Earlier this afternoon, I went on to my Avera Portal and looked up everything I could find about the two ER visits I had on Oct 19th and Oct 23rd. As well as, the visit to Dr. Strand to get my lap band emptied and then the actual emergency life saving surgery also on the 23rd. What I read stunned me. S T U N N E D. Shocked. Mystified. And then I had to go lay down because the magnitude of what I just read and after looking up all the meanings of the 8 different diagnoses almost put me over the edge.
I saw my RN friend was online so I immediately bombarded her with my stunned numbness. And I sent numerous texts to my mom too. While my mom was literally present during the whole nightmare, I either blocked it all out or I just haven’t fully processed it all but I think I’ve mentioned it before but I know what happened on October 18th, October 19th and the night of October 22nd. I recall not wearing my winter coat on a very frigid morning of October 23rd when my mom pulled up her car to the door of my complex to pick me up and take me to the standing ER on 26th and Marion Road.
I remember falling off the gurney in the ER that morning… and I remember being told that an ambulance was on its way to pick me up. I remember my mom saying she was going to walk over to HyVee next door to get some breakfast. I remember calling her on her cell phone telling her I was on my way to Avera McKennan Hospital via ambulance and to come back quickly. Next I remember three EMTs showing up, getting me into the squashed teal and green ambulance. I remember the ride to the hospital as very very uncomfortable and I thought the driver had hit all the potholes on his merry way, when in reality, I know he was driving fast to get across the city. And somewhere along the drive, my mom was tailing right behind in her car. She told me much later that she got there at the same time as the ambulance.
I remember the lady EMT was at my feet pushing the gurney and the blonde hair guy EMT was at the front of the gurney. My last memory was mega blurry and I remember barely being able to see and someone helping me into a hospital gown. I remember nothing else until a long long long time later when I weirdly remember suddenly being awake in Room 1-205 on the Med-Surg Wing 1 at McKennan Hospital. There were two nurses in my room talking quietly. I do not recall seeing my mom right away. I remember being in a foggy state of mind. And I clearly remember the horrific pain in the middle of my stomach.
In and out of sleep, I clearly remember my very first visitor. Mavis (Odens) Amundson. What a wonderful and beautiful surprise. Then several others came to see me…. I remember every visitor but I don’t know how coherent I was with any of them. Or if I was “actually all there.” I do remember each nurse and nurse tech who came in. I tried to get to know each person who helped treat me. I thought it was important to understand how they were treating me. But what my mom and I came to learn was none of them had any idea what kind of surgery I just survived or the seriousness of what I just went through.
So back to today and reading the 8 diagnoses on my Portal Chart through Avera.
- Gastric Necrosis
- Acute Blood Loss Anemia
- Acute Abdomen
- Dysmenorrhea (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)
- Menorrhagia (related to my other issue dealing with peri-menopause)
I read all of the findings from each doctor or PA-C. I read their notes. I read the diagnoses on the Portal and then I Googled all of them. I contacted my friend who is a RN too just for some clarification… and then I sent them all to my mom via text. Not to upset her but to simply ask if she was told any of these while she was waiting for me to get out of surgery or anytime afterwards. No, she said. While Dr. Person’s did come out and speak to her, none of these crazy words were discussed.
It’s all good. I am alive on Day 41. I’ve been living life so much differently now that I haven’t been sick like I was prior to surgery. I have been vomit-free for 41 days. I have been acting differently. I have been talking differently. I have been feeling differently. I have been thanking my mom daily for saving my life for the second time in six years. And with that, how will I ever repay her?!
How do I tell my own mother thank you for literally saving my life? Yes, Dr. Person and the other team of surgeon’s and the OR staff truly saved my life on the operating table… but had my mom not kept urging me to get dressed and let’s get in the car to the ER …. or had she NOT been at my apartment spending the night… I know I would have never taken myself to the ER by myself. And I would be dead.
My mom was my saving grace. Literally. And I literally healed at my childhood home for 32 days.
And now we have majority of the answers to our long long long year of unanswered questions of what was wrong with me and why I was always in pain.
Happy to be alive on Day 41. Happy to be back at work — part-time status for now, but happy I am still employed. I am happy with the friends who have truly stepped up and showed me their true faithful selves to me and my wonderful mother. I am happy just to be happy that I am healing physically, mentally and emotionally.
As Dr. Strand said to me, “Don’t dwell on the past, let’s just keep moving forward.”
Here’s to remembering but not dwelling on anything but the future.