chronic illnessfaith

Life Changes: When A Trip To The Hospital Changes Your Life

Life With Chronic Illness: When A Trip To The Hospital Changes Your Life

As someone with chronic illness, I have been in the hospital more times than I can count on both of my hands but this last visit was life changing.

It was scary.

Life changing scary.

It all started very early on a Saturday morning. Like many other nights over the past year, I spent the night up sick and vomiting. I have continued to have issues sleeping (which only adds to the ever-present crushing fatigue of chronic illness), my GI system was definitely not a happy camper and I had one heck of a migraine. I was up for hours vomiting. Every time I would take a Zofran, it would immediately be back up along with anything else I tried to put in my body. John would come in routinely to check on me. I was growing weak and I knew I was becoming dehydrated.

I don’t remember anything else until the paramedics were trying to get me out of the bathroom floor.

Apparently, there was a point where I made it back to the bedroom and passed out. John was sleeping in the other room since I was sick so he could get some sleep and for some unknown reason to him at the time, he came into our room to check on me. He walked in to me projectile vomiting while passed out on my back in bed. He rolled me on my side and I continued to throw up but struggled to come to. He managed to get me to the bathroom and called 911. He worked on getting me cleaned up and somewhat alert while waiting on the EMTs to arrive.

The first thing I remember is being over the toilet crying and completely confused by what was happening. I struggled to comprehend the paramedics instructions and had no idea of what had just happened. The next thing I knew, I was in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and after what seemed like an eternity, they got an IV going and fluids and meds on board. It took John awhile to arrive as he had to get Abby situated and clean up the mess I had created. Most of that day was a haze with the exception of feeling like a pin cushion from what seemed like a constant stream of lab techs and nurses trying to draw blood (the initial IV would flush and give fluids but would not give blood). I have the crappiest veins on the planet on a normal day. Add in the dehydration and my veins are practically non-existent. Its not a great feature to have when you live with chronic illness. I would estimate that it took about ten tries before they were able to successfully draw initial labs.

In addition to the dehydration from the incessant vomiting, they were worried about my kidneys as my labs showed abnormalities so they were going to keep me at least overnight.

I was admitted on Saturday and was discharged on Monday (we spent Valentine’s Day in the hospital – how romantic). In that time, I blew through two IVs and became known throughout the hospital as the impossible stick. My arms were bruised badly from hands to shoulders. They were worried I may have aspirated vomit while I was passed out so I was on antibiotics the course of my stay and given nebulizer treatments (thankfully, my lungs stayed clear and there were no signs of infection). they were able to rule out a possible obstruction early on but wanted to do a CT Enterography to check for other issues.

When they sunk the last IV, it was a major struggle and the only way they were able to secure a line was by using a small gauge IV. I wasn’t on constant fluids at that point so it was able to get the job done until they decided to do the CT. They needed a larger gauge in the bend of my arm to run the IV contrast. This was the start of a quest and finding a vein proved as difficult a search as finding the holy grail. I saw I don’t know how many charge nurses followed by ICU nurses before the finally called in two anesthesiologists. Room 443 was hoppin’ place to be.

After the anesthesiologists couldn’t find a vein, it was decided that we needed to give my veins a break and we would just do the CT on an outpatient basis. It was very unlikely it would reveal anything that would need to lengthen my stay and at this point, I was completely on board. I was exhausted and ready to go home. They discharged me at the absolute worse time weather-wise as an ice storm was rolling in but after an icy and heart pounding drive home, I was so beyond glad to be back with my family. Chloe didn’t leave my side for hours. Just like Charlie would have done.

The hospital visit itself wasn’t anything extraordinary but it was what lead up to it that has left a heavy mark not only on my life but on John’s as well.

I think it was God that woke John up and had him check on me at just the right moment but we are both plagued with the thoughts of “what if?” What if he hadn’t walked in when he did? Would I have eventually woke myself up or would I have aspirated and choked and the outcome have gone another way? Would I still be here?

I cannot even begin to imagine what John had to see when he came in the room to find me passed out and vomiting. I cannot imagine the fear that had to be running rampant through his veins. Getting me to a safe place. The 911 call. The clean up. Trying to figure out what to tell Abby. I know that the fear and the nightmares are still there and probably will be for some time. I wish there was something I could say to make it all go away but I know there isn’t.

My fears rest in the unknown. All the things that happened that I have absolutely no memory of. How could I have been so sick but be too weak to know it? To know that there was a great possibility that had John not walked in when he did, he could have found me dead instead of throwing up. Or worse, Abby could have found me. Those are the thoughts that haunt me. I still hold my breath at the sound of a siren. My life is forever changed knowing how quickly things could have gone in a different direction.

Rising Above Adversity & Chronic Illness

As scary as this whole experience was and how much the thoughts still plague my mind, I cannot help but praise God. Praise God for waking John up in time. Praise God that I didn’t end up sicker than I did. Praise God for another day, another minute, another second of life. Praise God for the reminder that life is so, so precious and nothing, absolutely nothing, should be taken for granted. Praise God for another day to share my story and hope that it can touch someone else’s heart and help them know that they are not alone. And praise God that He can continue to make broken moments beautiful, the weak made strong, and scary situations an opportunity to share His grace, love, and mercy.

[bctt tweet=”Praise God that He can continue to make broken moments beautiful, the weak strong & scary situations an opportunity to share His grace”]

It has taken me so long to write this post for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t ready to relive it, and 2) how do you find the words? I wanted to share initially just as an update but it turned into something more. Something much deeper than I had anticipated. This was hard. Really hard. But it helped knowing that you guys are out there supporting me and praying for me. There are no words to describe my gratitude. My cup runneth over.

I want to find a way to mark this moment in my life for the good, not for the scary. I’ve thought that a new tattoo may be the way to go but I’m stuck on what to get. I’ve got so many ideas rolling around in my head. What would you suggest?

 

chronic illness

Game On: Taking Living Boldly to Heart

 

Living Boldly With Chronic Illness When The Going Gets Tough

If you don’t follow me on social media (which by the way – why aren’t you, hmmm?), I spent most of last night at the ER. I have been dealing with the “usual” – abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc. I had had an appointment at my endometriosis doctor, Dr H, and had felt so weak, nauseated, and in so much pain, she sent me straight to the ER. Of course, as you know, the doctor you get at the ER is the luck of the draw. You can get lucky (like I did at my last visit in November) but this time I wasn’t so lucky. I ended up with one of “those” doctors that automatically walked in with a chip on his shoulder. He was in the room no more than five minutes and never laying a hand on me and the only treatment I received was Benadryl (seriously?!). I did finally receive some Zofran after dry heaving for who knows how long and the fact that they could not get any blood from me because I was so dry until I had a liter of fluids in me. I have the massive bruises and poke marks to prove it. I know when your scans and your blood work comes back normal their hands are tied regardless of how hellish you feel so they have to send you on your way.

Needless to say, I was PISSED when I left. Not the most ladylike term but I was. Let’s not get into how angry my husband was.

There was good that came out of the whole ordeal.

I am tired of taking all of this laying down and waiting for some doctor to have a break through and find a way to not exact heal me, but find a way to at least make life more liveable.

Today, I am taking it into my own hands. I am taking my own advice to LIVE BOLDLY. For months it has sat as the tagline to my blog title. I am ready to make it more. I am ready to take the phrase: live boldly to heart. I am ready to grab the bull by the horns and get on this. I am FURIOUS in all sense of the word.

I was determined to get out of the house today. My husband and I finally bought a car (we have been a one car family for quite some time waiting on disability to finally roll through) and I am SO thrilled. Its not brand new or super fancy by the worlds standards but for me, it is absolutely perfect. Something I have always, always wanted was a moon roof and this has one! We were actually looking at other models on the lot and the salesman pointed out this one and after a false start on the test drive (we’ve never driven a car with a sports mode), we were sold and now its ours! YAY!

There is so much to be said for taking “Live Boldly” to heart. I am actually working with my favorite jewelry designer ever, Jenjer over at FJJ Creations, to come up with a necklace that says “Live Boldly” and I can’t wait to see what she has to come up with.

I am just so excited. I am full of energy (maybe not so good at almost 1am) but I am feel so revitalized, invigorated, and just ready to take on the world. There are some awesome things that can come out of being furious.

I hope you are are all ready to join me on this wild ride of living boldly with chronic illness that I am about to embark on! GAME ON!

 

 

chronic illness

Very Merry Un-Birthday To Me: Birthday Interrupted By Chronic Illness

VERY-MERRY-UNBIRTHDAY

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I am the type to draw out celebrating my birthday as long as possible. Not just a day but a week or a month even but not this year. I could title it, “Birthday Interrupted By Chronic Illness.” It was probably the worst birthday on record which is why its taken me so long to talk about it but instead of taking a more negative turn, in true Disney fashion, I’ve taken the liberty to hum an Alice in Wonderland tune while writing this post instead (don’t lie – its in your head now too!)

The morning of my birthday was spent in the CVS Minute Clinic where I was the first person in our area to be diagnosed with the flu since the start of the new flu year (which starts in August by the way). That wouldn’t have sucked as much if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband was in the hospital preparing to undergo surgery to remove a kidney stone and I was now unable to go see him. For countless hospital visits, John has always been by my side sleeping in those God awful chairs to be next to me and for the one time in our marriage that he is in the hospital I was helpless and couldn’t be there for him. My birthday was off to a miserable start.

When I went to the Minute Clinic, I was prepared to have an upper respiratory infection as that is where my pain was centered (it felt like barbed wire around my lungs) so I sported the face mask while I waited just in case. Once they took me in the room and the test machine beeped, they were extremely thankful that I had taken that precaution. I was sent home to be quarantined instead of having a party. Thank goodness my mom was here to save the day. She bleached and housed down the house with Lysol and bounced between caring for me, Abby, and John.

In the midst of all the flu stuff going on, I was also trying to deal with all of falling which meant having an EEG prepped with 24 hour sleep deprivation. On any of my “normal” days, its nothing for me to be up 24 hours straight since my body has seemed to have forgotten how to sleep normally but when I need to be awake 24 hours, all I wanted to do was sleep so my mom took a nap while Abby was in school and stayed up all night with me. It was like having a slumber party. I drank iced coffee and we watched ghost stories. Each show was an hour so it allowed us to count down an hour at a time.

The time for the EEG came and the test was over quickly. Once I was able to wash the electrode gunk out of my hair, I was ready to crawl into bed and sleep for days. I crawled into bed for days alright only it was because the test set off a massive migraine between the sleep deprivation and the test itself.

Finally about two weeks after my birthday, we were finally able to celebrate. My parents gave me an Ulta gift card and even with being bedbound, I had the joy of being able to shop online. Usually, I would have hit up the makeup “aisle” first but if you’ve noticed my new profile pic, I’ve finally changed my hair back dark from purple. I loved rockin’ the purple but I tried to lighten to a silvery-lilac and in the process totally fried my hair so I did a little splurging on haircare to try to nurse my tresses back to health. Luckily they had some good deals! Here are the goodies I scored:

BIRTHDAY-HAIR-HAUL

1- Bed Head Blow Out Golden Illuminating Shine Cream 

2- TIGI Bed Head Dirty Secret Rockaholic Dry Shampoo

3 – TIGI Catwalk Root Boost Spray

4- EVA*NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask

5- John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color

6- John Frieda Color Refreshing Gloss

I just dug everything out of the box so I can’t give you my opinions on the products just yet except for the Therapy Session Hair Mask. I have sung its praises in a previous favorites video and when Ulta had it on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free, it was time to stock up! I still can’t get over how delicious it smells! I purchased the John Frieda Hair Color & Refreshing Gloss on the recommendation of YouTuber Nicole Guerriero so I’ll update you on how it works! I have always loved TIGI/Bed Head products and they were running a promotion so I am especially excited to try out the illuminating shine cream. What’s even better is that with Ebates*, I earned cash back (referral link)! Holla!

So while my birthday didn’t work out exactly the way I had hoped it would, I still have so much to be thankful for. I have been blessed with another year of life. Another year to spend with my family. Another year to fall deeper in love with my husband and another year to watch my baby girl turn into a young lady who is growing so quickly but with a heart full of Christ. I am a lucky, lucky girl.