Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Seven Days x Seven Days x Seven Days

It is funny how something can suddenly happen to completely and totally change your plans.

This happened to me.

Seven days ago, I was in the hospital waging a battle for my health, my life.  I was stricken suddenly with a microbial bacteria in my salivary glands that made it swell the size of a softball.  I had a raging fever and a heart rate in the danger zone.

Seven days prior to that I did something I hadn't done in five years. I went to a primary care doctor to have a routine physical. We moved from one city to another and with the busy life of a mom juggling a daughter with five illnesses, routine just didn't fit into the routine.  This visit to this wonderful doctor changed my life, she diagnosed me with bronchitis, that persistent cough that I thought was a remnant from trip to New York.  More importantly, she established care.

Five days after my visit to her, bronchitis making me gasp for air as if I were an Olympic diver stuck at the bottom of the pool, my lymph node under my chin decided to swell to the size of a softball, suddenly, violently red.  I called her as soon as Monday morning kissed me hello.

'I do not like the look of this.  I am referring you to a specialist, he can't get you in today.  You will see him in the morning."

She sent me home on antibiotics, ibuprofen for the pain, and instructions to rest until morning, call her in 10 days after the antibiotic runs its course.

The next day could not come fast enough.

My husband had already left for a business trip on MOnday morning, my teenager son out-of-town having his last hurrah with his big brothers before college, me home alone with my two daughters, my ever-present nurses.

I drove my self to the specialist and one look and he quickly tried to mask his concern so as not to scare the girls.  "I am direct admitting you to the hospital.  That is almost cutting off your airways, I need you to get the girls settled and get to the hospital." I obeyed.

The drive home, thought the heat was from St.Louis summer, not the battle raging in my neck, seemed as if it was a blur, my girls reassuring me and trying to text their daddy that "mommy is really sick."

We quickly packed our bags.  I needed someone to come get the girls, and it seemed as if suddenly, everyone was gone, literally, all my friends, my family, I couldn't find anyone for that agonizing forty minutes it took to get packed and downstairs.  Finally, I reached my surrogate, adopted daughter.

Mama, I will be right there and take the girls wherever you need.

When she saw me, she gasped.  The girls hugged me and off I went.

Praying the entire way to the hospital, not thinking I was as sick as I was.

My paperwork was already in the system waiting for me. Everyone at the hospital was attentive, personable, friendly, helpful, and efficient.

The team sprung into action, checking me in, inputting my history into the system, my wristband barcoded and QR coded with everything that will happen to me.  I am put on IV fluids and steroids and morphine and antiobiotics.  My heart rate was over 122, my body was raging in this fight.

I love my surgeon.  He ordered a CAT-scan to show what was happening with that I thought was just a swollen salivary gland, lymph node.  He quickly diagnosed the problem and aggressively started preparing me for surgery.


My husband and sons were out-of-town.  My friends were now in action, getting food ready for when the kids would return home in another day.  My husband across the country.

Inside my body, an epic battle was raging like a blockbuster movie waiting for the big screen.  One tiny, unexpected, little, teeny microbial bacteria invaded a healthy system.  I'm a non-smoking, non-drinking, vegetarian!  I eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, avoid chips, cookies, and high fructose soda.  All my organs, the big guys, were at war with this little bitty thing that threw the entire system in hand-to-hand combat.

It is major.

Once my body was ready for surgery and the doctor worked his magic, my body started to heel, still so full of medicines, my levels starting to be normalized.

He said we are going to give your body the time it needs, not in a hurry.  I stayed in the hospital another two days, allowing my body to heal, thankful for the time to do it.

I came home on the day of my wedding anniversary, alive to see it for yet another year.

My friends made soup, vegetable soup, that started to make me feel again.  And rest, harder to say than to do, I have a kid ready for college in one week!

Seven days, that is all it takes to turn your world upside down.

Seven days, that is all it takes to make you realize that dirty laundry can wait.

Seven days, that is all it takes to know that EVERYONE should have excellent health care.

Seven days, that is all it takes.

Seven days, that is all it takes.

Seven days.

Life can change in seven days.

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