I wish I could really express how my life has changed in these last few months. It is hard to explain how bad, how sad my life had become these last few years. Actually if I am really honest the changes began about 15 years ago. I was 48 and having problems with my knees. I went to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Richard Evans. He told me that he would do arthroscopic surgery and fix both of my knees at the same time. He was highly recommended and I decided to go for it. My surgery was on a Monday and Dr. Evans assured me I would start therapy on Wednesday and I would be driving within 2 weeks. Sounded good to me. I awoke from surgery to hear the words you never want to hear from a doctor. "Honey, I am really sorry but things were so much worse than we anticipated. You are going to be non-weight bearing for 2 months." "You mean 2 weeks", I said. "No, I mean 2 months."
I went home, we got a hospital type bed and put it in my living room. I was strapped in a contraption called an immobilizer that pretty much kept my entire right side from the hip down from moving. My sweet husband began to sleep on the horribly uncomfortable couch in our living room. I had an adult potty chair IN MY LIVING ROOM! And so the waiting to heal began...
About 2 1/2 weeks into this drama, a really good and wonderful friend, Darla, came over to my house to cut and color my hair. We got me into the wheelchair and through trial and error and a lot of laughter, managed to get my hair washed in my kitchen sink. Just after she had finished my phone rang and it was my mom. I told Darla I could get myself into bed, hugged and thanked her and then proceeded to talk to mom. Part way through our conversation I started having this really bad, sharp pain in the right side of my lower chest. I felt just like when you get a stitch in your side from running. I told mom I was going to have to get off the phone and I rolled myself into the living room and got into the bed. Lying down hurt as bad as sitting but I got myself into a half sitting/half lying position kind of on my side and it wasn't too bad.
A couple of hours later another good friend, Teresa, stopped by on her way home from work to visit, bringing me a beautiful gift of 2 little candleholders and candles. We visited and she could see I was in some serious pain and asked if I wanted her to take me to the hospital. I declined, telling her I would be fine. She kept trying to talk me into it and about then my hubby came home from work. He wouldn't listen to my protests that I was fine and he called my PCP, Dr. Greta McClaren. After he explained the entire situation she said, "Get her to the emergency room, immediately!!" I could not climb up into our big van and I could not get down into our little Dodge Charger. I managed to get into the back seat of Teresa's car kind of on my side again.
I kept protesting about the need to go to the ER but when we arrived at St. Joseph's hospital they took one look at me and moved me to the front of the triage line and then after a pulse ox of 57% suddenly they were running me back to a room and there was a doctor standing on either side of the door. At that point I began to think, "Hmmmm, maybe something is going on!" They immediately sent me for an MRI, x-rays and a ct scan. Turned out I had a massive Pulmonary Embolism. I was given a drug called TPA and we were told it was extremely dangerous and could cause a bleed in the brain. We spoke with our PCP, whom we greatly respected and she told us we really had no choice. The embolism could kill me as easily as the brain bleed so we chose to go ahead with it.
I am going to stop here and continue this saga tomorrow. What you have read so far is the easy part of what happened to me during my 13 day stay in the hospital. I promise I won't leave you hanging, I will continue tomorrow!