This is a hard day for me.
3 years ago this morning in the wee hours of the morning, I threw up until I couldn’t walk anymore. My mother held my waist length hair back to prevent it from getting in the toilet.
I don’t remember any of this. I don’t remember not being able to walk back to bed without help, or going back to sleep.
I do remember waking up and realizing my tongue was huge, and telling my mother to phone my doctor.
I remember my clothes being cut off, the nightmare that is sedation, and waking up from sedation.
I don’t remember getting sepsis and pneumonia and crashing on Christmas day.
I don’t remember waking up the second time (or was it the first time).
I know I almost died, twice.
And I know that that will be with me forever.
It’s not like the movies.
I didn’t not get to a happy ending or to ride off into the sunset with music that let everyone know I would be just fine.
Instead I could barely walk out of the hospital, and when I got into the car it was cold, dark and gloomy.
I could barely speak above a whisper for months, and my throat felt so raw from a tube being pushed down it with enough force to reach my lungs, twice. (once when I got to the hospital and once when I crashed).
There no happy ending or happily ever after. It’s a fairy tale lie.
There’s been reflection on why I am alive, and really the answers been “I don’t know.”. Why did I live when so many other’s died?
I’d like to believe that I have some future that I have to fulfil, but I’m not sure of that. Maybe? Hopefully?
I’d like there to be a happy ending, where I say “everyday is a gift”, but that’s not true. It hasn’t made me appreciate live any more, made me happy every day, or given me a “new lease on life”. It’s the same old life.
It’s just as hard, if not harder because in the years since, covid has come and has not gone, my father was diagnosed as palliative, I became one of his main caregivers, the house has gotten messier, I spend most days in my pajamas just trying to survive, and somedays I don’t eat all day, followed by days I do eat all day.
There’s no good end to this. Either I completely wear out from caregiving or my father dies. It’s not going to end well.
Having almost died, does not make this any easier. It doesn’t make me more thankful to be alive. Why would it?
Live is hard, and it’s not just hard for me. It’s hard for many people, especially right now with covid, the cancellation of Christmas gatherings, and people intent on making it harder on everyone by protesting new mask laws.
You would think, that reflecting on almost dying, would be a happy and upbeat reflection. It’s not. I’m sorry if that’s what you came for, but I won’t lie to you.
Being as sick as one can be without dying is not fun, and it’s not joyful afterwards either. It doesn’t give you a new lease on life. It doesn’t make life better than before. You just go back to the same old life you had before with the same old problems you had before.
I planned on doing what I could for making life easier for people who were in the ICU as soon as I woke up from sedation. Later as I read the tweets of ICU staff I wanted to make things better for staff too.
I wanted to write my storey, and I had plans for making a support group for former and present ICU patients and their families.
I didn’t do either. I tried to, but as Dad got sicker and my caregiving roles increased, and life took over, I slowly stopped keeping this blog up or making inquiries into support groups at the hospital. I felt guilty for focusing on my problems as Dad got sicker and sicker.
I admire those people like John Walsh who set up America’s Most Wanted after his son was beheaded by a serial killer, but I don’t know how he did it without being side tracked by other things.
I don’t know. I wish I did.
I did not have covid. I had an allergic reaction to a newly prescribed medication.
You do not want to be that sick. You do not want to get covid. You do not want to crash on any day. You do not want to be intubated. You do not want to be extubated. You do not want the PTSD that comes after hospital discharge.
There is no happy ending. Life goes on. More family tragedies happen.
Everyday does not become a gift. Instead every day becomes hard. It gets hard to wake up, hard to keep going, and hard to do basic things like eating, brushing teeth or doing hair. PTSD (which many people get from being in the ICU), follows you around making life harder. There is no “new lease on live”. That is Hollywood fiction.
If you don’t want your life to get even harder than it is right now. If you want brushing your teeth to be a simple daily task and not a chore you put off for days, than do all you can from preventing you and your loved ones from getting covid.
Wear a mask. Social Distance. Wash you hands. Stay at home as often as you can.
It’s hard. I know. I would love to go to a hotel and just be by myself and relax in a Jacuzzi all day, like I’ve done before. I need alone time to just be and think, but it’s hard to get now.
I need new clothes, because three of my jeans have ripped now. I want to get my bangs cut.
But I’m doing all of that, because I know it is infinitely worse to be in the ICU, under sedation, not knowing if you are alive, dead or in purgatory, without any indication of time, and unable to move because you are tied to the bed.
I can’t imagine what it is like without visitors.
If you don’t want what happened to me, to happen to you, take covid seriously, and take all precautions.
I wish there was a happy ending. I wish I did “have a new lease on live”. I wish everyday was a gift.
But that’s just not the way it works in real live. It really isn’t.