So I am skipping around a bit. So much for my title “ORGANIZED Musings…” HA! Oh well. Bear with me. In order to fully tell my story, I need to jump around a little….so a little back story first, and then flash backs later.
So here it is. The catalyst to 5 years of unimaginable pain, frustration, sorrow, and suicidal thoughts and wishes.
I got Salmonella. But not just your average, run of the mill Salmonella. (does that even exist?) I had what my doctor called, “The worst case I have ever seen!”. I still think that title should have come with a trophy. Or at least some sort of certificate. But oh well.
I had been sick for a couple weeks before the Salmonella hit. Going to doctor after doctor. I had blood drawn. I had a scope done. I had a nuclear test of my gall bladder. I had an ultrasound. All led to the dreaded diagnosis of “IBS” Which, I think stands for “Intestinal Bull Shit”. I hate that diagnosis. It is such a “I have no idea what to call it, so I will call it this..” diagnosis. It’s bull shit. Anyway…by the time I got REALLY sick, I was stubborn. And pissed. And frustrated. I called my husband home from work (Which I had never done) and told him he had to come home, that I was just completely non-functional and could not take care of our two young children. So he came home, took one look at me doubled over and told me he was taking me to the doctor. I refused. What was he going to tell me that I hadn’t already heard?? So the hours went on. And I got worse. And worse. And WORSE. Finally, my husband couldn’t stand it anymore and he called the sitter across the street and he forced me out the door, into the car and into the ER. By this time, I was barely functioning. I was so dehydrated from horrific diarrhea. My diarrhea was now a lovely red color, that I had assumed was from drinking a small bottle of red gatorade earlier. I would later find out that I was wrong. I was very wrong.
No one in the ER was taking me seriously at first. It was busy that night, and I was a chick with diarrhea. It wasn’t until I was running down the hall, ass flapping in the wind in the lovely gown, and literally shat on the floor. In front of the doctor. He got very alarmed and said, “how long has this been happening?” I said, “hours.” And he said, “No. How long has it been like THIS? This color?” I said, again, “hours”. Well, then let me tell you…I was taken seriously. Everything happened so fast after that. Next thing I knew I was being admitted, huge vials of blue/green blood was taken from me (“is it supposed to be that color?” I asked…”NO.” Was the answer….) Stool samples were taken, and I was given cups of horrific liquid to drink to prep for an MRI.
Turns out, I had gone septic. My red shit? Well, it was pure blood! And, I had developed a condition my GI doctor said was called Toxic MegaColon. My colon (at least 1/2 of it) had grown to more that double it’s size. I was in such indescribable pain at that point. Morphine drip was ordered…IV’s placed…and more tests were run. No one knew at this point that it was Salmonella. That diagnosis wouldn’t come for a few more days.
So I spent 6 days in the hospital hooked up to Iv’s and morphine. 2 IV’s blew in my hand (which hurts like a bitch!!) and I was refusing visitors. I didn’t want to talk to anyone…or see anyone…I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than breathing through the pain at that point and wishing for it all to be over. At one point I was told it was possible that I may lose part of my colon and go home with a colostomy bag. I wanted to die. I was 34. No way was I going to live the rest of my life carrying around a bag of my own shit. Eww!
Luckily it didn’t come to that. I was healing…swelling was going down. I was VERY VERY lucky that my husband rushed me to the ER when he did. If I had had my way and stayed home, I may not be here writing today. I could have died. It was a very strange feeling. Here I had thought many times in my life up to then that I WANTED to die. And now, I was so glad that I didn’t. Though, there were times in the 5 years that followed this stay in the hospital, many times, that I had wished I had died. But I will get to that later.
I will never forget that it was Mother’s Day. My son had just turned 6 a month earlier and was in Kindergarten. I had to miss the Mother’s Day tea that Friday because I was in the hospital, but the kids were supposed to visit me on Sunday. Well…on Sunday morning, the nurse walked in, in what looked like a full Haz-Mat suit. She told me that the stool cultures came back and it was salmonella and I was now isolation. What the what?!?! Salmonella? No way. Come on. And wait…my kids can’t visit me?? On MOTHER’S DAY??? It was awful.
I finally got to go home on Tuesday. With orders to eat a very bland diet, and to bleach the toilet every time I used it, and to scrub my hands constantly. The health department was calling me constantly trying to figure out where I contracted this…and we still don’t know. But I did find out that you can get it from just about anything. Not just raw eggs and raw chicken like I had thought!
Salmonella led to years of health problems for me. So, being released from the hospital didn’t mean it was over. It was all just starting. And I had a long way to go…