"Where have you been?!”
I know, I know … Where have I been?! I roll out this great new website and leave you? How could I?
I AM. SO. SORRY!
Unfortunately, I’ve been learning the hard way that I’m not invincible. Obviously, I’m not a teenager anymore, but honestly, I’ve never really been sick. Even when pregnant. Maybe a cold here and there. Mornings after fun nights in my 20s. And food poisoning last spring. Pretty sure that’s it.
I guess I naively went about life thinking maybe illness wasn’t something I had to worry about. Silly me. That kind of thinking slapped me right across the face — boom — super sick, surgery, can’t do anything for several months. Ugh.
But I’m so much better now! My energy is coming back, my incisions and ribs are mostly healed, and general movement has become easier. Woohoo!
Things will be slow for the next few weeks, but I should have all of my energy back in October, just when all the FALL FUN really begins around here. Stay tuned!
Thanks for your understanding as I get back into the swing of things!
For anyone who wants details (“ain’t nobody got time for that!”), here’s what happened to me ...
I was sick most of July with general malaise and chest pains that came and went. I visited an ER in SLO County and was told I had a pulled muscle. In early August we flew back east to attend my husband’s graduation and visit his grandparents.
When we arrived I became very ill with high fevers, shallow breathing, chills, sweats, and body aches. Several days later, I finally asked my husband to take me to urgent care. The doctor there diagnosed me with pneumonia and sent me directly to the ER.
Once admitted to the hospital I learned that I also had 1-2 liters of fluid in my chest, my lung had collapsed, and the fluid had become loculated (hardened to a jelly-like substance). After several unsuccessful attempts to drain the fluid (by jabbing numerous tubes in my side), the doctors determined I needed surgery (and that it had to be the day before my husband’s graduation). Bummer.
The procedure didn’t go as easily as the surgeon had hoped. Instead of using scopes and tools the surgeon had to make an 8-inch incision in my side, through my lat muscle, put his hand inside my chest, sever a nerve, cut chunks out of two of my ribs, and scrape the ‘jelly' out. YUCK! He didn’t think my lung would re-inflate on it’s own, so they left me under anesthesia, with a tube pumping air into my lungs, for about 16 hours.
I woke up in ICU tied to the bed with tubes down my throat. This was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. Apparently, the nurses have to wait 15 minutes after a patient wakes to take the tubes out. And they tie you to the bed so you don’t take them out yourself. But nobody tells you this when you wake up, so you think everyone is trying to kill you, including your mother who is standing there helpless while you try to scream for help.
I missed my husband’s graduation. This brought me to tears, several times. But thank goodness for technology. I was able to watch over FaceTime from ICU. Phew!
I had 3 tubes, each about a foot deep in my side to drain the excess fluid. After a couple days in ICU, they began taking the tubes out, one per day. The procedure for this is: I breath in. I breath out. Doctor rips tube out. I CURSE at doctor.
Once the third tube was out I was released from the hospital, but was not cleared to fly for another week to 10 days. Luckily, I was able to rest comfortably at my grandparent-in-law’s until I could return to California.
And after a LONG day of travel with my mom and 2-year-old, we were HOME! Huge relief.
But just being home didn’t magically heal me like I’d hoped (again, naivety). It has been a slow process. One that I have not been good at. My emotional state has been repeatedly tested along with my physical limits. I am kind of a doer and not being able to DO things has been pretty rough on me. I still don’t have full range of motion in my left arm, so I am unable to sew (which is heart-breaking), swim, or exercise much at all. But everything will be ‘normal’ again in time.
I’m thankful to be on the mend and to have amazing family and friends surrounding me. My husband, mom, in-laws, and grandparent-in-laws have helped so much. And my friends have been super encouraging and supportive. I’m especially thankful that my mom was able to be there for my surgery and that she and my mother-in-law were able to help with our 2-year old daughter. My mom is still helping with her daily. She is such a blessing. I couldn’t have made it through this without her help, love and support.
If you got this far, thanks for reading and for your support. Xo,
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