Thursday, January 26, 2012

A most Harrowing Time

Hello. Have you missed me? I have been thinking about how I would write this post for a few days. I don't want to give every minute detail, for fear of boring you with the details but I do want to give an account of what has been occurring with me and to my family for the past few weeks.

In the early hours of the Jan 5th, I awoke with the chills and a fever and having trouble breathing. This was odd to me as I had not been ill up to then. It was quite sudden. I sat out of bed and the bloke was concerned so he joined me watching as my breaths became more shallow. By 8am we decided to call for the Ambulance. Within ten minutes two ambulances appeared out the front. I was slightly embarrassed as I was only covered by a sheet, having been so hot. Never the less they put me on some oxygen and decided I needed to attend the emergency department of the local hospital. I was led out to the ambulance which had parked on the front lawn, close to the front door. I had trouble walking due to my breathing but eventually we got out there and then the struggle began to get me into the ambulance. Due to my size I couldn't get onto the stretcher so they had me squeeze into the seat in back that was way to small for my big bum and it was so uncomfortable.
 On arrival at the hospital we were told that they could not take me in as they did not have a bariatric bed for me. I cried as by then I was getting distressed. In all I waited two hours. Yes two bloody hours in the back of the ambo while they looked for a bed. Eventually they found one and I was placed onto it and wheeled inside to a room. More good news-NOT!
The attending doctor informed me they could not assess me so were sending me to Perth. I was stunned as I still didn't think I was so ill.

Anyway I travelled by road, in a bariatric ambulance to a major metropolitan hospital some 7 hours drive away. I only remember things up to two or three hours into the trip. The rest is a blank.

I awoke groggily to hear my sister telling me to do what the doctors said as they were trying to help me. Apparently I broke three masks and swore at the staff. Sorry people-I know not what I did.

The next time I wake it was to see the worried face of the bloke and my daughters who were all crying. I was thinking what are they all doing here crying? It  was then that the bloke told me that they had nearly lost me.
Gulp! I couldn't take it all in. In the ED they had to try very hard to save me, not once but three times. Yes folks I was knocking on heavens door. My body was shutting down and I was nearly no more. Sigh. How utterly shit is that?
I am just 47 years old. I have a beautiful, caring husband, five of the loveliest daughters and many friends and family. Anyway thanks to the excellent treatment of the amazing doctors of Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital I pulled through. One of my doctors who came to see me on the Sunday said he was surprised to see me still here, after seeing me in ED. The odd thing was I was a little numb. I just could not accept what had happened. Which was obviously a protective mechanism. In fact even now I feel a little lost.
I saw so many different doctors and other allied staff it was confusing.

Basically what happened was that unbeknown to me I had a chest infection. I also had infection in my lymphodeama leg, which made my body toxic, and it caused my body to go into a tailspin. I went into respiratory failure. The treatment to get me going involved pumping me with fluid. And it caused me to gain 18 litres, which is the same as 18 kg of excess fluid. As if I wasn't heavy enough. When the physiotherapists got me up I could barely stand due to the heaviness. However they then pumped me full of diuretics and I dumped most of the fluid, although I still have some in my left leg and waist and tummy. :(
The decision was made that to save my life in the future the time had come to get into serious weight reducing mode. Sigh. Yep again. I know I need to do this to survive. I have been put on a 6000 kj diet and it is tough to say the least. I can't stop thinking about food. But I will save the talk about that for another blog post.

I am on a BPAP machine when I sleep. This ensures I get enough oxygen when I sleep and helps rid my lungs of carbon dioxide. To use this I had to get over my claustrophobia real quick. But it is not the best nicest thing to do, not to mention the way I look. :)

So there you go. I am sure I have waffled on way to long, but I had a lot to say.
I only have a few pics today and they are not the best but it adds a little colour.

                                            Beautiful flowers my SIL gave me but was not allowed to have in the respiratory HDU.

Take care, talk soon.

Oh and I must thank all the people who have wished me well. Not everyone knows as the kids posted mostly on facebook or sent texts. :)


  1. Jan, I am almost in tears and am utterly horrified to hear what you have gone through. And your poor family. You have all had such a very hard time.

    Bless the staff for working so very hard to save your life, because you are meant to be here!

    I can only imagine that the diet must be so very hard. I know this may sound trite, but I am speaking from my heart:

    Jan, you need to remember that those Doctors worked so very hard to save you and you have been lucky enough to be given a second chance. In many ways I consider you to be a living miracle! :-)

    As a daughter who has lost her own mum way too young, I can tell you that I've learnt live with the pain, but my mum's death and absence haunts me every single day as I live my life and watch my children grow, knowing that she's not here to see it. It has in some ways broken my heart.

    So no matter how hard this diet is, you need to maintain your focus about how you are meant to be here and you are going to need to fight for it.

    You need to remember that your daughters need you. Your husband needs you. Your friends need you and your friends in blog-land need you (that includes me of course! ;-)).

    That is definitely worth fighting for and worth continuing to fight for. One day, one hour, one moment, one breath at a time. Take care and continue to feel better.

    Please make sure you continue to update. Remember there are many people here to cheer for you and support you! xoxoxoxo

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about what you and your family went through. It sounds terrifying and I'm glad you're back.

    To answer your question, yes, I missed you!

    If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

  3. Jan I'm way behind in reading blog posts. I hope things are on the improve for you and that you're feeling lots and lots better.