So this is continued from my previous blog post: “Storytime! Back to the beginning…” and still stubborn – the end of my time at UTMB hospital and my migration to Methodist…
So to recap where we left off – The first half of my hospitalization I was at UTMB, my current school and hospital. Still, the stubbornness in me decided I was fine (even though I was yellow and puffy) to continue school work like it was normal.
The day I entered the ER was right after a meeting with my mentor and one of the heads of student affairs to convince them I was healthy enough to stay in school that semester. At this point also, work wise, I was facing a deadline for a submission of a manuscript to the Journal of American Geriatrics Society and it was my first time being first author (big deal in PhD student world). I was determined to meet this and as evidence according to my laptop – my last save date on this manuscript revision was 5 days before my kidneys and liver failed and the night I was transferred to Methodist. If that’s not stubborn I don’t know what is. (Manuscript was accepted for publication this summer after my return from leave of absence because they are amazing at that journal)
I don’t remember much from my stay at UTMB until they transferred me to Methodist in the medical center too well. Like I said, I really wasn’t taking my illness very seriously despite what the doctors and nurses were saying. Every day the week at UTMB my body got more and more cumbersome. I got bigger each day (I gained 12 pounds of fluid in the 7 days I was there), and it became harder and harder for me to move. I remember trying to go for a walk around the floor one night with Sean and KS a few days in, which ended about 2 minutes into it because I was leaving a trail of blood across the floor behind me. Not awesome. I remember watching wrestling of all things on my TV and trying to explain to KS why on earth it was on my tv haha….I remember feeling ok, but I needed help getting my legs up onto the bed after I had walked to the bathroom. I remember my pee looking like Dr. Pepper. Kinda awesome. Like I keep saying, I really didn’t take my health very seriously when I was there because every other time I was in the hospital at UTMB with “vague stomach issues” the year before they always seemed to fix me in a week and then I went home. Each time with normal levels and functioning. So no harm, no foul right? Nope. I kept thinking, I’m too young for anything this serious, there’s no way.
When they told me I was being transferred I was so swollen I barely fit on the gurney to transport me into the ambulance and I even broke one of the hydraulics on the lift mechanism to get me into the ambulance. I try to tell myself that the EMS people were just tiny but in reality I was a big yellow dying whale 🙂 At that point I didn’t care….when you feel that sick and are that big, wanting to fit the normal stereotype of beauty and fitness goes out the window. And let’s be honest….who does look model-cute on a gurney going into an ambulance at night?
Anyways (side rant on body issues incoming), so the size issue is something you guys know is something I still both struggle with and am passionate about. So, to beat a dying horse as some might say, I’ve lost about 60 pounds since my final pre-liver weigh in…but I’m still not something the typical person would look twice at because I have a long way to go, which some of you might take issue with me saying – “love your body” “accept who you are, love yourself” – I do somedays, and somedays I frankly don’t. I’m working on it. Example, things like this do not help: Over the summer I had some misguided soul attempt to flirt with me (which I’m so out of touch with how that stuff happens nowadays since I’ve been happily out of practice for a decade) until they talked to me for a bit one on one in person one day – upon which, they were pretty hilariously candid about their feelings and their subsequent repulsion. I met the candidness with equal return about the confusion of the entire situation…i.e., “omg you thought what…about what…holy crap. Hard no, you’re a terrible person.” I guess other people have different issues lol, because none of that was asked for. But I suppose honesty is honesty, and it did serve as a great reminder of the unconditional love I do have in my life and how precious it is to protect since apparently at my age there are still “those” kind of people out there…
So moving on, so this is me….my abdomen goes in weird directions because I’m still less than a freaking year out….I have scars everywhere, look like Deadpool, stretch marks from being so swollen (example…my feet have stretch marks…FEET) and one of my anti-rejection meds makes my hair thin and fall out. And it’s a weird sensation to think about….I have Sean in my life and love it (my life) and him…but if I didn’t would anyone in their right mind society wise give me a second glance? And again, follow me for a second – it’s an honest question for I’m sure a lot of people that are my age and my health situation. How do you feel “pretty” as a woman again after this type of ordeal? I would emphasize “at my age” but I’d like to think it doesn’t get any easier at any age. I know it’s possible…I’ve seen the ads on tv and the motivational posters online. But the real story is often much more philosophically, “taking the proverbial mini van driving off-road uphill both ways esque”. So to answer that question – (and the only answer I have) is sometimes no, sometimes yes, and we all know that’s true. It’s a cosmic crap shoot that God already saw the end of the roll but we don’t get too yet. So I guess what I’m trying to say is take what you see on Facebook/the internet on inner beauty with a grain of salt, because reality is very different, and yes it makes me very sad some days. But it get’s better, and you know what – we can all use an exercise in honesty, me especially. (got to love body image rants…I’ll stop when it stops being true for a lot of silent women)
Anways, back to the story – to wrap this part up. I’m back at UTMB and they’re about to move me to Methodist. They loaded me up into the ambulance and at least part of it that was fun was riding super-fast with their lights on down 45 the entire way from Galveston to the Houston med center. Weirdly enough, I got more questions from people asking about that single drive than the fact I was now in ICU – God bless nervous banter, I’ll admit I’m the worst about doing that. They brought me into literally one of the nicest hospital rooms I’ve ever been in the first night. You have no idea, I was so happy. At the old UTMB hospital, before renovations, the rooms were tiny, stuffy, but here – this room had a walk in shower with a bench built in. Me and my wobbly legs were so happy looking at that. So yea, I never got to use it…because by early morning I was down in ICU with one of my doctors on my surgical team screaming at the nurses that I should not have been brought to this magical room. I belonged in ICU STAT. Bye, bye fancy shower and toilet. Also, might sound cheesy, but at this point when I began to have an inkling of the realization of, “oh crap this is real” it was so comforting to know I was in our medical center here and under some of the best care in the world. I hope everyone living in Houston and the surrounding area realizes how incredibly blessed we are to be right here when the proverbial health poop hits the ceiling fan.
Happy weekend everyone ❤ much love for reading this, you guys and your support are amazing. As I shared with a friend today, every day is still a new struggle and some days are much harder to bear than others. But seeing the support from ya’ll, even if it’s something silly like seeing 1 extra person read my blog on my stats page helps cheer me up and motivate me to move forward. Also, hit me up anytime – I’m almost always on my PC for work and always make time for anyone.