All That I Am - Part 13
Back in hospital, in the same bed I'd left just 3 days previous -- it was still warm!
I was severely dehydrated and the pain and vomiting was getting worse. It was late September by now, I'd been in and out of hospital since August and I was beginning to feel very low. By now I'd had the nasal tube removed and a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastroscopy) tube placed into my stomach. This tube was inserted through my abdomen via x-ray and was not a pleasant experience. The consultant, a man near to retirement, took the decision to re-operate and loosen the wrap, thinking it was too tight! The procedure was to be done with keyhole surgery as before.
So, after a couple of days rest, they revised the original surgery. I remember very little about the first 24 hours afterwards. I woke feeling very ill indeed. I had a urine catheter, was strapped to a machine which delivered pain relief and a monitor strapped around my arm measuring my blood pressure. I knew I was in deep trouble at this time. It was like a darkness spreading across my body, if I moved just 1 inch, I vomited violently. I was so drained, I was lifeless. A doctor sat at the side of my bed venting his concern. Scleroderma had got me it seemed although I didn't know why.
One week on, I was still in a semi-conscious state. My weight had plummeted and I was a mere shadow of my former self. I was on so many different drugs -- things for my kidneys, liver and a multitude of anti-sickness drugs that stung like crazy every time they injected my leg. If I have to be honest at this point -- I though I'd had it and that's no exaggeration of the truth, and deep down I think the medical staff thought that too!
I was transferred to another ward. They kept pumping me with a cocktail of drugs as well as feeding me artificially. My whole life as a bubbly person -- gone in a matter of 2 months. There I was lying helplessly in a hospital bed wondering what would become of me.
Then one day, almost like a bolt from the blue, I turned a corner. The dark cloud that had hung over me since the last surgery suddenly lifted and I woke one morning feeling totally different. I can't explain how I felt, or what had happened but it was very strange. I didn't feel unwell in any way. The nausea had gone, the overwhelming tiredness and the pain had all vanished. It was amazing!
I quickly recovered after that but there was still one thing that torments me to this day -- my feeding tube. I still couldn't swallow. I tried so many times to eat. Drinking was a problem too! I could take sips but that was all and that became the biggest concern of all. I'd lost 42 lbs in weight and although I looked like a babe, I felt terrible. My figure was startling -- my clothes didn't fit anymore and if I hadn't looked so pale I could have been the envy of my friends.
My life was far from ideal. My doctors were not pleased with my inability to drink properly, so a complete reversal of the original surgery was planned for a later date. I'd been at home in my little tin can. The dreaded mobile home was still our abode! The house had suffered a major setback. My family was so worried about me that they'd had precious little time for anything else. So there we were, house half-finished and me half right and half wrong -- what a predicament. To make matters worse, my parents had become so ill that they had to move to accommodations more suited for their needs, leaving the farm entirely to us to manage -- things surely couldn't get any worse, could they? But they did!
I was recuperating nicely. Sure I had this ###### tube thing and it's true I wasn't right health wise but I was home and pinning my hopes on further surgery to take this troublesome wrap down. It was a Friday, I remember that much. My hubby had just come home from work and daughter home from school. I was sipping a cup of coffee when something happened. My stomach just bloated and this incredible pain spread accross my chest. I was violently sick, couldn't breathe and collapsed in a heap on the floor. The paramedics were called and I was rushed to my local hospital. My hubby was sure I was having a heart attack and followed the ambulance to the emergency dept. What happened next was another chapter in my life. What else could go wrong?