HEAD ON COLLISION.
What set everything in motion started a few days before my ER visit. I tore my ACL and went for the reconstruction surgery, unsuspecting of what was to come. “It’s a really great procedure, I’ve had it done twice,” said my surgeon. He assured me it was a simple and easy procedure, easier than 1, 2, 3. Of course nothing was easy. What followed, as described by my ER doctor, was the perfect storm of events.
Three days days after the surgery I was still lying in bed unable to feel my right leg. The nerve block was supposed to ware off in 24 hrs. My mother, who is a nurse, decided to take off the bandages to allow some of the swelling go down. In the pit of her stomach she knew something wasn’t right. After removing the bandages the swelling began to go down. Later in the day I tried to get up. Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t feeling right. My heart began to flutter in my chest, I was overtaken by extreme exhaustion.
I called my mom telling her I didn’t feel right so she told me to go to the hospital. In that moment the cascade of events begun, almost as if that phone call triggered it. I started to feel worse, panic coursed through my body. Had I gotten to the hospital any later, I would’ve been dead…so I was told.
Multiple massive blood clots had formed in the major deep vein of my right leg, from my calf up into my hip. With swelling, being on bed rest, and my bandages wrapped too tight, blood flow was cut off to my leg. Once my bandage was removed, the blood rushed out and carried the clots with it. Several blood clots passed through my heart causing an abnormal heart rhythm, and then showered my lungs blocking several major passage ways. What they would’ve normally done for others they couldn’t do for me. I just had surgery, there was no way they could have given me a clot busting drug to break up the blood clots threatening my life.
The ER doctor had a conversation with my mom once she arrived, “It was like he had been in a head on collision with a train and survived.” The severity of what just happened was beyond my understanding. I could have easily died from a number of things. There was also a pressing concern the circulation to my leg had been cut off for too long.
I was told they might need to amputated my leg if they didn’t see any progress. Fortunately, to the glory of God, I began to get feeling back into my leg and the swelling started to subside. I had deep bruises all over the back of my knee, thighs, and hip. I spent almost a full day in the ER before they moved me to critical care.
After about four days in Marion General’s critical care until I was transferred to a different hospital. I was told a lot of movement at that time could cause more to break free, so naturally I kept my lower half still, so I wouldn’t die, ya know? If you know anything about knee’s and surgery, then you know they like to get you moving quickly. Being sedentary increases your chances of losing movement in that joint. However, they did not want me to move until I took blood thinning medication.
I didn’t walk, get out of bed, or roll in bed; I simply laid in bed with my leg propped up. Only after a week and a half did my care team finally get me out of bed to start physical therapy for my knee. As if there wasn’t enough trouble, I began to get very sick. They didn’t know the causs, but I spiked a 104-degree temperature throughout the night. They pulled off all of my blankets and put big bags of ice on my neck, in my crotch and under my wrists and ankles. Next, they broke out the fan and gave me a Popsicle. Talk about misery.
It’s almost as if the only thing that was consistent was trouble, it never seemed to let up. After being on antibiotics for a several days to treat this mystery infection, I developed clostridium difficile colitis, or C.Diff for short. Often caused from antibiotic use, or hospital acquired; the antibiotics disrupt the normal bacteria of the gut and cause damage to the colon, and also more commonly: severe diarrhea with a WRETCHED smell!
One particular day a physical therapist came into my room to work with me for my knee. He was the first one I had seen. He wanted to see if I could even get out of bed. The goal was pretty simple: get me into the bathroom (Maybe ten feet away). However, it proved easier said then done; I had been in bed about two weeks straight with no food and constant sickness. It was a major feat to get to the side of the bed, once I got there, I blacked out briefly. I remember standing up and then actually passing out, luckily, the guy caught me. I’d never felt pain like that. Every step was excruciating, I was literally fighting to stay conscious. To this day I can remember the pain I felt in my chest, legs, and head. I would hunch over on my walker and just close my eyes because it seemed easier that way.
Imagine that time in your life when you felt completely numb. Maybe you experienced a loss, or a great health crisis like mine. Do you remember when it all became too much? Completely shell-shocked, like in the movies! You know the feeling? I was literally just hanging on, I couldn’t do anything else. Thinking back, I didn’t have a single clue as to what was going on, I didn’t know up from down. Most of the feelings and memories I have now I had to sort through afterwards. For some reason It took me 3 years total, 2 of which I was in counseling, to remember the year before my accident and all the various details you’re reading.