12 March 2014

Twenty Thirteen - A Quick Recap ...

The year Twenty Thirteen turned out to be very simplistic in a very confusing and complicated way.
Let's just hit upon one subject - how much more simple can a single subject recap of an entire year be?
We will enter just the highlights in the category of: "My Health"
Oh yeah ...

One day I walked in the kitchen to get a glass of milk. I opened the fridge, unscrewed the top of the gallon milk jug and the last thought I had was that I was 'going down' and how in the world was I going to protect my head from the granite counter top and the tile floor?
Apparently my head is much hardier than my feet as I soon discovered.  Upon waking me - after experiencing what I can only imagine what must have been a very luxurious "Milk Bath" - Gary found me still unconscious,  clutching an empty gallon milk container and having had absorbed every drop of milk from the jug.  And yet - my head was unscathed! 

Somehow I had broken my foot though, in a very complicated manner.  It was called a Lisfranc Injury. 
In Wikipedia it states:
The Lisfranc injury (also known as the Lisfranc fracture, Lisfranc dislocation, Lisfranc fracture dislocation, tarsometatarsal injury, or simply midfoot injury) is an injury of the foot in which one or more of the metatarsal bones are displaced from the tarsus. This type of injury is named after Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (2 April 1790–13 May 1847), a French surgeon and gynecologist who first described the injury in 1815, after the War of the Sixth Coalition. 
The surgeon had noticed this sort of injury in soldiers who had fallen off their horse.
I do not recall actually riding a horse into my kitchen, but weirder things have happened to me ...
And, of course me being good friends with 'Murphy' surgery was required to re-align and repair the broken bones.

Surgery on my left foot was performed.

A few weeks later I was very ill and I was starting to tell Gary it was time to take me to the ER when I began to have multiple seizures.  Unfortunately, I was conscious for the first few seizures and nothing in recent memory has terrified me more.

One Saturday morning, Gary tried to rouse me, but could not ... for quite some time.  
When I became conscious - I was deaf, paralyzed and experienced some other disconcerting things that - again - until unconscious - was rather terrifying.
At the hospital I was subjected to what was to become a 'typical' battery of tests.  The MRI, the ER Doctor told us (and a very kind man from our ward) showed that I had suffered a 'venous thrombosis' or in English:I had a stroke, but it was very unusual as it was in a vein and not in an artery like a usual stroke.
Apparently I am rather difficult and complicated when it comes to my health ... 
Not so unusual for my personality - but seriously ... why can't 
in my life be simple and uncomplicated?

Had the enjoyable experience of going through my second production of a kidney stone. It had been less than six months since my very first one.  Apparently when it comes to my health - I am a late bloomer.


Multiple seizures.

Annnddd again with the seizures.  
Ambulance ride to another Memorial Herman Hospital.  The same 'family' of hospital but with the difference of having a full neurological floor and much better imaging equipment. 
Of course explaining some of this at the time of the transfer, but I was not being transferred because I would be among better versed Neurological Doctors and really cool equipment.  No.  I was later told the truth: They thought they were going to have to do emergency brain surgery but the better equipment somehow showed it was not necessary.
We decided that since this place had a 'Full Neurological' floor - that next time - if we were driving ourselves there (and since no one could even come close to explaining why I suddenly started to have seizures / develop epilepsy there was most definitely in our minds going to be a 'next time') we would head to this hospital thus ensuring that I got better neurological care. 

Started getting sick like I usually do right before the seizures start so we drove to the 'Full Neurological Floor' hospital.  I couldn't stop throwing up and we tried to explain the 'Neuro' issue, but they stuck us on another floor.
Very disappointing.
In the middle of the night a doctor came in and asked: 
"Do you remember me?"
Not wanting to fail this simple test - I hedged and said: "Maybe"
He said he was a Neurologist and that he was moving me to the 'Neurological Floor'.
I was SO relieved and mentioned our non-successful attempts.  He then said "
Well, since I watched you have 15 seizures in a row, it sort of seems appropriate ... now" 
And then he said he would see me in the morning and left.

he next morning he was back and I apologized for not knowing him and he said: "Well, fifteen seizures in a row tends to 'thrash' your brain. You were also totally conscious the entire time. 
I have read about it but never seen a person who experienced them!"
I told him I was ever so glad that I could make his day - and if he could figure out why this was happening - I would name my first born son after him ...
He told me he was not sure he could solve it - it seemed very complicated. He mentioned that even when he asked the ER about not starting me out on the Neuro Floor - they told him that my explanation was so bizarre they thought I was crazy and that I should be pretty much happy that I was not on the Psych floor.
Good to know ...
I told the Neurologist; "That's OK - my First-Born son is 24 years old and just might resent me changing his name ..."
Presently, the theory is that it is a blood pressure fluctuation issue.  Since I am overweight - I was feeling rather guilty until after some testing and studies - they said it was probably genetic or random and that the main thing was that other than watching it with medication- there was little I could do about it.
I feel much better now that a huge, stinking pile of guilt has been removed ...

Can't remember if I had any seizures ... probably all that 'Brain Thrashing' ...

Seizures ...

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ryan was checking on me - apparently it was his turn to 'Babysit' me.  I had been too ill to sit down and even eat with the family for Thanksgiving Dinner.  It had been the first time this had ever happened, an all time low for me and presumably I was pretty ill.  Just felt sick - but apparently it was more than that.

Ryan mentioned the problem to Gary when he got home and Gary called 911.  
Since I still could not be roused by the time the EMS personnel had arrived, they all decided that it was pretty serious and that I needed to be Life Flighted to the Medical Center.  They drove me in the ambulance to a nearby Elementary School where the helicopter picked me up in the Schools field.
I am sure it was very exciting and all, but I was unconscious the entire time - so no fun times for me!
As I was still unconscious after working on me in the ER, they recommended to Gary that I be intubated.  They said that the respirator wouldn't really bother me since I would be so drugged up - so the decision was made and I was intubated.
Thus began my very sad mental slide from 'Keeping It Together' to 'Total Mental Chaos'.

First problem: 
They inserted a tube that was just a twee too big for my throat and my throat started swelling around it.

Second problem: 
I woke up some time on Sunday so quite a bit of time had elapsed. In addition I was in and out of some state where it was hard to distinguish what was dream and what was reality.  
I thought at one point that I heard Gary talking to a doctor about me falling.
Had I fallen down the stairs?  
I didn't know ... 
Which was the:

Third problem: 
No one ever thought to sit down and tell me what was going on.  This is not a fun scenario, people.  
They did - AT LENGTH explain the:
Fourth Problem:

See First Problem. 
They explained over and over that I was on a respirator and the reason my wrists and ankles were tied down to the bed.  Each time they suctioned out my lungs - it was so traumatically painful I would involuntary jerk in pain and desperately try to tell myself that I couldn't aspirate anything into my lungs by this method or:

Problem Five: 
Would have occurred - 
They would have IN ADDITION TO ALWAYS YELLING AT ME TO STOP JERKING I WAS TIED DOWN AND THAT WOULD NOT HELP RELEASE ME they would have TOLD ME that I could aspirate junk into my lungs like this ...
Since no one offered me paper I could neither tell them that this was involuntary nor ask them about aspirating stuff into my lungs OR ANY OTHER QUESTION that I might have had - which was hundreds - so maybe the reason a pencil and paper never materialized ...

Problem Six:
Was on Sunday when my thinking became much clearer and they stopped saying that they were giving me morphine to help with the comfort of the respirator.
They explained that due to the swelling in my throat they had to take me off all my medications and start me on a very high dose of steroids to get the swelling to go down.  When it had gone down enough, they would be able to pull the respirator out without damaging my vocal chords.
Then the two 'Respirator Doctors' said that they would see me Monday morning and walked out the door with me screaming: "WAIT!"  Over and over again in my head ...
Monday morning and 'Respirator Doctors' came, shook their heads and said: "No, we will see you in another 24 hours," and out the door they went.
So, of course, in Addition to the screaming in my head came:

Problem Seven: 
How am I going to survive the next Twenty Four hours? And tiny cracks and fissures began forming in my brain as I thought about the hourly painful lung suction and being tied to a bed unable to get answers to questions I desperately needed. It is SIMPLY AMAZING how long a minute can be under these circumstances ...

Problem Eight: 
Tuesday morning and 'Respirator Doctors' repeating their Monday Mantra.  What was difference?  
The cracks in my brain were at some sort of Red Line Status and it had been a while since I had been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and my controlling serious out-of-control panic attacks skills were more than rusty ...
Wednesday morning the tube came out!
It was the first time I could talk to anyone about my out of control pain, or ask questions or asked what happened.  My Hospital Doctor had taken me off all my pain meds and life was pretty unbearable.



My worries were over ...

Until we were informed Wednesday afternoon that they had figured out what had brought me to the hospital in the first place: 

Problem Zero: 
I was a few hours from dying from Septic Shock.  I was currently infected with a staph infection and would have to go on an Eight Week IV Antibiotic Therapy to get rid of it.  This seemed totally impossible since for a year I had been totally incapable of staying of the hospital for 8 weeks ...

Apparently my two hospital stays while I had my central line in - in 2014 proved it can be done ...

Up to this point, I harbored a secret dream that my scheduled surgery to insert a Pain Pump would still go forward on December 12th.  As it was December 10th at the time - I was being pretty unrealistic ...

As it was, I was going to have a Central Line inserted into my chest on Friday, the 12th - and as opposed to the first time I had one inserted - this time I would not be under general anesthesia - just (what I thought) was those drugs that make you loopy and totally forget the procedure once you come to. I was a bit nervous and skittish, but decided I could live with that ...

Friday came around and I was moved down to the Radiology Room for quite a bit of a wait - then they came in - told me that it would be five minutes at most and whisked me off to the operating room.

They started, and IN ADDITION to being fully conscious and not loopy at all - the pain was so severe I was having a hard time not jumping whenever the scalpel / needle pierced my flesh. The (apparent) trainee seemed to take umbrage with this and after twenty minutes he disgustedly told the guy with him that he had totally messed up and he would need to start over and fix it. 

They spoke as if I couldn't hear them - which was nearly true based on the complete and totally uncontrollable screaming That was going on in my head.

The 'My Brains Total Mental Chaos' was almost complete ...

The other guy working on me (I REFUSE to refer to them as doctors) finished up rather quickly, then the transportation guy was there to take me back to my room.

I was completely exhausted and seemed as if I was moving under water ... in a totally catatonic state.

My doctor came in about a half hour later and I was still sitting on the side of my bed more traumatized than I have ever felt ... in forever. She asked how it went, and so I told her. I said that I asked afterwards what they had given me and the guy who was playing anesthesiologist said: "Morphine" which I have built up a tolerance to - thus it hadn't worked at all. 

As I was figuring this out - so was my doctor who then said (and I quote): 

"If you didn't eat Morphine like it was candy, it wouldn't have happened." 

Using a disgusted voice - this explained a lot on why she had taken me off my pain meds in the first place, and I was taking a dose my doctor had prescribed to me based on my pain level.  There was nothing like 'candy' about it ...

I remember just staring at this woman thinking: 

"If we could just trade our pain levels for one day: JUST ONE DAY you would never have said that to me."

And my brain suddenly dissolved into a million pieces consisting of pain, anger, disappointment, sadness, frustration, helplessness and fear ... so much fear.

I don't understand why - but the drive home was rather telling - but it is late and I have to get some sleep!  I thought I would do a quick recap, write a few things about the 8 Week IV Fun Fest then move on to the Pain Pump Surgery and its aftermath yesterday - but it is clear to me that two more posts are in order!

Each has photos - sorry this one doesn't - but if this post does anything - it highlights the fact that my year in 'Health' is one big Whine-a-Thon and why I didn't write it in the first place.  But people have been asking so ...


You're Welcome


Cherri said...

OW OW OW OW OW! So awful for you.

Vicki said...

If you didn't suffer from PTSD before these episode, you certainly would now. Have you shown your "doctors" this post? They really need to understand what it is like from the patient's point of view. This is so terrible. I feel so badly for you. Hugs!!!

Lori Hurst said...

Cherri - thanks! It always feels better when you feel that someone else understands your pain. It seems to reduce it just a bit ...

Vicki - yeah 1998:

The year of Rachael ...

And being in my house with Jessie when a tornado hit it ...

And a few months later listening to a live broadcast as a tornado hit the exact location that Gary was supposed to have taken the kids

(found out later they didn't go, BUT ALSO found out later that it was the final straw in my keeping the PTSD at bay and that dam done broke anyway ...)

SOOO I thought that:

Once Prepared - Always Prepared

But that was not the case at all.

I discovered rather quickly that suffering your first really huge Panic Attack while tied to a bed and very rusty in the finer points of not having your brain melt was pretty much impossible ...