After finally getting another nurse to take her concerns seriously, an MRI was done and it was found that she had a pulmonary embolism. A blood-clot in her lung, a potentially fatal condition! They were able to dissolve the clot with Heparin and Lovenox. She has a bloodclotting disorder called Antiphospholipid Syndrome and will forever need to take a blood thinner and make monthly trips to a Coumadin Outpatient Clinic. She is giving up hope of ever getting better. Of ever going back to her old life. Depression sits heavy on her mind. She thinks of suicide often, even plans it. She frequently asks to speak to the hospital clergy, and prays with them…hoping somehow their “holyness” will rub off on her!
Finally after missing family birthdays, and many holidays…she is sent home. A home nursing service will follow her. Her abdomen will remain open until it is safe for them to attempt to reconnect her intestine and allow her to eat. At home she is only able to lay in the recliner, she cannot lay in bed because she is unable to get back up. She has a wound vac attached to her abdomen, that suctions secretions out, she has the central line still providing her nutrition, a bag is hung each night for this purpose. Her husband and grandfather have learned how to care for all her tubing and feedings and machines…a big job for two “regular guys.” There are many trips to the hospital due to infections, electrolyte imbalances, ostomy leaks and tests. But she is thankful to be home. Although she is basically a “lump in a chair” atleast she is surrounded by her family. She begins to slowly recover and to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
She is finally ready to try to have the final surgery to reconnect her intestines and close up her abdomen. She is extremely nervous about more complications but is also very hopeful that the end of this nightmare is near. She comes through the surgery very well…no complications this time! The staples run from her breastbone to her pubic bone. The criss-crossing scars allover her belly look like a child’s scribbled map…but she is just happy her “insides” are again ON the inside where they belong! The recovery process is slow and scary. The constant fear that she would develop a fistula (hole) in her bowel or an infection or a blockage is at the forefront of her mind. She will forever live with pain due to adhesions, scar tissue, neuralgia, neuromas, and bowel issues…there is a very high risk for obstructions and she must really be careful about what she eats…no raw veggies or fruits, no red meats, no nuts or seeds, no beans…nothing high in fiber. But she is free of tubes! Her body is hers again!
Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. Her children grow up. She becomes a grandmother at 45! She is so thrilled with her grandson! During his infancy she cradles him lovingly every chance she gets! Although she tires easily and has constant pain, she revels in these moments with her first grandbaby! Her marriage has developed into a very close if passionless partnership. Due to the pain, intimacy is all but non-existant. She is unable to hold a “real job” due to her health issues. They lost their home due to their mounting medical bills. They now lived in a cheap rental, but she did her best to make it their home. It was just the two of them now. They had what they would consider a decent life now, always thankful to be alive and to be here for her children and now grandchild. They found a wonderful church to worship at. Although she had gone through a period of anger at God for what had happened to her, she always kept her faith, and her relationship with God open.
She wanted to find a “meaning” to all she had been through in her life. Why had her life been such a struggle? Was she a bad person? A bad little girl? A bad daughter? A bad mom? She imagined she must have been some horrible person in a past life to deserve such misery! Lizzy Borden perhaps? She felt there must be a reason God had set her on such a tumultuous path in life. There must be some meaning she was to find. She is compelled to discover it. She wonders if she can use what she’s been through to help others? But how? She knows one thing for sure…she did not live through all she’s lived through, for nothing!
To be continued
“Unhappiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life, but from the conditioning of your mind” Tolle