March 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm #3765
OK, mine is yet again a totally different form of survival/SHTF situation, I will preface it by just saying when the Pulmonary embolism you have is NOT one of the top concerns of your doctors, you are in for a long recovery.
As far as I can figure out the whole thing starts back in November of 2009 when I had an infected tooth removed. After that I had what my dentist, my pulmonologist, and my primary care doctor all agreed was a sinus infection that would just not clear up. After being on antibiotics and steroids about half the time over the next 3 months I started getting sicker. It came to a head on February 17th when I apparently could not even lift a mug to drink hot broth, that night my wife, who was pregnant and also did not drive finally called her mom to get me to the ER.
Within about 20 minutes of arriving basically everything but my heart stopped functioning, the ER doctor apparently spent a half hour or so bagging me until they could get me on a ventilator, what they found pretty quickly was massive numbers of blood clots in my legs, one of which got loose to my lung, another of which was loose from the legs and heading towards my lungs. The doctors apparently told my family that they did not care about the pulmonary embolism I already had because it had not killed me. they also found Sepsis and about a half dozen other infections , including 2 or 3 in the lungs, a blood sugar reading of well over 800 (I think it was around 1000, but I would have to dig up my records again) high fever, apparent wide spread brain damage on the CAT scans.
They had to put me in an induced coma for 4 days while they tried to get everything else under control, but I did not wake up for a further 6 days. My family concurs that I did not panic when I woke up, even though I was on a ventilator, had a filter placed in my abdomen to stop the clots from leaving my legs, a feeding tube, had 13 IVs going at once, and was on 24 hour dialysis. here is my progression in the 4 weeks after I cam in to the ER: At first they were just talking odds of survival, then how much functionality I would have , then how many months I would have to be in the hospital before I was fit enough to start rehab, then if I would ever be able to work again, then if I would be able to ever return to my previous job in IT, then if it would be less than 2 years before I could return the my IT job part time, then 6 months of extensive rehab before I could go home, then if I had recovered enough to meet the extensive rehab facilities minimum function requirements for admission (swallowing medications, minimum communications/following instructions, on solid foods, VERY basic functions). Keep in mind this is 8 major reassessments in only 4 weeks, when I was transferred to the rehab center they were down to expecting 4 months before I could go home and and work towards returning to work part time.
At the rehab center they had to transfer me down to the surgery department for a weekend so they could surgically clear the clots from my legs, after that my recovery picked up steam. Every Wednesday they had to rewrite my therapy goals for the week because I had already exceeded the ones they had set for me Monday mornings, all the therapists loved how much I was pushing myself to recover, most of you probably have no idea how good it felt to be strapped into a standing frame and be completely vertical for the first time in at least 6 weeks, and the last CAT scan saw no traces of brain damage.
Finally, exactly 8 weeks after I had gone into the ER I was discharged from the rehab center, 4 days before my 3rd son was born. I was not able to be there when he was born, I had stayed with my wife in the labor room for as long as I had the strength to that day, At this time my main form of mobility was a wheelchair with a walker inside the house and I started outpatient rehab the week after he was born, by the middle of may it was the walker that got the most use, in early June it was a quad cane, by July a normal cane with braces on my lower legs to minimize toe drag, I was driving myself around and I was back at my old job part time.
August 1st I was back to full time and only used the cane towards the end of the work day when I was really worn out. By September I was using no mobility aids other than a disabled parking placard, and the therapists were satisfied that I did not NEED to see them anymore. It looks like I will not have feeling in the front 1/3 of my feet ever again, that I will have to live with the random stabbing pains in the numb areas of my feet (tolerable with the medications the neurologist has me on now) and I probably will not regain my former mobility since the nerves that control raising the front end of both feet are impaired, with it being basically nonexistent in the right foot.
1) My wife and kids now know to call for an ambulance a lot earlier, they estimate that if I had been brought in 4-5 hours earlier most of the damage could have been avoided, but 1 hour later and I would not have survived at all.
2) The importance of having multiple drivers in a household.
3) How much having a decently stocked pantry can help out when you are in stressful times.
4) How very important it is to have good neighbors and relatives living fairly near by. Most of the families in our neighborhood are Mormon, my wife did not have to cook a dinner for almost a month after we all got home from the hospital because of the kind of supporting generosity that is second nature to the old line Mormon families like we have in our neighborhood.
5) How very lucky I am to have the really good insurance options that I do have through my employer, while wages at the University have not kept up with the private sector (by quite a bit) the benefits package is incredibly good by current standards, heck they even still have a pension program not retirement funds, if I can last until I am 65 here I can retire at with 90% of my base salary plus Social Security (if it is still functioning), in theory at a certain point before then I will reach a point of my income will go up as soon as I retire, but I want to wait until I qualify for Medicare before I retire (again, if it is still around)
6) Attitude is everything once the fecal material has impacted with the rotary impeller.
RobMarch 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm #3771
So, Job… That is incredible, and I was most impressed by the fact that you got yourself on the fast track afterwards, where so many people would have given up or given themselves permission to slack. Kudos to you for an incredible survival and recovery story – very inspiring!March 26, 2014 at 11:35 pm #3772
Gypsy Wanderer HuskySurvivalist
Wow!! and wow again. Congrats on beating the odds!!
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
George S. PattonMarch 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm #3773
Amazing what the human spirit and will can overcome. Lesson #4- yes, having neighbors that lend helping hands in need is a blessing. Thanks for sharing your trials – hope your days are brighter now with your health.March 26, 2014 at 11:44 pm #3775
Amazing story, glad you make it!March 27, 2014 at 1:06 am #3809
Rob, great story and glad you are here to talk about this. Can you share more details on the time before you went to the ER? How did you get worse from day to day?
I love those stories that show how fragile we humans are and how one thing can quickly lead to another.
Thank you. I sent you the real life survival experience achievement.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")March 27, 2014 at 8:03 pm #4090
The problem is that the medicines they use to medically induce a coma play havoc with memories transferring from short term to long term, so the week before I went in is completely gone, for example every room in the house has been totally emptied and reorganized twice since then and I still can’t find the pair of side zip boots I had just gotten broken in before all this happened.
For the time I can remember it just seemed like a normal sinus infection like I have always been prone to, it would seem to have cleared up after a 10 day course of antibiotics and a 14 day course of steroids, but would flare up again after a 2-3 week break. For the week before the coma, my wife tells me it seemed like my normal seasonal allergy problems which I typically get when all the nasty pollen and dust start flaring up in February and March. The decline happened over about a day and a half with me just getting weaker by the hour, which must have been when the various infections in the lungs took hold. I am still puzzled by how I ever got a yeast infection in my lungs, but that was one of them.
Getting myself back on the fast track was just my stubborn refusal to admit I could not do things I was used to doing, plus a purely defensive reaction, the range of motion exercises they put you through really hurt, I just wanted to push the therapist off the table to stop her working on my hamstrings.
RobMarch 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm #4419
This story is awesome. I’m so glad you chose not to give up and recovered so quickly!
Congrats on the birth of your son!
You are a bad ass.
HannahMarch 28, 2014 at 11:22 pm #4581
Fantastic story Rob, loved it! Lessons learned were good too!
dmarieMarch 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm #4587
Rob, there is a trick to repair damaged nerves that we learned from our Chinese doctor. My daughter had severe neuropathy during chemo and this trick worked.
Get a large sponge, like the type to clean cars. You rub the sponge up the area affected by the pain. In our case it was the bottom of the feet and achilles tendon so the sponge was rubbed in an upward motion from the bottom of her toes, bottom of foot and up the back of her calf. This was done countless times a day. This ancient trick supposedly makes the body use new nerve channels. It worked for her along with high dose B12 and cal/mag drinks every day. Magnesium works with calcium and is essential for nerve health. You could give it a try. We were able to ween our daughter off of neurontin medication after we started implementing these natural remedies.
Because of damage from chemo she still uses B12 in high doses because the tingles still linger when she stands for too long. But all pain ceased long ago.
dmarieMarch 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm #4590
dmarie – wow so glad to learn of this and will try. Have lingering nerve issues from Bell’s Palsy. You are a great Mom to persevere and investigate all alternatives!March 29, 2014 at 6:27 pm #5101
An incredible story, thanks for sharing! I particularly liked how you condensed the ‘lessons learnt’ into salient points, some very, VERY valuable thoughts right there!March 29, 2014 at 9:35 pm #5190
Wow, Rob, you had me hooked right when I saw the words “pulmonary embolism”! I just had to read this to find out what happened and how you dealt with it. I, too, ended up in the hospital with PE’s following foot surgery. A few days after the surgery (I was in a cast to my knee), I began to have back pain. Finally, I could hardly move from the extreme pain. I knew for certain that I had ruptured a disk in my mid-back.
After an overnight of not being able to get out of bed, even with help, I was taken to the emergency room. That sent me to the CAT scan machine and the diagnosis of PE’s in three of the four lobes of my lungs, with one large clot in one quadrant. After days in the hospital, I finally was able to return home on a breathing machine, shots in the stomach and medications. So I can completely “feel your pain”! Those clots hurt like the devil is after you with a red hot poker!
I really wished that I could just not take another breath, rather than the pain of that breath. Yes, it is a bad, rotten event. Then, to pile all the additional problems you had, on top of that – I can’t even imagine. I lived on morphine for quite a few days before it all got under control. I have foot problems ongoing from my surgeries (on both feet) and lots of residual numbness and pain, but this is just my “new normal” and why bugging out by hiking the wilderness isn’t going to happen in my lifetime. We do what we have to do, then leave the rest to God to protect us. I am so happy you are around to see your beautiful new son! Congratulations on that part of your story!
mariowenMarch 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm #5883
I found that Neurontin just was not working for me, the impact on short term memory was causing problems at work, so now I am on Lyrica.
RobApril 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm #6139
What a story! Thank God you got through this, Rob. He helps us, but like you, we have to fight the situation too. So similar to what Bushrat (and I as his wife) went through, only ours has a more difficult outcome. Yet God is with us and life is still good. I’ll post the story later today. Many lessons learned…that could also be helpful to others.
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