this morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep. So I figured I would get what bothering me off my chest. The following post is a set of memories that have happened over the last year. While it has been a trying ordeal it is one that I have survived. Thanks for sharing these memories with me.
I don’t remember almost a week before the hospital. I don’t remember the high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or the sever cramps. I don’t remember arguing with my husband about going to the hospital. I don’t remember being admitted to the hospital with severe sepsis. Later the cause of the sepsis was determined to be salmonella.
I don’t remember telling the nurses I was having trouble breathing. I don’t remember them intubating me. I don’t remember the ice baths to bring down my fever or the spinal tap. I don’t remember the restraints. I don’t remember receiving my newest teddy bear, Mr. Cuddles – or naming him.
What I do remember is them pulling the tube out of my throat and saying, “Call me husband.” I remember that first breath of air half pulling me up from a lying position. I remember my husband walking into the ICU room and reaching down hug me and plant a kiss on my greasy hair. I remember him asking me where we ate that we didn’t share a meal. I remember telling him where we ate.
I remember the nurses thickening my water until they were sure I could swallow again. Then they gave me straight water. This was followed by applesauce, cereal bars, and juice. I had responded to the antibiotics fast enough that they were moving me to a room on the seventh floor by the end of the night.
The next day I saw my doctor in the room and he said at the rate I was going that if I pushed it I could be home in four days. I remember promising them I would be out on that Thursday. That evening the nurses came helpfully showed me some exercises that I could do to strengthen my legs so that when Therapy came in the room I would be able to stand with a walker.
Sadly, the next day was Sunday so I would have to wait until Monday for the Occupational Therapists. But the nurses and their aides helped me from my bed to the chair in my room. For the first time in two weeks I was sitting in a chair! That was the same day the my best friend came up to see me. Later in the week my sister-in-law came up to see me. My husband was there daily.
My next memory is seeing my husband’s face when he came in the room to ask me how I was doing. The joy, awe, and love expressed there is something that will be forever etched into my mind.
The look on his face when I pushed my hospital table away from the chair to stand up and give him a hug was one of the most beautiful sights I will ever see. I tell you now, feeling his arms encircle me for the first time in a good two weeks is a feeling I will never forget.
The nurses and their aides would take me for walks around the ward multiple times of day. The stopped to talk to me. One of the aides I met put a piece of my childhood to rest. Something I will never be able to thank her enough for.
A nurse from nutrition came to tell me to order more food. I had been placed on the seventh floor not because I was a cardiac patient, but because I needed the extra eyes they could provide in case of an emergency. No food restrictions for me, what a relief!
My husband wasn’t there when they told me I could go home as scheduled so I had the privilege of telling him that. That was also the same day he brought me a copy of Ivanhoe so I had some reading material in the hospital.
I remember them taking out the PIC line. After resting they helped me to get dressed in clothes that my husband had bought me. For the first time in roughly two weeks I put my teeth in my mouth. Now that was a real accomplishment.
My husband went to bring the truck around to the front of the hospital while the nurses helped me into the wheelchair that would take me out side. The aid talked to me and wished me well in my recovery. She also told me that it was a pleasure to see someone fight an illness as hard as I had.
When they pushed me outside into that warm fresh air, I felt invigorated. It was early spring in everything was in bloom! There was color everywhere! They helped me into the truck and I was off.
As we drove through the warm streets my husband and I talked and talked. He had bought me a new blanket for the couch, as well as some new tank tops to work in once I got stronger. Falling asleep in his arms that night was a treat. Finally, I would get some real sleep.
I needed a walker and my husband’s arm for the first week or so. Something as simple as going to the bathroom or taking a shower had become a team effort. Slowly though I became strong again, walks in the yard and through the garden helped.
What they didn’t tell me at the hospital was long term effects from the salmonella and sepsis. They didn’t tell me about PTSD, increased arthritic pain, or losing most of my hair. They didn’t tell me that both illnesses could exacerbate issues I already had.
The increased pain started almost immediately, it’s decreasing now. The PTSD is manageable. I don’t question eating out as much now. I still get minor panic attacks when something from the deli isn’t right.
When I started to lose my hair I didn’t know what was going on, so I researched it. Turns out the high fever from the sepsis cause some of it to fall out. It’s growing back nicely now.
I fear my breathing will never be the best now. Before the illness I was prone to bronchial infections. Today walking gets me so winded that I have to sit to catch my breath. I find that walking slow and steady helps.
Some days I’m wobbly with my balance, but certain exercises have helped with that as well. I’ve dealt with feeling useless and a burden to thinking that I’ve become pretty damn strong.
The last clear memory I have before the illness is me asking my husband if he thought I should wait to publish my next book. Glad we decided not to wait. Otherwise it would have been over a month before it hit store shelves.
Here it is a year later and while there have been bumpy patches we are still here. While I still have things to watch out for great things have been accomplished. I am whole and working again, part of the house has been remodeled, and I have published three more books.
We’ve had friends over and cook outs. Even done some traveling. We’ve seen the Old Quarter in St. Augustine as well as the pirate ship there. We’ve even been to Chattanooga to see the train. We’ve seen mountains and flowers, rain, snow and sun. The point is that we’ve seen all these beautiful things.