It was noon last Saturday when my wife decided to cut our grass because she thought it might be too hard for me to do with my painful back. She was feeling well. But 15 minutes after finishing she suddenly became very ill. She said that she was having the worst gas that she had ever had. But when she got progressively worse, I called our doctor's answering service and they promised a doctor would get back to me. But despite three calls, their return calls never came. They later claimed that our phone was blocked and they couldn't get through. I still don't understand that since we never have blocked any calls and others got through.
An hour later she began to throw up, over and over again. She obviously was getting worse. So I called the ambulance and we were off to the ER.
Unfortunately, the ER was overloaded and it took about seven very difficult hours before they decided to admit her. Part of the problem was that Lancaster County had 70 overdoses on synthetic marijuana that night, and most of them must have been sent to the LGH ER. The place was nuts. We even saw folks taken out in handcuffs. Police were everywhere. We heard one driver who had caused an accident say that she had just had a small amount of marijuana. There were trauma cases being treated. It was very hard to get anyone to help my wife at a rate which we felt she needed. A cat scan eventually indicated that the problem probably was coming from her gall bladder.
Finally in a hospital room, they spent Sunday having her examined by a host of different specialists. But they would not allow her to have anything to eat or drink, not even ice chips. Their concern was that a stone might be blocking one of her ducts, so an MRI was scheduled for Monday. Finally they allowed her to at least have ice chips to suck on. Thankfully the MRI showed no blockages or they would have had to gone down her throat with a scope to try and remove it. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday - her birthday.
Then the next setback happened. The nurse suddenly informed us that they had discovered a blood infection. That meant a whole new team - the infectious doctors - were now in charge of her treatment. I was concerned and worried and she just got weaker.
Then Tuesday she celebrated her birthday by having surgery. Praise the Lord, that went well. She did not even need pain medicine and she quickly began to look and act normal again. She was finally able to begin eating. We shared jello that night to celebrate her birthday. And while the blood cultures showed some improvement, the blood infection was still a major concern.
On Wednesday they began to talk about possible discharge but they decided to hold off until at least Thursday to see if her blood cultures would improve. And the antibiotics that she was being given for the infection stirred up her ulcerative colitis and she had to use the bathroom too frequently. But, by that evening we had her out of bed and sitting on a chair. When I left that night we felt so positive and confident that she would be home the next morning.
Then at 5 am I received a phone call from my very distressed wife telling me that she was placed in isolation. We were stunned. I couldn't get in immediately to be with her because I had an early morning appointment with one of my specialists that I really couldn't miss. It turns out that he discovered a new urgent problem that I had and I ended up being given an antibiotic - the same one given to Dianne. Thankfully, just before I saw the specialist, I heard that two of my wife's main doctors felt that the isolation was an over reaction by one of the nurses and wasn't necessary. So they removed it and began plans to discharge her.
Finally, after lunch we were able to return home. There is still no word on her last blood culture but the doctors are confident that her meds will take care of it. She is extremely tired and weak, but she is home. Unfortunately, she is now dealing with her UC which she has wrestled with for 25 years. Right now it is almost like starting this tough battle all over again. Your prayers for that and her strength will be appreciated.
There are many lessons that I have learned through this experience. First, I've learned how hard it is to be the spouse of a very ill partner. I kept wishing that we could change places as had been the case too often during the past two years. I learned how hard it is to wait when those nurses caring for you are overworked and not always right there to give you answers. I learned again how nice the nurses can be. Actually four of those who worked on her had worked on me previously and we recognized each other. Some were almost like family members and went out of their way to help us.
We also learned how much of a mission field the nursing staff are. And while we saw no spiritual results, Dianne had some amazing opportunities to share Jesus with them. They were so willing to share with her. Maybe that was because most of them didn't have mothers or responsible, caring adults in their lives. She heard stories of broken families, abuse and situations that were unbelievable. We pray that what was shared by Dianne will someday be used by the Holy Spirit to bear fruit in their lives.
And, most importantly, the Lord again showed me the power of prayer. We had so many people praying and we saw evidence of specific answers during the week. I don't know how one gets through situations' like this without the Lord and without the support of believers. We have an amazing God. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!
Please continue to pray for my wife. The doctors shared that she was a very, very sick women and she still has a long way to go, especially with her UC. Your prayers will be so appreciated. And maybe that is why I was led to write another "medical" blog.