Sunday Salon: The Where the Hell Have I Been Edition?

Comas make a person puffy. Look t at the size of the mitts they put on me to keep me from pulling any tubes out!

Remember way back in March when I posted Sunday Salon: The Lung Edition? When I wrote that the recovery would be long and painful, I had no idea how long it would actually be. Through a series of unfortunate events, What was supposed to be a five-day hospital stay turned into a two and a half MONTH hospital stay with another estimated four to six months of recovery at home before I’m back to functioning at 100%.

What happened? Well, the night before I was supposed to be discharged after having surgery to remove the lower lobe of my right lung I went into respiratory failure. I was intubated and put on a ventilator. Because I am claustrophobic, having air forced into my lungs freaked me out and my blood pressure and pulse went sky-high when I was awake. This led to being put in a medically induced coma for about three weeks, during which time I was exabated and a trachea was inserted. When the doctors figured out a ventilator setting that wouldn’t freak me out, I was able to wake up – one day before my 39th birthday (April 19). Happy Birthday to me!

On the rehab unit learning to walk

The process of weaning me off the vent was started and after a couple of weeks, I was sent to a rehab facility. At this facility, I started  vomiting pretty much non-stop for about five days which led to my blood pressure going way up again. I ended up having several grand mal seizures and was transferred back to the hospital where I was diagnosed with PRES (posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome). The visual processing center of my brain was affected, which meant I was UNABLE TO READ. Luckily, time and therapy has restored my vision to almost where it should be. However, you may notice typos in  this and future posts which can probably be attributed to my inability to see them.

The hospital gave me a four-hour pass to go on a date with Travis - good practice for the real world

As a result of spending so much time in bed, all my muscles atrophied and I had to learn to sit up and walk again. I’m currently in occupational and physical therapy to build my strength up again. Luckily it’s coming back much faster than expected. My impatience pays off for once! I’ve been home for about three weeks now and have been keeping myself busy catching up on emails (I had over 10,000 waiting for me!) and napping. We hired a nanny for the summer to help me with the kids since I’m still not cleared to drive and my endurance for activity still pretty short. I don’t think I’ll hit my reading goal for this year but at this point, I’m just happy to be home and alive!

At my welcome home party, one week after discharge