This weeks post is a bit different that my usual posts because today I have a story to tell, and it is a story that I feel needs to be told.
On December 31, 2009 I had to leave work early as I wasn’t feeling good. I had this fantastic and fun evening planned for myself and my daughter but my body wasn’t having it. I thought I had the flu, and after a couple of days of feeling horrible I went to the local walk in clinic. The doctor on duty took a quick look at me, asked some basic questions, then told me that I had the flu and needed to wait it out for about 7 days.
Over those next 7 days my body slowly started to deteriorate, I lost 30lbs because I was starving. I could not keep any food in my system and little by little my body was feeding off itself. I lost all my muscle mass and nearly lost my life. Day after day, the stairs which lead me to the upstairs were harder and harder to climb and day after day my body was shutting down.
Everyday I called my parents or they called me and my voice grew weaker and weaker as did my body. Everyday I woke up in the morning and took care of my 6-year-old daughter, packed her a lunch, and managed to drag myself to the daycare across the street to ensure she was taken care of. I shudder when I think of what could have happened to my little girl if I didn’t make it, and I have a horrible memory of her screaming at me while I was passed out on the couch, and she had fear in her young little eyes. I don’t know how long she was trying to wake me but it was obviously too long.
At one point I had an ambulance come to my home because a family friend came to my house and called it for me. She took care of my daughter while I was with the medics. They took my blood pressure, and my blood sugar then told me I just had the flu. I was so delirious at that point and was no way capable of making any sound decisions, so I signed a release form that said I refused service and the ambulance left without me.
A few days later my brother returned from his trip, and stopped by and brought me some food and tried to get me to eat something. He even set up a taxi pick up for me the next day so I could go see my doctor. When the taxi knocked on my door the next day, I didn’t hear it as I was passed out on the couch….again.
The next day there was another knock on my door and it was my mom. She knew even from far away that she had to come and save me. She made me soup, cleaned up my messes and saved my life. The next few days were like some dream…we went to my doctor’s office the next day and immediately they told my mom to take me to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital I was poked, prodded and they discovered that my kidneys were starting to fail. I had sepsis and my body was shutting down.
I slept in the hallway in the emergency department that night, was infused with 6 litres of saline and pumped full of vitamins. Many doctors came to see me and lots of tests were taken, CT, ECG, Ultrasound, blood, etc. The next day they determined that I had an infection in my abdomen and that I had to have emergency surgery. It was explained to me that there was potential that I would lose an ovary, and I was scared. My mom stayed with me as I waited and was there when I woke up.
The surgery was a success, and they removed a large amount of pus from my infected abdomen and they did not have to remove an ovary. I was told I had to have a blood infusion and that they had cleared the infection and I would be ok. I received numerous staples and was in hospital for the next 10 days. I don’t even want to get into the ups and downs of staying at the hospital but it was definitely a roller coaster ride. My daughter came to visit me and it was very uncomfortable for her. Due to a decision at the hospital to remove my staples a little over a week after my surgery, my incision site did not heal properly, and I ended up being off work for the next 2 and a half months healing.
I can look back at this memory and even though it will always haunt me it also was a turning point for me and changed how I take care of myself. Being on my own as a single parent, I have always been focused on my daughter and her health. The lesson learned from this event is that I now put my health as a top priority and go see my doctor whenever I have any concerns, because I know that if I don’t stay healthy I won’t be any good to my daughter.
When I walk up and down my stairs everyday I am reminded of this and thankful that I am here today to tell my story.