Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Still Can't Believe This Happened To Me.....Right After Shriners, Part Two

During the first few days of my stay, we visited with lots of doctors and nurses.  With the exception of the ER doctor, most of the hospital staff was so friendly.  It is true what they say about people in the South.  In general, they are hospitable, super friendly and love to talk as if you’ve been friends with them all their lives. The nurses were even friendly and kind to this lady from “liberal” Oregon who was supposedly admitted for an STD J.  But when Sunday rolled around, the situation was not looking good for me.  My primary doctor at the hospital, an OB/GYN, met with Wes and me early that morning.  She had been monitoring me now for a few days and visiting with us pretty regularly.  She sat us down and said, I would like to re-do your tests, with your permission.  My gut feeling tells me this is not an STD.  You are not responding well, and your vitals are not good.  You are developing pneumonia.  Not only this, but you seem like a very different couple then the couples we normally see with this “problem”.

This was a pretty bold decision on her part.  But of course, we knew the diagnosis was wrong, so we agreed to have the tests re-taken.  They started testing me on Sunday afternoon.  The results came back.  Indeed, my appendix WAS the issue.  It was leaking infection all over inside my abdomen.  The appendix needed to be surgically removed as soon as possible.  Wes’s sister had a neighbor who, just a few years earlier, had died from an infected appendix that had been leaking for days without anyone knowing it.  We were somewhat alarmed, but at the same time, glad to finally have the right diagnosis. 

That evening, I went into surgery.  The next thing I remember, I was waking up, and felt like I couldn’t breathe.  People were hovering right over my face, trying to put a mask on me; it was an oxygen mask.  The mask was covering up my face.  All I knew is I couldn’t breathe and in my delirium, I thought it was because something was covering my nose and mouth and blocking my air.  So, I did what anyone normal person would do – I kept pulling the mask off.  The anesthesiologist would place it back on…I would pull it off.  I don’t remember this, but the anesthesiologist told Wes that I got really rough with him.  So uncharacteristic of me!  Turns out, my pneumonia was pretty severe by this time, and I was not breathing well at all.  The surgeon and anesthiologist immediately met with Wes, and said I needed to be brought to ICU.  It was a scary time for him, being told I was not breathing well and not doing as well as they had hoped.  And it was a scary time for my family and friends at home who were being kept apprised of the situation through texts and Facebook.

I did stabilize however, over the next 24 hours.  The surgery recovery would have been fairly straight-forward, but the pneumonia had really taken hold.  I was required to spend 5 more days in the hospital, receiving breathing treatments every few hours, close supervision, and antibiotics.  I don’t remember a lot during this time, except coughing and not being able to breathe well.  One thing I do remember very vividly though.  Sometime after surgery, I walked into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and what I saw was a different person staring back at me!  They had pumped me so full of fluids, and the fluids had been retained, for the most part.  I had gained at least 30 pounds.  If I were not so sick, I am sure this would have been very alarming to me!  The staff assured me that the weight would all come off eventually, and I would look normal again.  Wes did not know whether to laugh or cry!  My normal frame was now twice as big, at least it seemed that way to us.  When I finally was released from the hospital, none of my regular clothes even remotely fit.  I remember Wes taking a dress of mine, and stretching it out as hard as he could.  I was able to squeeze into it then.  And I had a pair of boots, that I could just barely fit my feet into.  My legs were so swollen I could hardly walk.  All this was so ironic, since I had hardly eaten anything for almost 2 weeks. 

We were given permission to fly home a few days after my release from the hospital.  I waddled through the airport, still so swollen and hardly able to walk.  It was humiliating, looking that way and having to walk through an airport.  When I walked through the door of my house, my kids were there.  I know they felt bad, but they couldn’t help but laugh at my appearance.  It was quite a shock to them!  Sure enough though, the water weight came off and I went back to normal.

I relate this experience to add another layer to all the experiences we have been through that have taught us great appreciation for health and life, and family.  And for the prayers of the saints who were lifting me up continually during this time.  I am very thankful for the people at home who were praying.  The whole situation could have turned out differently – in a bad way.  It took me a few more weeks to fully recover from pneumonia.  My church family provided meals for my family and me during this time.  And once again, we came through a trial with a testimony of God’s goodness to us, and of his rescue from a dangerous, even life-threatening situation. J


  1. you forgot to add that you spent time in hospital after you got home....

  2. Yes, that's right. I will modify the story....