For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
The change of the year is felt by some to be a time of “newness.” A new year; resolutions; new experiences; new adventures. Sometimes the changes that occur are not of the “exciting” variety. Allow me to share.
Just after Christmas I had a heart procedure, a ventricular ablation designed to mitigate an ongoing pattern of extra beats. The procedure is done through a heart cath. It went well and I went home the evening of the procedure. However, two days later, on January 1 I awoke to swelling and severe pain in my thigh. The artery that had been punctured for the heart cath had torn. After a 9-1-1 call and ambulance ride to the hospital, I was taken for emergency surgery to evacuate all of the blood, clots and damaged tissue and have the artery repaired. I received three units of blood during this surgery. I was left with an open wound in my leg with a tube attached to a wound vacuum machine that would remain for four weeks. After several days in the ICU I was finally sent home to recuperate. Unfortunately, I became dehydrated and had a fainting episode requiring another 9-1-1 call and another ambulance ride. After three days, home again! And all seemed to be going well until…..I began to feel confused and nauseous. We all thought it was my anemia and were making plans for another transfusion. However, the blood tests came back showing that I was in acute kidney failure! Since a cancer was found in my left kidney over 25 years ago, I have a single kidney. We had known about a stone in that remaining kidney but had chosen to watch rather that to possibly bring on problems. That stone had moved into my ureter and completely obstructed my kidney causing failure. Oh, and I had no pain. Weird, huh?
Back to surgery. Stent placed to drain the kidney. Two weeks later back to surgery for laser destruction of the stone. The last thing was to have been removal of the stent. But could it be that simple?? Not for me!
I had the stent removed in the urologist’s office without any apparent complication. However, later that day I began to feel “foggy” again, with nausea and loss of appetite. That evening we were to have hosted my sister and brother-in-law and my children here to dinner at our house. I remember very little about that dinner, but I think things didn’t turn out well. Finally, the next evening Debby convinced a “hard-headed” me to go back to the Emergency Room. Where it was discovered that I had a bacteria growing in both my blood and my urine, a condition known as urosepsis. To all of those over the years who I treated for urosepsis, I apologize – I didn’t give you near enough love.
I’m back “vertical” again now, hopefully with no other medical misadventures coming my way. But I’ve learned a lot, and subsequent posts will share some of these learnings with you.
To begin, I have to report that some doctors do have a sense of humor. Many of you know that Debby and I are still newlyweds – we celebrated our 6th month anniversary in the hospital. When one of the doctors found this out, he asked Debby if I had come with some kind of warranty. Her comment back: “No, but I think that there are some ‘lemon laws’ in Tennessee.”
I’d like to ask for a “mulligan” on 2022, a restart. I hope that’s OK with you!