Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Falling Down, getting up slowly, part 2 THE PEOPLE

I simply cannot write about my ordeal without mentioning the way people in my life offered themselves and the positive impact that had. The weekend I was in so much pain both Tiffany from Indianapolis and Rach from Lafayette came to visit their Dad. Later after I returned home Josh and Lauren came by too. My B.N.I. Group, The Lions Club, my co-workers, Kathy's family and friends, friends from my past, neighbors... Thank you.
The staff at the hospital was wonderful as my room mate Gary and I would often comment.
Abby, Ian, thank you too. And none of this would have turned out like this without my Kathy, my wife, my love, (and personal nurse)

Falling Down, getting up slowly

Two weeks ago at this very moment I was at Parkview Hospital. I am back home now after a 10 day stay, recovering from acute pancreatitis. Moments ago I checked my other blog and discovered the morning of my attack I had written an entry, so all was well, so I thought.
At about 1pm I had severe pains in my abdomen. It felt like someone had just grabbed me around the middle, just under my ribs, and was squeezing. My back was in severe pain radiating from my lower back upwards, and I was in a cold sweat. I drove over to a gas station and went into their bathroom, thinking perhaps it was indigestion. However this pain was so severe and nothing was helping. Earlier in the day I spoke on the phone with a friend/client of mine that did not show up for a meeting the previous week, and found out he was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. Thoughts of the symptoms that my own mom had in the days leading up to fatal heart attack were also racing through my mind. I called Kathy, and then I went across the street to the fire station, since they should be able to save my life if I was having a heart attack. No one was there; they were all out at a fire I guess, so I drove myself about a mile to the E.R. at Parkview Hospital. A guard told me I could not park my car where it was so I gave him my keys and went inside to get help. I remember slumping in a wheel chair answering questions, calling Kathy on the cell phone to tell her where I was and then the rest of the details are rather sketchy.

Kathy told me later that they did either a cat scan or ultra sound and determined what the problem really was, my pancreas had a duct that was blocked and my heart was fine. So Tuesday September 13th I got to spend the night in bed 650-2 where I stayed until September 22nd.

Something new since the last time I was ever hospitalized was the "Pain Scale". Pain management over the last several years has become important according to Kathy and those first few days, the nursing staff would ask me every few hours what my pain level was. A seven to a nine was my usual answer. My doctor wanted to do a procedure over the weekend to alleviate the blockage so the healing of my pancreas would progress, but the team of doctors that do the procedure were not available until Monday and after searching other medical teams, was not able to locate a team that had done the procedure before. So as the days passed, they kept a close eye on my condition, tried to reduce my pain and look forward to Monday.

Monday, the 20th finally arrived and I remember being taken down to the room where they told me to lie down on my stomach. I told them they were crazy, and they said "no, really." The Doctors inserted a scope down my throat; I remember vomiting and then being back in my bed upstairs. During the procedure, they inserted a stint in the blocked bile duct. The pain level was down to about a 4 to 5, and although I was still incredibly weak, I was beginning to feel relief, after nearly a week of pain.

Two days later I had surgery to remove my gallbladder to prevent this from ever happening again. Now my recovery is based on getting stronger physically as I had no solid foods for nearly 10 days. Fatigue and mental alertness seem to be improving each day. Also on the medical side, I will undergo a liver function test later this week which will be reviewed October 3rd. Also in a couple of weeks, the doctors will remove the stint. Uck.

Okay, enough of these details, now for a more important change that occurred.

Thoughts of death occurred during the first week of this ordeal. I know where I am going when I die, due to surrendering my ENTIRE life to Christ the summer of 1982. And there have been a couple of times in my life when I thought I might die (auto accidents) and I don't have a fear of death. I remember praying to God over the weekend when I was in pain, that if God wanted to take my life I was ready, yet I knew if I was going to be healed that my life needed a good make over. Too much time was spent doing unimportant things. We all have been blessed with the same 24 hours each day. My make over includes carefully weighing anything that I add to my life in respect to priorities of God, Family and then the rest. With God's Grace, as I recuperate physically and mentally, I will also grow spiritually.