So, I’ve been gone a long time. I imagine my 4 fans might be wondering where the dangerous old lady has been. It’s a long story, but one I need to tell.
Back in August I was still volunteering for my rebuilding class and deciding what I was going to do next with my life. I was taking a swing dance class that made me crazy nervous but I had fun learning. I was feeling pretty happy. That’s when life throws you a huge curveball!!
The night I was supposed to finally get to have that final Rebuilding dinner and ceremony, (I didn’t get to go when I was in the class because my daughter thought she was in labor), I went to the hospital instead. I’d been having severe back pain from the time we had girls day at the beach the day before and it got really bad that night and I had to leave for the 2nd time in the middle of the last class, after I’d explained to the dance teacher I might not come on tuesday because of pain. By the time I got home, my daughter was alarmed enough to call 911 and get me to an ER. I was in severe pain and now shivering with fever.
We were in the ER for a very long time while they did various tests and cultures to try to determine the issue. I got pain medication thankfully, but I was still miserable. As it turned out, instead of going home with pain meds, I got admitted for a Staph infection in my blood and osteomyelitis in my spine bones. (I also had a herniated disk but that wasn’t really the problem, that just made the area vulnerable to attack by the staph). I don’t have a lot of memory of the next few days. I remember an MRI, I remember I was in the MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) at Shands. I got pneumonia which is why I was placed there. I have memory of being sick, but no real memory of my daughter and her baby visiting every day. I was on the edge of death, actually. If I hadn’t gone to the ER that night, I might not be here today. That was not a good thing to face after I got more aware and I got pretty upset. I had a very special nurse in the MICU I’ll probably never forget named Leah who took amazing care of me. And I had a lovely young man flirting with me as he took me for walks. I probably looked just scary, but he was so nice to me. I will never forgot those two people, because they made me feel special and happy in the middle of a crisis.
After about a week and a half I got better enough to get out of the MICU and move to a room. 2 days after that I was sent home to a home health nurse and IV antibiotics for 8 weeks. That was Aug. 24th. I had made it and I was going to live, but I still had some issues and tons of medications to control pain and the infection and the side effects of pain meds, etc. It was amazing how much medicine I had to take, plus have a 24 hour IV into a picc line and a home health nurse weekly draw blood for cultures. As I was leaving the hospital, one last doctor came to see me from the Infectious Diseases group and what he told me was very important. He said if i had ANY numbness or tingling in any limbs, to immediately call and report it.
It was a very good thing he told me this, because I remembered it just 2 days later when I woke up with a numb and tingling right foot. I called and the Dr. on call told me to go back to the ER. This time my daughter drove me. What a way to wake up on her daughter’s first birthday! I was going to miss all the celebrations that day which really made me sad. We had guests I was so wanting to be with. My cousin, my stepfather, my X and fellow grandparent..I just wanted to be a part of all of it, but I couldn’t be. After another horrifying MRI, they discovered a large abcess on my spine. It was decided that I would have to have a Laminectomy so they could get the abcess out. So a piece of bone removed and the area near my spine cleaned up. I stayed in the hospital in much worse pain for another week. My soon to be ex stayed with me, though, so Alexis could have my granddaughter’s party. What a horrible day that was..that MRI was just horrible. I almost freaked out, and then they told me i was going back in for high def. pictures and I said NO, I can’t. They about threw me onto the transport bed, which made me scream and cry in pain.
So, healing from all this has been a longer road than I wanted. I’ve had physical therapy and I’m still on antibiotics through the picc line for 24 hours a day until the end of october. There have been a lot of pain meds, most of which are gone now. However, the morphine is still there and today I went to a pain management clinic to formulate a plan to wean me off of that. I dislike taking pain medicine, but this pain warranted taking it. Some days I push too hard and the pain is pretty bad. Some days I feel like I can’t do anything but sit on the couch. Sometimes I have felt scared that I’d never be OK again, and sometimes I have just marveled at how precious life is and how happy I am that I didn’t lose mine. I need to be here when my baby (almost 7 now) has her babies. I want to be a super old lady who says stupid things someday.
Life is precious and you can lose it in a moment in a way you never expected. Life really IS dangerous at times and that scares me. But as soon as I’m more able, I intend to take all the joy it has to offer as often as I can. This past weekend was the first weekend since all this that I got to spend it with my two younger kids. It was not really easy, but it wasn’t hard either. And it made me feel extremely happy. I never want to miss them so much again. I love being a part of their every day life!
So I will live with joy and gratefulness and do the best I can every single day that I have here. I will share the love in my heart, I will work on being a great person.