Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Catching up

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, probably the worst place I possibly could have, and then I disappeared and didn't write anything for a week and a half. Sorry about that. 

My brother sent me these pictures (taken by my dad shortly before I was sent away in the ambulance) and I wanted to post them so that 1) you could all bear witness to the fact that I waited way too long between dye jobs (look at those roots!) and 2) so you could see for yourself how fantastic my family is. 

Since Adam was about two hours away and several miles underground at work, both my brother Tommy and my dad were with me in the ER that night. They took turns wrapping me in blankets, getting me water and rubbing my back which provided some relief from the pain. Tommy stayed with me right up until I was wheeled out of the hospital and then he, my dad and Adam all drove up behind the ambulance. The men that I have in my life? Fantastic, I tell you! They really don't get any better. 


You can read more about the ER visit here

The days following that ambulance ride were some of the worst of my life. I was sleep deprived, in a terrible amount of pain and absolutely terrified. I was being well taken care of and I know I must have been on some good drugs because there's a solid week that is just a blur in my memory, but apparently I was in pretty bad shape.

Visitors were in and out of my room, some that I don't remember seeing at all. I have a collection of saved voicemails, facebook messages and entire text conversations that I have no clear recollection of sending/receiving. Adam and my cousin Niki laugh about how I'd be sitting up in bed having a conversation when all of a sudden they'd look over and I'd be sound asleep, still sitting upright. I actually fell asleep while I was going pee one day (fortunately Adam was right there to wake me up/make sure I didn't fall off the toilet and crack my head open) and apparently I thought it was hilarious enough to re-tell that story multiple times a day... several days in a row. Again, I blame the drugs.



At some point during the first few days of my stay they discovered that not only did I have multiple blood clots throughout my lungs, but a clot had also attached itself to the tip of my port (in my heart). My doctors began talking about removing my port because some of the other symptoms I was having led them to believe it was infected. (Since I'd already received antibiotics at that point, all the blood cultures came back negative so really, there's no way we'll ever know if it was infected or not.) The problem at that point was that pulling my port would risk dislodging that clot and possibly sending it down into my lungs. Since it was considerably larger than the clots already in my lungs, we had no idea what further issues that might cause.
Ultimately the potential benefits outweighed the risks and my port was pulled. Fortunately the surgery was a total success and everything went as well as it possibly could have.

After several days of being in the hospital (receiving more medications and being hooked up to more monitors than I thought was possible) things finally started looking up. I remember thinking one day, "I can actually feel myself getting better today!"

My brother Jason drove up from San Diego and stayed with me the night of the port removal, and then again the night after that. It was great to see him and actually get to spend some time with him, though the circumstances definitely could have been better. He was around to witness some of the worst and most painful moments for me, which probably wasn't easy for him, but he was also the one who got to witness my most drugged-up moments which will provide entertainment for years to come, I'm sure. ("Did you eat a good candy?") Jason, if you're reading this I want you to know how much it means to me that you were there. I'm lucky to have you and I love you so, so much! Thanks, Big Brother.

This is probably the WORST picture ever taken of me, but it was a
momentous occasion  -- I finally had an appetite and needed some
 hash browns! Also, this was about five days into my stay and
it was the first time I'd ventured out of my room. 
I'm home now. I've actually been home for a week, but things have been so different this time. I usually come home feeling pretty great, but this time I came home feeling very blah. My lung function was significantly below my baseline when I left the hospital, but I'm told that's to be expected. Apparently blood clots take weeks to dissolve and reabsorb, and as long as they are in there, my lungs won't be able to function properly. Once the clot issues are resolved, I can start working on getting my lung function back up where it needs to be.

Treatment for blood clots, as one might assume, is blood thinners. I could (and probably will) write an entire blog post about my experiences so far, but for now let's just say that blood thinners are going to make the next few months very interesting.

These were taken when I was feeling quite a bit better.
Adam drove up after a graveyard shift one morning so Morgan
and I spent the afternoon doing crafts while he took a nap. 
The best news is, well, first of all that I made it! I'm alive and (relatively) well. Also great news? This incident shouldn't have any long-term effect on my health. I should be able to bounce back and do just fine. This was by far the most critical and terrifying experience of my entire life, but some good did come of it. When a person finds themselves lying in a hospital bed, forced to examine their life and ask what they'd do differently if they could, it really opens the door for change... and guys, I can't wait to tell you some of the things that are changing around here!

5 comments:

  1. Jenny,

    Glad to hear you are recovering well and back home again with the kids. Hoping next year will be "sunshine and lolipops" for you because you certainly deserve it after this.

    Anxious to hear some of those drugged-up moment stories (if you can share)along with the Livingston changes!!

    Take care and get better!!

    Larry (GA)

    ReplyDelete
  2. How horrific! I am glad to hear it won't have a long term effect of your health, but make sure you take it easy until you are back to 100%

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hang in there. You can do this. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I know that you want to watch that little girl of yours grow up, so you will do whatever is necessary to see that happen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yucky...Im so terrified of blood clots. Ive had a few in my piccs, and had to give myself shots of Lovenox (is that part of the "fun" you speak of? along with the constant checking of levels?) Anyways I really just wanted to say that I love the picture of you with the hashbrowns, and what looks like 10 strips of bacon, two giant milks ect. Thats a meal fit for a cyster! I hope you didnt have to split it with anyone!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just came across your blog and wanted to say that I'm so happy you are doing better. I can't imagine how scary that was. It sounds like you have a great support system!

    Amy

    ReplyDelete

First of all, thanks for reading my blog. Whether you visit regularly or this happens to be your first time here, I'd love to hear from you!