On June 28th, 2016 I discovered what appeared to be a blood blister on the underside of my stomach, on the left side. It ruptured and we didn’t think much of it, after all it appeared to be a blood blister. I was tired and I hadn’t been feeling great. Over the next few days I gotten much sicker. I was hurting all over, my lower back was killing me, as was the 101.1-103.1 fever. I could barely move, and I wasn’t eating, barely drinking. My skin was paling out a lot, and the pain was the worst pain I had ever felt.
On July 2nd, Elias, my husband, asked my roommate to drive us tot he ER, cause my fever wasn’t breaking, and the blood blister was weeping nasty liquid and I was getting sicker. We spent eight long hours in the ER. I had an MRI and a cat scan, and they discovered that from the blood blister “hole” there were nine tubes branching out from it, and they called it an abscess. They sent me home without pain killers, and a single antibiotic and directions to get an appointment from Georgia Suricare asap to have it cleaned and drained properly.
By ten pm on July 3rd, I was throwing up nearly non stop, nothing but black bile, and at midnight on the 4th, and the 5th, I was back in the ER at Elias’s deep concern. They gave me pain meds and told me to make sure I went to Sugricare on the 6th for my appointment, but they simply said it was a bad abscess. I spent the 5th, mainly in bed, throwing up or sleeping. The morning of July 6th, Elias had to help me shower and dress, and then get me down the stairs from our apartment, the entire time, I was pale, running a 101 fever, and throwing up. When we got to the office in Logonville, which is about 23 minutes from our apartment in Monroe, GA, Elias went in, and got a nurse and a wheelchair.
Forty five minutes pass before I got into the office. The surgeon took one look at what was the abscess, looked at my person, and then looked at the second surgeon and announced I was going to be admitted to Clearview, the hospital in Monroe, and I was going to have surgery that afternoon, because I was septic. On the orders for Clearview, it stated I was septic and that I had necrotizing fasciitis. They got me into a private room on the main floor. They checked my blood sugar and due to the infection, which can raise your blood sugar, it was in the 500 range. Between that, the breathing issues I was having, and the fact my vomiting was getting worst, and that they could not get an IV into my arm because of the dehydration, they moved me to ICU with in thirty minutes. I sent my husband off to go to work around four,and by six I was in surgery. Those few hours before surgery are fuzzy. I remember my surgeons coming in and saying that I had to have the surgery in order to save my life, and I was so confused, considering that I still didn’t know what exactly the issues were.
When I won’t up the following day, the surgeon’s assist explained to me why I still have the venation tube in, and why I now had four separate IV’s in, and what I had. He explained that due to a bacteria, Group A Strep. He said I had gone septic, toxic, and that my lungs went in to full respiratory arrest so they put the breathing tube in, in order to save my life. He also said, with how far the damage was, there would be another surgery that Friday, to remove more of the infected tissue and such, and that I was very lucky to be alive, but I was not out of the woods yet. ( note: Later I discovered I had a Cardiac event, meaning my heart stopped, I flat lined twice during that first surgery, )
Five days, three different surgeries, ICU… clouded in pain meds, and this mind numbing fear as I learned more about what was happening to me, and what could happen. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact I had nearly died, and could die from this. On the sixth day, they moved me back to the main floor, and then two days later, I was transferred to Athens, GA to a private rehab wound care specializing hospital called Landmark. There I spent the next twenty four days, mostly with out visitors, because My husband had to work, and we had no transportation for them to visit me more then twice: on my birthday, and the day I was able to come home.
While in the hospital I had multitude of antibiotics via the pic line in my right bicep two to five times day each. I had iv fluids, and many other medicines given to me. Twice a week a wound care specialist would come, and after a strong dose of an iv pain killer, I would be turned and rolled, photographed, and then have my abdominal cavities exposed so they could flush them, and then clean the various open wounds. Then they would pack the wounds with this white sponge that could not touch my bare skin, other then in the wounds, and cover them with clear large sheets of clear material that was tape but looked like saran wrap. Every day occupational therapists and physical therapists would come, and I would be gotten up, to learn to use the walker to get to the bathroom, to make it down the hall, to rebuild strength in my legs and arms. I fought the pain, the never ending nausea, and grasping how I almost died.
Coming home has been difficult. I still use a walker, biweekly visits to the hospital for wound vac changes, weekly blood work to be sure my white cell count is good. I have a physical therapist come to my apartment twice a week to help me regain strength, and I have just recently began to use a cane, with supervision so I can regain to my my balance and gain my independence again.