I’ve been close to death multiple times in my life. Sometimes due to violence, once that was self inflicted and now through illness. When I say close to death, I don’t mean “Wow, I could have died”. I mean “Wow, I should have died and I don’t know why I didn’t.”
A couple of weeks ago I had to have a hysterectomy. It was an abdominal hysterectomy because I had very large fibroid tumors. Other than that, it’s a pretty standard surgery. I was in the hospital for a few days and they sent me home with what I thought was a working case of strep throat. My throat was sore, and at first I thought it was from the anesthesia tube, but it continually got worse. Within a couple of days, I had developed white patches all over my mouth so we made a call to the Doctor and she called me in an antibiotic. That week I didn’t get better but it wasn’t getting worse either. I finished the antibiotics and my GP called in another type of antibiotic. However, before I could start it, my body started to crash and burn. This was Friday, and I was incredibly weak, my voice was almost gone, and I had started bleeding. Just fyi, if you’re squeamish you may want to stop reading.
If you’re still here, I had been spotting throughout the week but I just had a hysterectomy and thought that was probably normal. However, my stomach incision had started bleeding as well and it was foul. I was so weak I was needing help walking and my husband really went all out for me. If you’ve ever run a high fever, you know that spacey feeling you get? Sometimes you’ll hallucinate things, even if it’s not full on bugs on the wall. I was feeling like that, and I was so hot. I remember feeling my face and how hot it was but that you weren’t supposed to be able to tell about yourself. I took my temperature with one of those touch thermometers that you rub across the skin, and it said I had a fever of 105. I thought that couldn’t be right so I got my husband to take it and he got a reading of 104. I was running chills so he gave me Tylenol and put me to bed. A few minutes later I got up to go to the bathroom with his help, but when I got up from the toilet a pool of black blood came from me. I have never seen blood that color and didn’t know it could get that color. It also had the consistency of pudding. (Sorry, but I did warn you…) I called for my husband and he got me into a pair of pants and we went to the ER. I was so weak I could barely walk and was shaking badly. He wheeled me in and I’m pretty sure I looked like death on a stick judging from the looks I was getting. And I smelled. That was the worst for me, because I’m usually a lotion fanatic and love pretty scents. I remember telling someone that anything that smelled like that should be dead. I was closer than I knew. Well, the Tylenol was helping to bring the fever down so by the time the ER was working on me it was at 103.5. I swear I think I sweated through the mattress, all while bleeding this foulness. I was given a vaginal exam but they couldn’t find the source of my illness. My white blood cell count came back as 28 and she told me it should be between 4-6 so obviously my body was trying to fight a massive infection. Without knowing what the infection was, they put four bags of antibiotics in me right off the start. Then they moved me to a room where a stone faced nurse was not at all helpful. Every time I had to pee, I’d make a bloody mess and need to wash up and change underwear. The blood was coming from my stomach but Nurse Ratchett wasn’t hearing it. My blessed husband is a bit OCD so he was cleaning up behind me. So Nurse Ratchett not so subtly suggested that I wash up. Well by this time I had already washed up three times in the hour or so I’d been there. I soon hado pee once again and this time my husband went and got a nurse to show her where I was bleeding. All of this is sort of a blur to me but apparently that finally got something going and my Doctor was there – heels and all, since it was her date night apparently and she made sure we knew it. She told us I had necrotizing fasciitis and they were preparing a team for surgery.
I will continue tomorrow… I think writing about this helps me come to terms with it. I had a nurse here today doing my wound packing thing, which is a whole other nightmare.