On vent for 20 days
Femoral artery blew
At least 6 units of blood
Hemoglobin and blood pressure tanked
In hospital for a month and a half
Huge wound to pack and heal.
Delusions really scary and confusing.
Asthma kicked up
Glasses lost, adding to disorientation.
Shots, needles pic line, feeding tube, blood sugar monitored, high protein diet now for wound healing. Changing packing hurts and stings.
Smell of bleach, lots of tears, but has to be done to heal.
Who survives that? I guess, me. Why? Prayers. Being there for Dakota and Jori. Chris. Life will always be different now. I see pictures of people who have died. Many younger and healthier looking than me. Why didn't they make it?
May or may not walk again. May or may not work again. Definitely have some serious PTSD. Don't know what other damage, physically or psychologically. Society has changed while I've been gone. So many people have died. Almost 100,000, just in this country. Everyone scared of everyone. Dakota keeps running away from Gracehaven. Doesn't understand the danger she puts herself in that this is not how life should be. Can't talk to her. She sometimes will call to ask if I'm still alive. Everyone isolated and doing everything online. Church on Zoom. No contact in person. 6 feet apart if out. Stores have acrylic barriers for cashiers. Everyone knows what PPE stands for now. My practice was sold. New building, New people. When\if I can go back. Dawn and Steve made them promise I would have a job if I can go back.
For me, my existence has been nurses and doctors in hazmat suits with their own battery operated air purifiers and hoses strapped to them. Can't see their faces. The hum of their machines. Their muffled voices. "It’s going to be ok; you're going to be ok. We're here to take care of you." Gastric tube annoying and painful. Squirted medicine into it. Flushing pic line all the time. Once I can drink, hot tea, lots of it for my throat. Lots of water and begging for ice. Swallowing therapy and thickened liquids, memory testing, confusing but better. Shaky. Can't write. Couldn't figure out phone and kindle. Zero modesty left. Diarrhea. More diarrhea. Burns. Toxins coming out. Allergic reaction to some med. Itching and burning all over. Peeling lizard now. Constant itching and peeling. Weird stuff on skin that wasn't there before. Came back to a different body. Too bad it isn't one without arthritis. Can't have everything I guess. Blue cream soothing. Hair is nasty. Sweet girl worked hard to get huge mat out when I moved here. Washed with cap 3 times so far. Doesn't dry clean. Stringy. Waiting. Endless waiting. To get help to shift in bed, to get washed up, to brush teeth, to get meds. Meds very confusing. Each move, each change in shift, communication gets lost. Things taste weird. Really salty or like nothing. Sat up on side of bed 2 days ago. No control over legs. Foot turned in and down. Telling me it's a contracture. May straighten out so I can walk, may not. My surgeon who did 4 surgeries on it would throw a fit. All his work to keep me walking. Can get changed and roll in bed with one person helping now. Elderly man down the hall, "owie, ouch, owie." Another man at hospital talking constantly. Sounded like Al. Even mentioned his girls, couple of times something about pharmacy. Jori said he's ok. Was thankful it wasn't him. Mom fell and broke her hip and then her arm. In nursing home, but wants to go home. Can't be alone anymore.
Cried when I felt outside air on transport here. Didn't know if I would feel fresh air again. Jori can be outside window now. Can't touch her. Held her hand at wound doctor on way back to transport. Felt so good, even if through layers of sleeve and sheet. Both cried. Being alone is so hard. Helpless. No voice to call for help. Just push the button and wait.
Everything cancelled. Pride, Indy race, sports. Corn hole competition on tv. Can stay 6 feet apart. Virtual racing. No football fans in stadium. May or may not play this season at all. Everyone in masks. Getting creative. Everyone stay at home. Puzzles sold out online. No TP in stores. Better now or still panic? Foods touch free. Carry out, drive through, delivery. Places trying to have income. Kids doing school online from home; people working from home. Doctor appointments telemedicine. People can't hear me on phone. Guy in room next door scared of my coughing. Want to write Cota a letter. Maybe can now if I can do this. What to say? Love you. Remember who we brought you up to be. You are not your mom. Please stop self destructing! You deserve to have a good life. Gracehaven people so committed. So many prayers. Life can get better for both of us.
Wish I could sleep. Cough if I doze. Don't know how to stop it. Hot tea, hot tea, hot tea. Iris when Dakota was missing "we need tea, that's it, we need tea." Crying over puzzles. Constant detectives and questions. Cindy Fath sitting with us. So caring. Laid out on floor crying and praying when found out about D.
How can this all be real? What happened? What are we to learn? That we don't have the control we think we have? That life can change in a second and we have to find the strength from within ourselves, the people in our lives, faith to step forward. I didn't know I was surviving. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was held up and carried forward by doctors and nurses; a vent shoving air into my lungs when I couldn't do it for myself. I was held up by God, prayers, people loving me through my vacuum sealed reality. I won't forget the whooshing, blowing, sound of the door opening to my room. I was toxic but they still came. They still cared and fought for me.
I tell my clients to think about the big picture outside themselves. About a picture I saw of a Japanese man squatting in the sand with nothing around him. The caption said it was where he lived and his family had been swept out to sea. Was he considering walking into the water to join them? I like to think he was grieving and looking for that strength to stand and turn away from the old life and build a new life, however hard and painful that would be.
What will this new life be like? For me. For all of us. Thank you all for our church family and the kindness and care you give. Thank you for taking care of Jori, for loving us. In my job I grieve for those who don't have community, a living extended family to hold them up in prayer, to feed them when they can't feed themselves. To really mean it when they ask, "how can I help?" It is a gift like no other.
So I guess we'll figure it out together. Within ourselves, with God and our community. Much love to you all.