It’s amazing how fast something can change in a hospital. Chaos can break out at any given moment. One day you can almost bear the pain and the next thing you know you’re fighting to stay out of intensive care. One second can be the difference between life and death: in an instant everything is on the line.
Hell week started last Sunday, it started with a fever of 108 degrees. Ice packs covered my body. At first that’s all it was: a fever.
In a minute something as simple as a fever turned into septic shock. The attitude of my nurses changed from relaxed to terrified within that same minute. Medications, constant blood pressure checks, and more fluids than you could ever imagine were being pumped into my body. As I lay in bed, terrified, all I could think about was death. Doctors and nurses surrounded me. The talk of ICU kept coming up. When people are sent to intensive care, it’s never good. I can still feel the shivers throughout my body, the pain of breathing; of holding on to everything I still had left to fight for.
If that wasn’t bad enough, all the fluids that had been pushed into my body filled my lungs, leaving me once again with pneumonia and on oxygen for almost all of Hell Week.
I could almost blame myself: I made the decision to go through chemotherapy, killing both the good and bad cells that exist in my body. Monday was a blur. Nothing but sleep and pain medication. Late that night I was pushed into an MRI machine to lay still for 45 minutes.
Around 5 am Tuesday morning a resident burst into my room to tell us the MRI showed a ruptured appendix. Tuesday was the worst day of hell week.
2 hours later, the surgeon came to examine me and said he wasn’t willing to perform the surgery. Worried and in pain we waited for 12 hours for a second opinion. The minute the second surgeon came in she immediately said my appendix must come out. 10 minutes later, I held her hand as i lay on the operating table and drifted off to sleep. Perhaps the only comfort I found throughout the entire week, was grasping the hand of my surgeon.
There’s a part of hospitals that constantly reminds me of life and death, but another part that makes me see how truly amazing people can be.
No amount of pain meds can ever take away the pain after surgery. For days I lay in bed, in too much pain to do anything but sleep and stare into space. The days seemed endless and the nights restless. Thursday led to an echo-cardiogram, making sure the chemo hadn’t damaged my heart.
Emotionally, I was torn apart, physically I was weak, but the test wouldn’t reveal any of that. There’s no test to see when you’ve hit a mental wall, when you feel like giving up and there’s no test to see into the future.
Friday was plain miserable. By now, I should have been recovering. I could hardly move, let alone walk, on my own. The doctors were determined, it was time to start finding other sources of my pain. They tried everything.
THe next test was a sonogram. Once again, no luck. So what do you do when you run out of ideas? The only thing left was to stop me eating and drinking to fully let my stomach heal. Not that I was eating anyway but the fact that I couldn’t made me feel like I was starving. All I wanted to do was give up; it was exhausting.
Hell Week has finally ended. The demons are still there to haunt me, but for now I’m surrounded by an army of nurses led by an incredible doctor helping me gain back the strength to fight. This Hell Week might be over, but I know there will be many more to come. Next time maybe I’ll be more prepared to kick ass, or maybe I’ll get my ass kicked again. Either way, I know I have an army behind me to pick up the pieces.