Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Survived H1N1 2009

Around this time last year, I got very sick.
I was sick for over a month, and it took a few months to recover.  The diagnosis: viral pneumonia in both lungs (one lung completely full, the other ½ full) and H1N1.  I was sick for approximately 5 weeks total (2 ½ weeks before I went to the hospital.)  A total of 10 days in ICU : 5 days in a coma, 5 in a step-down ICU unit.  Feeding tubes, breathing tubes, a double dose of an experimental drug due to the severity of my case, a pick line in my arm for blood, a catheter.  I suffered from low blood pressure (not normal for me), plummeting oxygen levels, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome : meaning my lungs were failing,) a blood clot in my left lung, and ICU Psychosis (I was hallucinating and could not differentiate what was a dream and what was real.)

Total hospital stay: 17 days.  I was lucid only 7 of those 17 days.

My poor family went through so much.
My husband and I were having marital problems.  Then all of a sudden, his wife nearly dies. That changes a person in a big way. He was a wreck the entire time…especially the first 5 days I was in a coma.  He had to be treated for H1N1 because I gave it to him.  He came to visit me every day even though I don’t remember the first 7 days.  He would go to work for 12 hours (45 minute drive time each way) and then come to the hospital to see me in the evenings when he was cleared to come see me again.

My mother is married to a doctor.  They drove 4 ½ hours immediately when Todd called to give them the heads up on what was going on.  They had to go back home because Doc had to go back to work.  Then they got the call that my lungs were failing.  Doc took off work and drove up with my mom again to see me.  My mom said that she didn’t care if the nurses said I couldn’t hear her, she talked to me the whole time I was in the coma. (Oh great, now I’m getting teary eyed.)  She didn’t give up.  She was so strong.

 It was such a blessing that Doc was around to help out.  You know how Dr’s are – they talk so fast that they don’t quite explain what is going on for normal people to understand. Well, my doctors would talk to Doc, and Doc would then explain to my mother, father and Todd what was happening to me.  Doc had a conference to go to, but he cancelled it to be with his “daughter.” 

My father and his wife came around every couple of days to check up on me.  They are always fun to be around. Always joking and laughing.  I remember seeing my father cry, and that killed me inside.

It’s almost been a year since it’s happened.  My body has been through so much.  I am not glad it happened, but I can tell you that one gains a whole new perspective on life after an ordeal like this.  I remember watching a Nationwide Commercial and bawling my eyes out while in the hospital.  You realize how much everyone means to you and how much they love you. 

There has not been a single day that has gone by since I was released last November that I don’t think about that hospital.  Fond memories of the amazing people who made me well again, the laughs I had with some of the nurses, the walks around the hospital with the physical therapist, my first  hair-wash after 10 days in ICU (a nurse went above and beyond to do this for me.  She offered to do it without anyone even asking,) some of the quirky things that happened, and even the things I want to act like never happened (embarrassing moments!) I only have one scar from this ordeal, and it is on the inside of my arm from the pick line.  But this visit will forever be etched into my heart.

God is good!

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