The days following that ambulance ride were some of the worst of my life. I was sleep deprived, in a terrible amount of pain and absolutely terrified. I was being well taken care of and I know I must have been on some good drugs because there’s a solid week that is just a blur in my memory, but apparently I was in pretty bad shape.
Visitors were in and out of my room, some that I don’t remember seeing at all. I have a collection of saved voicemails, facebook messages and entire text conversations that I have no clear recollection of sending/receiving. Adam and my cousin Niki laugh about how I’d be sitting up in bed having a conversation when all of a sudden they’d look over and I’d be sound asleep, still sitting upright. I actually fell asleep while I was going pee one day (fortunately Niki was right there to wake me up/make sure I didn’t fall off the toilet and crack my head open) and apparently I thought it was hilarious enough to re-tell that story multiple times a day… several days in a row. Again, I blame the drugs.
At some point during the first few days of my stay they discovered that not only did I have multiple blood clots throughout my lungs, but a clot had also attached itself to the tip of my port (in my heart). My doctors began talking about removing my port because some of the other symptoms I was having led them to believe it was infected. (Since I’d already received antibiotics at that point, all the blood cultures came back negative so really, there’s no way we’ll ever know if it was infected or not.) The problem at that point was that pulling my port would risk dislodging that clot and possibly sending it down into my lungs. Since it was considerably larger than the clots already in my lungs, we had no idea what further issues that might cause. Ultimately the potential benefits outweighed the risks and my port was pulled. Fortunately the surgery was a total success and everything went as well as it possibly could have.
After several days of being in the hospital (receiving more medications and being hooked up to more monitors than I thought was possible) things finally started looking up. I remember thinking one day, “I can actually feel myself getting better today!”
My brother Jason drove up from San Diego and stayed with me the night of the port removal, and then again the night after that. It was great to see him and actually get to spend some time with him, though the circumstances definitely could have been better. He was around to witness some of the worst and most painful moments for me, which probably wasn’t easy for him, but he was also the one who got to witness my most drugged-up moments which will provide entertainment for years to come, I’m sure. (“Did you eat a good candy?”) Jason, if you’re reading this I want you to know how much it means to me that you were there. I’m lucky to have you and I love you so, so much! Thanks, Big Brother.
|This is probably the WORST picture ever taken of me, but it was a
momentous occasion — I finally had an appetite and needed some
hash browns! Also, this was about five days into my stay and
it was the first time I’d ventured out of my room.
I’m home now. I’ve actually been home for a week, but things have been so different this time. I usually come home feeling pretty great, but this time I came home feeling very blah. My lung function was significantly below my baseline when I left the hospital, but I’m told that’s to be expected. Apparently blood clots take weeks to dissolve and reabsorb, and as long as they are in there, my lungs won’t be able to function properly. Once the clot issues are resolved, I can start working on getting my lung function back up where it needs to be.
Treatment for blood clots, as one might assume, is blood thinners. I could (and probably will) write an entire blog post about my experiences so far, but for now let’s just say that blood thinners are going to make the next few months very interesting.
The best news is, well, first of all that I made it! I’m alive and (relatively) well. This was by far the most critical and terrifying experience of my entire life, but some good did come of it. When a person finds themselves lying in a hospital bed, forced to examine their life and ask what they’d do differently if they could, it really opens the door for change… and guys, I can’t wait to tell you some of the things that are changing around here!