Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Happened To Me-Going Through Hell

Hi all. It's been a while, yes, I know. Here is the Cliff Notes version of what happened to me.

I went in the hospital on Easter Sunday with Pneumonia,and 105 degree temperature. spent 10 days there. Went home to my parents house because I was too weak to climb the stairs to get into my apartment.

About a week and a half after I had been at their home, I woke up one night in the middle of the night like I usually do to empty my bladder. Only I couldn't rise from the bed, it felt like all my muscles had turned to jelly. I finally managed to get out of bed and promptly fell down. I was on the floor for about 3 hours. When my father woke up about 6 am he heard me shout and he and my mom tried to get me up. They had to practically carry me back to the bed. Of course I wet the carpet.

My mother called the p-doc and she said to go straight to the emergency room. I was examined, x rayed and sent up stairs to the hospital. I stayed there for four days, and got almost every test available, CAT scans (no, not a feline thing), MRI's, X rays. So much blood work I felt like my hands were sponges. I couldn't move the muscles in my mouth to eat, so I was hooked up to an IV. I couldn't move the muscles around my bladder, so I had a catherter. I spent four days in the hospital, and then they sent me to a rehabilitation hospital. I was moved in a wheelchair, in a special ambulance, because I could not walk, and could not move. I still had the catheter attached to me.

I spent 3 weeks in the Rehabilitation hospital. I had to learn how to walk again, how to move my arms again. I couldn't do anything for myself when I got there, I couldn't dress myself, put my hair up in a scunchie, hold a toothbrush, write my name (when I was admitted), and the worst (oh the ignomy) couldn't wash my self or go to the bathroom by myself. In fact, I went 10 days without making a bowel movement because the muscles down there refused to move. I cannot begin to describe that pain. I also threw out my back at the same time, as well.

I cannot tell you how much it makes you appreciate the small stuff. Taking your first steps in a walker. Being able to walk without falling down. Being able to stetch your arms so you can finally dress yourself. The delight in finding out you lost 43 lbs and none of your clothes fit anymore. The first time I was able to stand for a minute and take a quick shower, even with a walker was a big deal. And going to the bathroom by myself, oh that was heaven. Of course, need I forget, use my eyes (I was unable to see for a couple of weeks it was like I was legally blind), and speak. I could just reply in monosylabic words.

I left the hospital and spent 3 weeks at my mother's house where I was getting physical therapy every day and occupational therapy where I learned how to write again, (Use a pen) and move my hands to do simple things like brush my teeth.

When I was finally able to walk up the 17 stairs to get to my apartment, it was bliss. I hadn't seen Holly, my cat, in over 3 months It was sheer heaven to sleep in my bed, and after a couple of days I was able to sleep on my side! (I"ve always been a side sleeper).

I didn't have the dexterity to type for another 2 weeks, even though I was getting physical therapy for two and a half hours, five days a week. I also had problems with my eyes. It wasn't until last week where I was finally able to start reading. (A bookworm without reading is a terrible thing). I still do not have the upper body strength to take a bath- I cannot rise out of the tub. I still have problems washing my hair and taking showers, I can only stand for about one minute, without falling. Hence, my long hair was cut six inches, despite tears.

Well, I am back on line now and this whole experience has humbled me. It's brought me closer to my family and extended family (one uncle left and various cousins), who admire me for going through this. It's made me appreciate my friends more as well. Of course there is a lot more to tell, and I hope to do so later in this blog, but I said this would be the Cliff Notes version.

And what brought all this on? A reaction to an anti psych drug, Haldol, that I was taking because my new p-doc was trying to find something to work along with my Lithium. I am currently on Lithium and Cymbalta and everything is fine now. I'm in the best shape of my life since my twenties, and happier then I have ever been since then as well.

The things we do to stay well and deal with this illness.


Liz Spikol said...

Oh, Susan, I can't believe you went through all of that. I'm glad you're back and feel better. Sometimes coming out the other side makes all the difference.

Stephany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

Thank you! This means a lot considering it's from two of the strongest women I know!

Jazz said...

Susan, that is so scary! Did you know at the time what it was and that things would improve? I'm so glad you're on the road to recovery.

prin said...

are you experiencing any side effects from cymbalta? I want to try it but the literature is somewhat scarey. I'm glad you're back. you were missed :)

Not Very Anonymous Mom said...

omg, what a nightmare you've gone through! i'm so sorry you had to go through that, you are one tough cookie!

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