Do you know the band Bare Naked Ladies? They have a fun song called One Week.
Let me tell you about my week. Last Tuesday (middle of night) I thought my back hurt. It hurt worse and worse til I could not move. By morning, I yelled from my bed for my kids to get up and go to school. My daughter came to my doorway first, hair touseled, eyes still half-shut, and while tipping her head quietly asked, “why are you yelling?” I apologized and said, “I’m sorry–I’m not mad. I just really hurt myself and I can’t move. Can you wake your brothers?”
So, I took a bunch of tylenol, got up, started working. As the day went on the pain came back. I texted my sitter I would need her in the morning. I could just tell…my back was bad.
So, I stayed in bed, unable to move position, without massive trembling/shaking from Wednesday to Sunday. I couldn’t figure out what I did to my back. To be fair, the constant fevers had me concerned and several people we telling me I should go to the hospital.
My sitter stopped by to check on me and insisted I go to the ER. I resisted–a lot. Here’s the thing: I’m a single mom, no family within several hours travel, and I thought I would wait til they went to school and call 911 then. The scene where I’m abandoning my 3 kids alone in the house, by ambulance, was something I really wanted to avoid. (Thankfully, my neighbor ran over and helped) but the last face I saw was my daughter standing in the doorway desperately trying not to cry. I kept saying, “I’ll be back..I’m going to be okay.” And she would nod yes.
In the ambulance they kept draping blankets on me. The guy (adorable, btw. I mean, my eyes still worked) said, “why are you shaking this bad? Cold?” and I stuttered back, “p-p-p-ain.”
The reality was I didn’t hurt my back–I passed a kidney stone which was apparently trapped a while. So, it caused Pyelonephritis in the right kidney, and for the bonus round? My gallbladder was infected at same time (right next to it). Individually, those things cause intense pain. Put them together and you’ve got me flat on my back asking anyone take me out back and shoot me.
Anyway, two hours after being admitted I stopped breathing and my heart rate and BP dropped to “you’re gonna die now” levels. I was in Septic Shock. All I remember was being told, “you’re going to ICU” and being jostled around while thinking, “could you guys just let me sleep??” It was legitimately the first time I felt no pain and wanted to sleep. What I learned today is at that point I was nearly done, my heart wasn’t pumping, I had stopped breathing, and had I stayed home to protect my kids from waving bye to me on a stretcher, one of them would have eventually found me dead in my bed. (Probably when we were out of chips or Gatorade).
I eventually woke when I was (sort of) stable and attached to more tubes, wires, two fucking IVs (for speed’s sake), and oxygen. I was *shocked* to see my ex husband standing there and I looked up at the wall in front of my bed and saw, “Critical Care ICU” with my name written on it. I curled to my side, pulled my hands over my face, and burst into tears. I was glad I didn’t wake up to see that alone. It is terrifying. My ex said, “why are you crying? Pain or are you scared?” I nodded “yes” and kept sobbing. He clearly was afraid to touch me as I saw him reach out a couple times to touch my knee and then pulled away. I said, “I hurt everywhere. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to die. What if I die?” He asked if it would help if he rubbed my back and I quickly said, “oh my god, no. It hurts so bad.” He kept quietly repeating, “I’m so sorry honey.”
The week before this one was a tremendous amount of arguing between he and I. We are legally divorced but somehow still seem to function like a bitter married couple. Most of it involved money, boundaries, the kids, and my inability to move to a more affordable place. We had harsh moments. I told him I wish I never met him and that I wasted half of my life with him.
The nurse came in the room when he was there and said, “are you related?” He quickly replied, “yes, I’m her husband.” We both exchanged looks. Soon he left for work and the nurse asked, “so this man that was just here? He told me what’s going on. He left his phone…is it okay if we call him?” I said, “you know, I was married to him for as long as I was alive before I met him and we have three children together. Yes, we’re divorced…but we’re related. You can call him.”
Last night I was taken OFF the critical list and am considered now officially stable. (no, a mental assessment was never looked at–shut the fuck up).
Since I was Septic Shock, I need to remain on IV antibiotics for 7 days. After that, I will remain on oral antibiotics for months. Yes, months. When I said, “how long?!” to the nephrologist (this is NOT a person who makes nerf guns, they’re kidney doctors) and infectious disease doctor said, “you have a very serious infection of the kidney. The kidney is a vital organ and a major system. It takes a long time to heal.” I SWEAR to God I didn’t roll my eyes (but I wanted to). The gall bladder has, somewhat miraculously, shrunk back down to normal. I was on serious narcotics for pain and haven’t had any since yesterday morning since my pain, at this point is tolerable to me. And, my blood volume is going back up thanks to an iron infusion.
A great song by Sia: Reaper, seems apt:
“You came to take me away
So close I was to heaven’s gates
But, no, baby, no, baby, not today
Oh, you tried to track me down
You followed me like the darkest cloud
But, no, baby, no, baby, not today
So come back when I’m good and old
I got drinks to drink, and men to hold
I got good things to do with my life, yeah
Oh, I wanna dance in the open breeze
Feel the wind in my hair, hear the ocean sing
I got good things to feel in my life, yeah”
This was a hell of a week. If you know me personally, then you know that when I do something, I never do anything half-assed. And, I’ll tell you one more time–you just can’t kill me.