Reports of My Death Are…Yada, Yada, Yada

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K8EDID  1   – GRIM REAPER 0

I apologize, especially to all my new followers, who signed up expecting at least an occasional post from me, but I’ve been out of commission for quite some time.  While one might think that illness, hospitalization and recuperation might result in a plethora of blog fodder – I remember so little and was so drugged up that I don’t even really trust the memories that I do have.  Here, in a nutshell, is the synopsis:

I was walking from the bedroom to my home office when I was doubled over with an excruciating pain in my abdomen.  I could not straighten up.  I could not take a deep breath.  Over the next 8 hours, I vomited (violently) the last thing I had eaten – a PB&J sandwich.  The sandwich came up one single, solitary cell at a time.

At 4 in the morning, I grabbed my stethoscope and listened to my abdomen.  Silence.  Crickets.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Bowel sounds are usually a symphony of tinkling, rumbling, gurgling, burbling and squeaking sounds.  Silence is not good.  I could not swallow my own saliva without wretching violently.  So I did what sounded like a good idea at the time.  I left my husband and dog sleeping in the bedroom and drove myself to the local hospital.

I was admitted and a round of tests began.  I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva, but they brought me two large containers of barium to drink.  Fat freakin’ chance, Doc.  Scans, scopes, x-rays, poking, prodding, listening and guessing led to the conclusion that my intestines had twisted themselves into a knot. A tube was placed into one of my nostrils and passed down my throat into my stomach to suck out all the stuff that was making me vomit almost continuously.  It was every bit as uncomfortable as it sounds.

Sometime during the tests and procedures, my stomach began bleeding and I aspirated a large amount of blood into my lungs.  The resulting pneumonia landed me in the ICU.  The small-town docs decided they could not handle the surgery that I would need so I was transferred 100 miles to a major metropolitan hospital ICU.  All that I remember about that ambulance ride is that the attendant who rode in the back with me had BO and farted a lot.  I also thought I heard him snoring at one point, but I could have been hallucinating.

My lungs were so compromised that I could not have tests done to help the surgical team decide on a course of action.  At one point I had oxygen delivered by both face mask and nasal canula and I was receiving the maximum respiratory support that one could receive short of being placed on a ventilator.  The days and nights dragged on – I was hospitalized 13 days total – most of that in ICU.  I had nothing to eat or drink for 10 days, and after 7 days they finally started artificial nutrition through an IV line.  Everyone who listened to my abdomen did not look me in the eye – I would watch their faces intently.  To their credit – no one sugar-coated it.  When I would ask, they’d tell me there were no sounds at all.

My lungs cleared enough that I could have the final scope needed to determine the surgical procedures required.  Unfortunately, I would need anesthesia and my fragile lungs weren’t up to the standard drugs, so I was given an animal tranquilizer, Ketamine, as an anesthetic agent.  The hallucinations that accompanied that drug were vivid, horrifying, and when I came to I was screaming.  The scope revealed that in addition to the intestinal twisting, the surgical procedure I had last summer had “slipped” and would need to be redone.

That evening the surgeon sat on the edge of the bed, took my hand, and explained that he wasn’t entirely sure my stomach could be saved.  On all the scans, tests, x-rays and scopes, my stomach appeared only about the size of a walnut.  Doc was concerned that my intestinal tract had been compromised for 10 days by lack of blood supply and he just wasn’t sure what he would find.  I put my faith and trust in him and God, and waited for the surgery.

I made it through the surgery, during which my stomach was examined inside and out and was declared to be healthy tissue.  I spent one night on a ventilator because they could not wake me up in the recovery room, but once the breathing tube was removed, I made great progress.  Three days after surgery, I was discharged.

I am home, recuperating, and trying to regain some strength.  I am still so weak I cannot even open a bottled water by myself.  But I am home.  With my beloved Sweet Cheeks who rarely left my side during those 13 days and my sweet pup.

I won that round.

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69 Comments

Filed under General Mumblings, Uncategorized

69 responses to “Reports of My Death Are…Yada, Yada, Yada

  1. KBT

    Wow. Healing prayers are coming your way. Slow and steady… Slow and steady…

  2. Holy fucking shit. Sorry for the profanity, but I read this with my hands gripping the arms of my chair. Please heal. Please get better.

    • It truly was horrifying, and that’s just the parts I remember. I am getting stronger, a little more each day. It’s going to be a long process, though.

  3. #1 Son

    Don’t make me come down there. No, seriously. I don’t like that God forsaken state. Seems like the only reason I go down there is to attend a wedding, or to bury a family member; both of which require me to put on a tie. I hate ties. So, again; please don’t make me come down there.

  4. Glad to hear from you! Get well!

  5. Take care. All we K8edid fans are rooting for you :-).

  6. Katy, that sounds horrible! Please get well.

    • It was awful. Even worse than having nothing to eat or drink for 10 days was not being able to wash my hands for 10 days…that was unbearable. The first time I finally stood at the bathroom sink to wash my hands, I probably washed them for 5 minutes. And who knew ice chips could be the most delicious thing in the world?

  7. Oh, my! May you keep kicking his ass for many years to come, preferably in much milder challenges. Thinking of you.

    • Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. It was an ordeal, for sure, and one that I’m glad I somehow, some way, managed to come out on top of.

  8. Very good account of your experiences, without being overally morbid… lol

    You came through for a reason… Find it and do it I say!! Unless you already found it, and were doing it, and this was an annoying hiccup to try and throw you off course!

    Either way, I wish you a speedy recovery and hope this never ever happens again!

    • I hope it never happens again, as well. It laid me low – I am still exceedingly weak. An annoying hiccup is an interesting way to look at the whole situation.

  9. Good heavens what you’ve gone through. What amazes me in your post is that you still manage to describe this horrific journey with a sense humor!
    All my good wishes are with you. 😀

    • I somehow kept my sense of humor through it all. I convinced one of the nurses to tell my husband, when he called for his report before going to bed, that I had run off with the day shift nurse (a very nice and highly competent male nurse). I fought hard in the hospital – embracing the breathing exercises, marching in place beside the bed when no one was available to walk with me, and trying to do all the things that would help. The pneumonia was very bad – my doc said my chest x-ray was one of the worst he had seen in a very long time.

      Thanks for the good wishes – they are appreciated.

  10. First and foremost Rest and feel better soon! You have had a hard fight! I have a Healthcare background in both CCU and ER, I too have had ABD Pain and constant changes in bowel activity…thankfully with sounds, no Stethoscope needed it sounds like a Thunderstorm in there without one. I go from a fat and bloated feeling, to ALL water stools, silly me has ignored the obvious until now. I have even started myself on probiotics, which have seemed to make the bloating worse…Us Stupid Healthcare people are so quick to diagnose someone else, it is what we do, But when it comes to ourselves we think we are crazy and don’t want to bother anyone with something we can fix…That being said I am going to the Doctor tomorrow. And only cause you made me realise something else beyond my grasp is at work here. I have questioned IBS, C Diff, Colitis, and as simple as my diet…Thank You so much for posting this!

    And please feel better soon Slow and steady wins the race, but your Health Insurance throws this in your face…

    • I am glad you decided to get checked out. Health care workers are quick to dismiss symptoms or diagnose/treat ourselves. I am fortunate that I have excellent health insurance. There was no doubt in my mind, though, that this was a medical emergency and I knew I needed help.

      • I am glad you were able to sense that many do not…turns out my belly issues are IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome…Best of luck on your recovery!!!!!

  11. Holy hot tamales! That was some kind of serious. Glad to hear you’re on the mend…I was wondering if you’d won the lottery and decided not to share. Of course you’d never do anything like that…

  12. Yikes! You’ve been through hell. Glad you are on the mend and welcome back. Take extra special care of yourself.

    • It actually felt a lot like hell, as I imagine it.

      I am taking extra special care of myself. I sleep nearly as much as my dog – and my beloved is adept at nagging/watching/encouraging/helping.

  13. Wow! Sending all the healing thoughts I can your way. Take care. ❤

    • Thank you, Lisa. I am, of course, impatient with recovery…but nearly 2 weeks spent being the sickest I have ever been has completely zapped my strength and stamina. I don’t think I’ll ever take being able to eat and drink for granted again, or being able to easily draw a deep breath…

  14. Good lord! Katy, how scary, and I can imagine the pain you suffered. I will be thinking and praying and whatever else I can do for you to help you heal faster. Wish I lived closer. I suppose it’s a good sign you could write this post. Take it slow and easy.

    • I wish you lived closer, too, now that I can laugh without pain.

      They say that visceral (gut) pain is the worst and I have to say that I think I agree. The pain scales don’t even begin the contain a descriptor for the pain I was having – and I’m glad that part is behind me.

      One of the things I kept thinking was “I wish my students could see this…” but of course, I wouldn’t have wanted them to actually see me naked!!! It was bad enough that the first ICU I was in was one at which I was formerly employed. People I knew took care of me…very bizarre.

      I thank you for the healing thoughts and prayers – Lord knows I need them!

  15. This getting older stuff aint for wusses. I say that almost every day, and it has more meaning each time. Glad you’re back! We’re patient, take your time recuperating.

    • You are so right about that. Twenty years ago I would have been out riding my bike or climbing ladders or some other such foolishness 2 weeks after surgery. This time, I am so weakened that I have no choice but to take it slow and easy. I occupy my time by editing the liquid diet list of foods they gave me to include jello shots and dreaming about solid foods (watching cooking shows all day is probably not a good idea at this point).

  16. Wow! What a scarey ordeal you’ve endured. Glad to hear you are on the mend. Take care and get well soon!

    • Scary is right – I was truly frightened…and I don’t know whether that was helped or hindered by being a nurse. I knew that things were bad, and I truly worried for 10 days that I would lose all or most of my stomach and parts of my intestines. Things turned out well – and I consider myself lucky even though it was a very rough 2 weeks. Thanks for the well wishes!

  17. See? THIS is when I don’t like the blogosphere. What if you just disappeared? We each need to appoint some other blogger to let others know about shit like this. We could have sent ecards, emails. Geez! Glad you are feeling well enough to still write my pants off.

    • You’re right – we should have some sort of check up on/check in from time to time system in place. Sometimes people just take a break, and more than once I’ve checked up on someone who was just taking a bloggy vacation. Other times bloggers I’ve followed have just stopped altogether and I wonder what became of them…

  18. Holy nose tube, Batman!

    Katy, I’m glad you are on the mend but wish this story was simply the product of your imagination. Perhaps you can spend time imagining it as a Ketamine-derived nightmare.

    Get better. And stick up a post from time to time to let us know you’re mending.

    • The Ketamine was a trip, literally and figuratively. I have never, ever had such vivid, horrendous hallucinations in my life. The anesthesiologist apologized in advance and tried to warn me, but nothing could have prepared me for that. The only saving grace was that it was gentle on my lungs (except for the screaming part) – but maybe that was therapeutic as well?

      I’ll try to post from time to time – but I’m not promising anything.

  19. That sounds like quite and ordeal. It’s no wonder you couldn’t blog through all of it. The pneumonia was like adding insult to injury! Glad to hear you’re back home and back to writing even if it will be awhile before you’re back to “normal”. Take care of yourself!

    • Being home is the very best thing in the whole world. Even if everything is covered with dust and dog hair.

      I was entirely too sick to blog, and that’s pretty darned sick. The pneumonia certainly delayed surgery – they couldn’t do the tests they needed to do because I was dependent on oxygen by face mask, and they needed access via my mouth and throat. Every time they removed the oxygen I tanked…if the surgery could have been done shortly after admission, my recovery likely would have been faster and smoother – but it is what it is – and I was lucky to have competent caregivers and practitioners.

  20. Congratulations for surviving. You know it’s Come up fodder for posting when you can’t Breathe, can’t think , think too much, can’t sleep, can’t NOT sleep, there’s a way to many drugs and not enough drugs to make it all go away. Be gentle with yourself. God isn’t finished with you yet.

    I’ve been it will take the take four months to maybe a year for me to recover from my recent excitement. In all the anxiety and pain and general struggle what I have finally come to understand is that I am exactly where I need to be right now. So are you. Be in the moment and be blessed

    • I read that you broke your shoulder and needed surgery (at least I think I remember reading that).

      “…when you can’t Breathe, can’t think , think too much, can’t sleep, can’t NOT sleep, there’s a way to many drugs and not enough drugs to make it all go away…” perfectly describes my 2 weeks hospital stay.

      Here’s some healing thoughts and prayers coming your way, as well. Take care.

  21. Wow! You’ve been to hell and back. So glad you made it through the ordeal and are slowly healing. Sending lots of positive energy your way, Katy.

  22. Oh my dear, what you have been through! I am praying, truly, for a full recovery for you. Just rest and don’t worry about anything else except getting better. Us followers will be here when you are stronger, just heal and take care of yourself.

  23. Whoa! Wow…geez, gosh…so glad you are on the mend…what an unexpected excursion to hell. Reading your tribulation gave me an appreciation that had slipped my mind today. Peace and good thoughts to you.

  24. Damn! I was going to email you the other day about all the fun, probably illegal things you were out doing instead of blogging. Glad I suppressed the urge.

    I’m so, so sorry for all you’ve been through, and so, so glad you kicked death where it hurts. You’ll be in my prayers for a full and fast recovery, sweetie.

    • Illegal? Moi? Surely you jest? (And don’t call me Shirley)

      I only wish I had been off having fun. I don’t remember so much about the hospital stay, and I think that is probably a good thing. I am glad that you missed me – I probably would have enjoyed the e-mail, nonetheless.

      Thanks for your prayers. I am hoping to recover enough for a trip north before having to return to work. Shall we meet at our favorite Wendy’s?

  25. Holy crap. I was wondering where you’d been but never would have guessed any of that.
    But I am trying to picture Sweet Cheeks here….he wakes up, the dog is still asleep and you’re……gone? Or, he wakes up to a phone call, realizes you’re not in bed beside him and….they tell him you’re in the ER on your way to the big city hospital?? Oh, I know you went through hell and back, but I also feel bad for him. It is very hard to watch someone else go through a crisis. Hug him from me, and a big hug to you as well. Take care. Check in once in a while. Enjoy the day.

    • I didn’t say it was a good idea, I said it sounded like a good idea at the time. Yes, I left him sleeping in the bedroom (although how he slept through all the vomiting I’ll never know). My rationale was that it was too early to disrupt the entire household and I knew there was a long ordeal ahead of us. I figured I would spare him the admission process, and early consultations and tests – there wasn’t anything for him to do. I did call him after I had been admitted. I do not know how he sat there, day after day, patiently waiting for me to wake up enough to talk to, or waiting for the doctors. He is quite squeamish about many things, but he held his own through it all. It was an immense sense of comfort to see him there in my room on those occasions when I was awake/alert enought to recognize him, and I could feel his presence even when I was out of it. I have delivered the hug as you requested!

  26. I am so glad you are home and recovering, albeit slowly. I am only bothered by one thing, why in all hades hot fires did you drive yourself to the hospital don’t they have 911 where you live?

    Please get well, you are missed and much loved.

    • I really don’t know why I drove myself to the hospital. I was up and walking around. We do have 911, but I really didn’t think I needed it at that point. I guess I felt strong enough to make it on my own…and perhaps I wasn’t thinking too clearly. Thanks for the kind words.

  27. So glad you are home and are recovering. You are in my prayers.

  28. My God, Katie. This is terrifying. As a nurse, you were way too aware of the risks – that always makes it worse. I’m so glad you made it through all this, that your stomach was healthy, that Sweet Cheeks is there for you and that you’ve let us know what’s been going on. I hope your impressive progress continues… because girl, you need a drink.

    • Yes, I do need a drink. And some sunshine. I am incredibly pale.
      I’ve been reading blogs, but not commenting much. I’ve read your posts and am sorry for your heartache. Thanks for checking in with me – I hope to be back to “normal” blogging and commenting soon.

  29. Healing hugs and thoughts winging their way across the world. Glad you are recovering but do please remember to be kind to yourself at this time. Take it easy and let others including Sweet Cheeks look after you.

    • He’s a very good nurse! and companion, though he does tend to nag a little. I’m taking it very easy, trying to enjoy the liquid diet, and getting a little stronger each day.

  30. Oh my GOD, Katy! How terrifying! Wow. I am so, so, SO glad you’re home recuperating now. What a horrific ordeal – I can barely believe it. I’m sending you lots and lots of hugs, and if you need anything, you know where to find me.

    • I do know where to find you!! Terrifying is a good descriptor of the whole ordeal. I really was frightened. Thanks for the cyber-hugs – they are much appreciated.

  31. Katy, you sure have been through the mill. I keep thinking, though, of the song from the movie, Burlesque, “You Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down.” Take care of yourself. It’s gotta get better sometime! 🙂

    • That’s right! You can’t keep a good girl down (but you can drug her into submission!!). Anyway, I’m healing a little each day and the nightmare is fading a little. It has been a rough year, and I’m looking forward to things getting better soon.

  32. I am so sorry to hear you have been through such an ordeal! I can see how you would be thankful to be home. Sending good & healing wishes your way.

  33. Chatted with you a bit at Peg’s place. Just read this post and wow! What a horrible scare. So gad to hear that you are home recovering. Rest up and I look forward to following you. 🙂

  34. Pingback: Killing Me Softly with His Pills… | k8edid

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