Journey to Health

Journey to Health –  We are never alone

When I last 6F6A3033wrote about my Journey to Health, I left you with me returning to the hospital intensive care unit and smelling like hell on earth. I’ve been a prayer warrior since having teenagers but this experience drew me closer and closer to our Savior. Thinking about it now, I am still surprised how well I handled all the setbacks and pain. I believe it was only through the power of Christ that I endured.

I stayed in the ICU for a day and then moved to the unit floor. The staff here was good and met my needs even if I was at the opposite end of the hall from the nurse’s station.

My day consisted of trying to swallow crushed pills, changing IV’s, to prevent blood clots walking the halls and trying not to expose any of my bits while being hooked up to an IV pole. Then of course there were several times a day the wound needed to be repacked. The skin all over my stomach was raw from the tape, bandages and surgery sites. The other five small incisions were doing just fine. My stomach was bruised from the Lovenox shots (to prevent blood clots) and the rash that was growing worse every hour. I had to be given more medications to help with the intense itching. It didn’t help heal the rash itself.

Tying to take a shower while stuff was oozing from the infection was a test of my ability not to smell death. Okay, I wasn’t dying but it smelled like it. I felt blessed that the shower had a seat. I was so weak I could not have stood that long. Getting wet and washing my hair felt like I had not totally lost my grip on reality. Have you ever noticed, time just seems to be different when you are in the hospital or in pain?

While all this was going on, God was still at work using me to fellowship and mentor. God is so amazing!

The nurses and staff were not extremely busy. Most of my time as an inpatient there were few patients on the ward.  The staff often came into my room to chat and I would ask about their lives. Each needed some loving attention of their own. I was so grateful for each of the staff.

My surgeon came to check on my twice a day and did his sharing of poking the infected incision. Before my surgery I had only seen him three times. The first day I was on the ward I was told he would need to open up the wound to get the infection out. Truthfully, I was scared.

What do you do when you are scared and completely out of your element?

Pray.

That’s what I did. Also, I had my iPhone and Pandora radio. I didn’t have earbuds so I put my phone on my shoulder and quietly listened to Christian praise music. Each song and lyrics God used to soothe my fears and remind me I was never alone.

The surgeon came in and I asked if I could still keep the music on while he did the procedure. He said “of course”. I was relieved. I felt I needed to fill every space around me with God’s presence. I closed my eyes and prayed while the surgeon, nurse practitioner and the RN prepared for the procedure.

The next thing I hear is my surgeon say, “that is one of my favorite songs.” And then he starts singing the praise song. I felt at that moment God showed me He had his hand on my surgeon and I could rest. I relaxed and then I heard two more voices blending with the surgeon. Both of the nurses were singing too. Knowing I was with my brother and sisters-in-Christ, my spirit soared

God is in the details of our lives. I had no idea these three special people loved the Lord and doing the Father’s work.

 

 

March 24,2016

giraffe sign

What I knew

The Journey to Health and what I knew.

The awful smell was more than I could have imagined. It was so retched that my sweet hubby could hardly stand to be in the room with me. He had planned to stay as long as I needed him. From under the wet cloth on my face, I peeked at him and saw a tortured soul. His concern for me very evident but his primal need to survive was kicking in. We hope never to smell anything nearly that bad for the remainder of our lives. The smell from my open wound was taking a physical toll on Seth. I told him to go home and get some rest. Reluctantly he escaped to sweeter smells.

I spent the night in the ICU. The staff was amazing.  I felt confident that I was receiving the best medical care available. Every thirty minutes or so someone was checking something, poking me with something, giving me crushed medications, IV Fluids, taking blood, or helping me up to walk or go the restroom. I did whatever they asked me to do so I could escape the odor.

I was not allowed to swallow pills for at least a month after surgery. The pouch was too small to allow them to pass through the opening. I had to endure a lot of awful thing. The crushed medication in applesauce or other concoction was in the top three worse things I had to do. Other meds and antibiotics were able to go through my IV.

From previous experiences I knew I was a hard stick. It was painful.  Each person who thought they could get the IV in successfully usually walked away apologizing for unsuccessfully sticking me several times. They had to call in the nurse from the surgery team to use ultra sound to find my vein. The IV experience was the hardest to endure.

I am allergic to adhesive glue. That means no bandages with glue. No tape. Each of them eat away my skin within an hour. Once a working IV was inserted there was always the problem of how to keep it in place. The nurses were creative but each attempt hurt and left me with raw skin. My veins begin flattening out and not allowing anything to go in or out. This caused a need for more sticks and attempts. I braved it all with a confidence that God is control and it would all be okay.

Through it all, I was able to keep my humor. I know that must have been a gift from God. Seth returned the next morning and shared with me that everyone was praying for me. I knew I would need their prayers to survive.

My surgeon and his nurse practitioner came in to examine the wound. It was decided that my surgeon would have to press the incision and try to get out the smelly puss of infection. He didn’t use any surgeon’s tool but only the tools God gave him. The doctor pressed down on my stomach and stretched open the opening.  Later one of the RN’s told me she was surprised and had never seen a surgeon remove the infection that way. She confessed she almost lost it when he opened it up and all that stuff came out.

The infection was over four inches deep and four inches wide on my left side. It had to be packed several times a day. This means they took and metal instrument or a long medical wood q-tip with cotton strips and packed the wound. They could not take any mercy with this procedure and only do it a little bit. If the cotton was not all the way to the bottom of the wound my body would heal on the outside and create tunnels of infection underneath. It had to heal from the bottom out. I had to allow them to poke the place that hurt the most several times a day. I knew I had to do it if I wanted to live. If I wanted to go home. No one knew when I would be going home.

I was moved out of the intensive care unit up to the regular surgery floor to a private room. It was beautiful and recently remodeled. Seth helped me get settled in my new digs but I could tell he was barely hanging on to his tummy contents. The smell had not lessened. If I moved the covers the smell permeated the beautifully remodeled room. Seeing that hubby was nearly green I sent him home again. He went home and was very sick. We thought perhaps he had a flu bug. I think he was just overcome by the smell.

The surgeon came to visit me twice a day. His NP was excellent. God was answering my prayers as I slowly walked this journey to health. I was unsure how bumpy the road would be but . . .

I knew my Creator,

I knew the Healer God loved me.

I knew, if I went to heaven it would be because my Father wanted me there.

I knew, I wanted whatever God wanted for me.