I've been meaning to write something about how I've been doing for months now. But it has always been very awkward for me cause I have just always guarded my in-real-life side of things pretty carefully. So I put it off. Plus, I don't think I was ready then. But now I am.
I know some people aren't aware of exactly what was going on because I think most of the info about my health problems was in friends-locked posts only. So to give a (sort-of) brief run down, in February 2011, I became seriously ill with pneumonia complicated with a severe autoimmune reaction called a cytokine storm. I was hospitalized for nearly two months. It was very touch and go particularly around Valentine's Day.
I don't know that we'll ever really know what caused me to be sick at first, I am still waiting for Dr. House to evaluate my file. But I do know at some point, probably after I'd first started coughing and developing build-up in my lungs, I picked up H1N1 from somewhere and that is probably what caused the catastrophic part of my illness.
From my perspective I really don't remember much of the worst of it because I was in a medically-induced coma so they could keep me on a ventilator. This lasted about three weeks.
When I woke up, I couldn't swallow right, eat, sit up, or walk. Even small things like typing or texting were impossible (some of you may recall my lulzy first solo attempts at twittering). My Macbook might as well have weighed as much as a Cray-1 supercomputer for all I could lift it. I also started talking in a really weird accent if I talked too much. People who know me well, know I talk too much a lot, so for awhile this was kind of annoying. And the first time that happened, I was talking to my sister, maybe a day or so after waking up, and I scared her more than is fair.
In fact, that was what was hardest about the whole thing. It was not having to retrain my muscles to do everything, not being banned from drinking water, not lugging around supplemental oxygen for months afterwards. All of that, while fleetingly frustrating, was actually quite painless and I knew was just a slow process of rebuilding.
♥ Dr. House the Stitch Bear ♥
watched over me
What hurt the most, though, is that everyone had to worry.
The doctors said at one point I was the sickest person in the state, some said I was the sickest they'd ever seen anybody. They all did everything they could and used every technology they could and after that point it was up to me.
And past all the medicine and doctors, what made the biggest difference without a doubt in my mind, was the thoughts and prayers of everyone out there.
I had a few dreams while I was sedated and the one I can point to definitively on this matter basically boiled down to me being trapped, held down by some sort of overly-strong gravitational force. I dreamt I could see outside of where I was stuck. I could see things that could help me. I knew that if I could just escape that I could get back to the hospital, or to my school, or even to a phone to call my family, friends, or police. And I knew I had to escape, because I had people who loved me and wanted me to come back. That was a very powerful motivator.
So you all made a difference and I cannot thank you enough for your concern and prayers and hopes. It really did help.
As to how I am now. I don't use supplemental oxygen at this point. Technically I might still need it while I sleep. But my doctor said if I felt okay sleeping without it and woke up rested, I could ditch it. So I did!
My lung function is improving. I made a pretty good jump in test results on that in October. But I'm still below normal range. My doctor says it will just take a long time for the scarring in my lungs to heal.
I still get breathless talking too much or too energetically (which, again, is often, lol). I still get breathless walking too fast, etc. But that's all stuff I can work around by slowing down or using an inhaler.
I did also get a flu shot this year, my first flu shot ever. Before this, in my whole life the sickest I'd ever been was strep throat or one time, acute bronchitis from pollution. I never even got chicken pox. Plus someone in my family had a severe reaction to a flu shot. So I always felt that if I don't get sick usually why risk complications? Now I know I guess, lol.
Other side-problems: At least half of my hair fell out. Did not know that would happen, lol. It makes sense though as my body was too busy healing me to make more hair. But it is growing in. It's really weird though cause sometimes my hair just does NOT lay right at all with all the shorter hair sticking up through it. I have a few scars, one of which will probably never go away, nbd though. Also I didn't think it was possible but my skin is even more sensitive then it used to be. But that's getting better too.
My cat was desperately lonely without me and would not stop watching me when I got home
The biggest pain in the ass, which I've mentioned on twitter, is health insurance and bills. It is a vicious thing getting massively sick if only for the bills. I am fortunate enough to have health insurance which has covered a lot but there were still things left over plus I had to pay additional tuition etc. And it gets kind of tight tbh. But still I'm here, that is what matters. I am also fortunate that I am well enough and have had support to actually stick up for my rights with my health insurance company. For-profit health care is a travesty and takes advantage of people who are often in the worst situations of their lives, people who can't do anything but pay the demanding doctors' billing offices because they are too busy trying just to survive much less fight manipulative corporations. And you do have to fight tooth and nail to get them to fulfill their obligations fairly. Even still I am fighting them and I will do so as long as I have to. At some point it ceases to be about money and more about what is right and moral.
So anyway. That is where I am at and I've probably said too much, as calcified likes to point out, I am very wordy, lol.
Again, I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers. And hope that for all of us, 2012>>>>>>>>>2011.