Saturday, December 10, 2011

The day I almost died

I have been thinking about the day I almost died lately.  I thought it might help if I wrote it down.

In May 2007, I had a procedure done to stop my periods.  It's called an endometrial ablation.  It's when they cauterize the lining of the uterus.  I had been having bleeding every day for months so I had this done.  It was Memorial day weekend.  My mom came to help me recover.  About five days later, I woke up feeling very badly.  It was a Thursday.  I took my temperature and it was 105.  Me being a nurse, couldn't believe my thermometer was right, plus I knew I could fix myself.  I knew what to do.

My neighbor came over and helped me put ice packs on myself.  Even though I had a high fever, I couldn't get warm.  I was piled with blankets.  I continued to check my temperature-105.  Then I started vomiting. It started to then freak me out.  I called my home health agency and they sent a nurse out to draw blood cultures.  At that time, I had a port a cath for my TPN and I was accessing it myself.  The nurse came and went.  I got weaker and weaker.  Finally, my neighbor called the ambulance.  It was the first time I'd ever been in an ambulance.  It's not a fun feeling.

My regular hospital where all my doctors were was full and they weren't accepting patients.  I was diverted to a local hospital.  I remember them being very worried that I had such a high fever and immediately admitted me. After a while, the doctor told me what was wrong.  I was septic.  This is a blood infection and very deadly. I was started on several antibiotics.  I continued spiking high fevers and vomiting.  I was so weak, I could barely make it to the bathroom.

I remember sleeping a lot.  I remember how bad I felt. My mom came to stay with me.  It had gotten to the scary point.  They could not get control of the infection.  Stupid me would not let them remove my port.  They finally determined that I had contracted Klebsiella which is a vaginal bacteria and must have happened during the ablation I had had.

I became jaundiced, my abdomen became swollen as my liver and spleen were irritated.  My blood counts dropped to a scary level.  I was given two units of blood.  My first blood transfusion ever.  I remember feeling so incredibly sick and scared.  I was barely alert, I was not responding to much.  It became a grave situation.

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  It was a Sunday.  My doctor came in and I just couldn't fight anymore.  Up to that point, I was still trying to fight but could tell I was losing.  That day, I told my doctor "I give up, I can't do this anymore."  My doctor knew what I was saying.  He immediately paged another MD who was on his day off and that MD came in wearing golf pants and a polo shirt.  I was immediately taken to radiology and my port was removed.  They had figured the foreign object was harboring the bacteria because whenever it was flushed, I spiked a high fever.

That was on Sunday.  I still remember that feeling that I knew I was going to die.  People who had visited me during that time, told me later how scared they felt seeing me lying there, that they thought I was dying.  When in fact, I was.  After my port was removed, things started to turn around.  The antibiotics started working, I started getting better.  I was there two weeks in total.

I still send a card to that MD every June to thank him for saving my life.  The weird thing is, I used to work with his dad, and he was a fairly new MD at that time. So I know I was his first patient that he had saved.  If he hadn't known me, maybe he wouldn't have fought so hard, I don't know.  What I do know is, I owe him my life.

When I look back at that time in my life, it really scares me.  I still remember how I felt when I told that MD that I had given up. I never thought I would ever give up like that.  I had hoped to never go through that again.

Little did I know that it would happen again......