Well it’s been a while since I’ve written any kind of story, but it’s only because I really didn’t have anything to write about. That has changed. I realize now after the past two months that I have something to say and now is the time to say it.
I grew up in a little town on Lake Superior. Ashland was the home of my parents and my grandparents lived close by. I was very lucky living so close to them. Growing up seemed like it took forever, but now when I look back, it zoomed by faster than the Starship Enterprise chasing among the stars. It was over in an minute and then I was a young adult.
Off to college, then to my first job and then much too soon the end of my working years due to an unfortunate back condition. Adhesive arachnoiditis, wish I could forget I ever heard those words. But it was the end of the line for me and try as I might I can not seem to overcome the pain enough to do any kind of work, part-time, volunteer, etc. I can not even depend on feeling well enough to go out for breakfast most days.
And then September 2013 came. It was a normal day, I had been feeling tired and very angry about a family issue that I do not care to delve into right here. Let’s just say, money does things to some folks, even folks you have known all your life, turn out to be people you don’t know at all.
I couldn’t sleep so I got up because my scalp itched. It has been going on for a while, I saw a dermatologist who prescribed an antibiotic a few months ago. I complained that the medication gave me a stomach ache but like a good patient, I took the medication. I had some of the medication left over, and it was sitting there right next to a bottle of Benadryl spray. I thought about just spraying my head, it’s just a little spot, but then I saw the medication and took it. I fell back asleep in the chair in the living room and a few hours later woke up to the most terrible pain in my back I had ever felt.
I had to call out to Jerry to help me to the bathroom because I was going to be very sick. He came running and soon we were on the way to the hospital. Within 5 hours of taking that pill, my skin was orange, my eyes were yellow, my feet were so swollen I could not get my shoes off and had the nurse pull them off. It wasn’t long before they admitted me to the hospital.
I can’t remember a lot about the first 8 days in the hospital. I know people were there, but I can’t tell you all their names and I have no idea what we talked about. I know that the doctors kept asking me if I remembered anything else I had done before I felt sick. I did not remember taking that antibiotic so they didn’t know I took it.
My liver and kidneys shut down as did the rest of my organs one by one. I was not getting any better and no one knew why. I asked Jerry to bring me my CD player that I used to take to work and my CD’s in the case I took to work. I knew there was something I had to tell the doctors, but I couldn’ t remember anything. By this time a lot of poison was going through my brain and I could barely remember my own name.
Jerry apparently tore the house apart looking for my old CD player and the CD’s but he found it and brought it to me. I turned off all the lights in my room and put in, do I even have to say it? Jimmy Buffett, “ Meet Me In Margaritaville” the 2nd CD. I listened to it with my eyes shut and I kept going over that day in my head. I knew there was something more, but I just couldn’t think. And then the third time I heard “ Schoolboy Heart”, it clicked! I took an antibiotic, I wrote it down so when the doctor came in the next day I told him what I had taken.
I know I was taken to dialysis many times during the 13 days I was in the hospital, but I don’t remember most of them, actually I only remember going up there twice. It was a weird feeling having tubes hanging out of my neck and having all my blood taken out and put back. It was very weird. It didn’t really hurt, but I had miserable headaches at night after dialysis, but since I was so sick they gave me really strong painkillers, stronger than the ones I normally take for back pain.
And now for the astonishing part. I didn’t really know I was that sick. I didn’t have a clue I was laying there dying, but I was. My husband was terrified, I also didn’t know that. I knew he was concerned but I was so out of it, I didn’t really understand how serious it was. I guess that’s a blessing not to know you are in real trouble.
And now that it is over and my last labs confirm that my kidneys and liver and everything else is working just fine I have a few things to say. First, my family and friends mean the world to me. I can’t imagine life without any of you, even if I don’t see you for a long time believe me you are always in my thoughts and I am always wishing for nothing but good things for each and every one of you.
Secondly, as far as those folks who have gone out of their way to hurt my family in the past year, I don’t wish to be mean, but I am taking my brother’s advice and I am no longer devoting any of my time trying to rationalize your awful behavior and will not try to repair our relationship. Life is too short to spend it with people like you; to put it more plainly, mean people suck.
Finally, having a disability is a terrible thing. I don’t like being in pain all the time and I am sure that those of you going through this hate it too. But, I welcome feeling this pain because it means I am alive to feel it. So even it I complain and yes sometimes feel very sorry for myself, I will try to remember that this pain can only be felt by the living and I am damned glad to be among the living.
Thanks for listening.
PS And thank you Jimmy Buffett for restoring this Parrothead back to life.