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Life Happens When You Have Other Plans

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Here I sit writing. A million thoughts are running through my head. As of late, my life has been complete chaos. Where, oh where, do I begin to tell the story? I think that it all began to unfold three months ago. I remember the date: March 17, 2009. On St. Patrick’s Day, I began the day bringing my youngest daughter Kendra home from the hospital. Kendra had just given birth to my youngest grand baby. A beautiful little girl named Lilly. I had already planned to take the week off to be home with them both. Little did I know, at that moment, that fate had other plans for me.

We all got home and settled down to be ready to take care of the new baby. It was at this time that I noticed a severe pain between my left ribs and hip bone. I tried to ignore this pain, hoping that it would dissipate. The pain began to get worse and I thought maybe it was another ovarian cyst. I laid in bed with my daughter and slept for a short while. The pain overtook me and I awoke me from my sleep. I thought a hot bath would help. I hurt so bad at this point that I climbed into the tub fully clothed. As I was sitting in the tub, I leaned over and began to throw up into the toilet. My daughter came in and looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told her of my pain and told her to call her brother to take me to the emergency room.

What was I thinking? We are of Irish decent and St. Patty’s day is like our Christmas. My son, the true green Irish man that he is, had spent the night drinking and was in no position to come and rescue me. My daughter wanted to call 9-1-1 but I would not let her. We called a neighbor and she came and took me to the hospital. I had to wait a few hours in the waiting room. At some point, my neighbor got pissed off at my wait and demanded that I be taken into a room. I think my throwing up in their office trash can convinced them to take me next.

When I got into the E.R. room, the first thing that did after taking my medical history was to do an E.K.G. They quickly ruled out a heart attack. At this point, I was now experiencing excruciating pain. I have a very high tolerance for enduring pain. I had had three babies and two of those births were completely natural with no drugs at all. The pain that I was experiencing was worse than giving birth. The hospital could not give me anything for pain until they could figure out what they were dealing with. My oldest daughter was called and could not leave her three young children at home, so she sent her husband over to be with me.

The next test ordered was a C.T. scan. I had to drink two thick nasty tasting milkshakes that would illuminate my insides for the C.T. scan. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to wait another hour for the radioactive drink to travel my digestive system and not throw up or it was back to square one. At last, the time came for the test. While in the C.T. scan room, the tech surprised me with yet another yummy milkshake to drink. I sucked that awful stuff down in record time, because I knew once I got the test I would be able to get something for the pain.

After the test, I was then sent back to the E.R. room. A sweet angel of mercy arrived and plunged a needle full of Dilaudid into my I.V.  Dilaudid is considered to be somewhat faster-acting and about eight times stronger than morphine and about three times stronger than heroin on a milligram basis. I was able to get some release from the pain.

I was moved to the trauma room to wait. My son-in-law showed up. The nurses kept coming in and out every fifteen minutes to take my blood pressure. My reading kept falling lower and lower. At this point, I was still in pain and was screaming for more drugs. At one point (I was told days later), I screamed at my son-in-law to get me roofies. I haven’t a clue what they are but I wanted some. (I later found out that roofies is a knock out drug.) My son showed up at this point and took over my care. The doctor came in to tell us that I had diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a pocket of infection (abscess) that forms in the abdominal cavity. The inflammation or infection then may spread to the membrane that covers the inside of the abdominal wall, causing peritonitis. This infection in turn may spread to other parts of the body (sepsis). My son questioned why I wasn’t in a room upstairs and was told that I was too unstable to take the trip up the elevator.

I knew I was dying, I felt my life slipping away. I could see my body in its curled up fetal position laying on the table. I couldn’t talk but I could hear what was being said. I sensed that I was in a tunnel. As I looked at myself, the light was getting dimmer. As I looked in the other direction the light was getting brighter. I felt no pain. I thought no thoughts. I was at complete peace. A peace that I have never experienced before or would probably never know again. Sweet reprise from pain and suffering.

The very next thing that I was aware of was waking up the next night in my hospital room and the pain was back. I was treated with two different strong antibiotics and there was talk of doing surgery. I spent the next five days in the hospital and the antibiotics did the trick. I was sent home to recover with more antibiotics and a visiting nurse. As time went by, I resumed my normal life. I have been busy helping to raise my granddaughter, working full time, and back in college working on a degree in special education. You might ask, “Why is she sharing all this private medical information?” My answer is that I do so to share information with you, the reader. Take care of your body and listen to it, eat right, reduce your stress and keep your doctor’s appointments. One last thought: life is all about love. Please be kind to everyone who crosses your path. What if this was your last day on this earth; how would you want to be remembered?

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