Saturday, November 5, 2011

So here's what happened...

Last Wednesday I woke up about 30 minutes before my alarm went off, as is my frequent wont.  (My alarm goes off around 5:00 a.m., which makes no sense since I don't have to be at work until 8:00, but there you go.)  I didn't feel "right," somehow, so I decided to get up and take a hot bath.

That's as far as I got.  The next thing I knew, I was on the floor.  I couldn't move.  I yelled for Sven to get me a protein shake, thinking that perhaps I had low blood sugar or something, but that didn't help.  I got into the bath, but that didn't revive me.  As the time passed I felt worse and worse.  I thought, "I can get to work, maybe I'll go home early if I don't feel better."  Then I thought, "I'll just make it until Sven takes the kids to school and I'll go to the urgent care when it opens."

Without going into much gory detail, in the next few minutes it became clear that something was seriously wrong with me.  I alerted Sven, who got the kids dressed and took them to their daycare (which opens very early, thank goodness).  By the time he got back, I was in a bad way.  I couldn't walk.  I crawled to the top of the stairs and passed out there.  I don't remember what I saw when I passed out, but it was something, and I remember being very afraid when I woke up.  I crawled down the stairs, Sven carried me to his car (seriously hurting his back in the process), and we went to the emergency room.

I told them my name and that was all they let me say; I was rushed to the back and they got my vital signs.  My blood pressure was 69/40.  They got IV's going in both arms and pretty soon I was getting a blood transfusion.  I felt better after that, so I asked, "When will I be able to go home?"

Answer: four days later.  They admitted me to ICU, which doesn't allow children, so I couldn't see the kids at all that day.  I had a bleeding scan in nuclear medicine (take out my blood, inject it with radioactive stuff, then put it back in me and track it for a few hours).  When I was in tears the next morning, they moved me to IMCU so my kids could come see me.  After that, I had an endoscopy on my esophagus and stomach.  (After that they let me eat clear liquids; beef broth and jello have never tasted so good!)  The next day I had a colonoscopy.  (The less said about that, the better.)  After all of that, the verdict was this: we know you were bleeding in your small intestines, but we don't know exactly where or why.  Go home.

I went home on Saturday, but more tests were to come before they would let me go back to work.  Wednesday I drank an enormous quantity of barium and had a series of x-rays taken from about 9:00 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m.  Apparently I passed some kind of endurance test, because they released me to go back to work on Thursday.  I feel pretty good now.  It was like a big reset button had been pushed on my life; I'm eating better, sleeping better, and I hope I'm managing my stress better.

So we still don't know what caused it, but hopefully we will soon.  For me, it almost doesn't matter; it was a big wake-up call that I needed to take better care of myself.  I intend to take it seriously.