...but Survived, Weighing 35lbs Less!
I was 23 and my first child had just been born a week ago, when I began to feel ill. I had all the classic symptoms of flu. For a few days it just kept getting worse. By the third day I was no longer able to eat or drink anything, and would bring back even a teaspoon of water if I swallowed it!
I began to wonder if there was something more wrong with me, but my wife kept telling me rather harshly to shut up moaning and take it like a man! She was convinced it was just flu and I was being OTT!
By the 6th day I decided, after 3 days with no food or water, that I was going to see a doctor... except it was Sunday. Instead I phoned the National Health Service advice line, and after I'd spoken with them they suggested I visit the hospital. My wife protested immensely! "They'll just send you home and you'll look like an idiot!"
The doctor called me in and said all the basic hello's and stuff, then took my temperature. He said it was rather odd that I was sweating so profusely, because I was cold to the touch. He then suggested that it was ok because things were relatively quiet and they would probably have a bed available for me quite soon.
I remember thinking "Now look who's over-reacting!" but I turned and saw my wife's face and suddenly she looked different, like she now realised this could be serious.
They put me in a little side-room on a main ward, unsure if I might need to be quarantined. My family started showing up, and were all wondering why I wasn't lying on the bed. "It's ok", I reassured them, "it's not like I'm staying is it!"
A few minutes later someone pointed out my shoe was untied, so I bent over to tie it, and passed out! From that moment on, everything was very different. Suddenly the medical staff who had largely been ignoring me were all fussing like crazy, shining lights in my eyes and lying me down with the bed angled so that all the blood rushed to my head! I looked at my family, the people who had been laughing and joking around me like we were at the pub... their faces now had the same ex
Things largely went blurry after that. I had passed out because I had blood-poisoning, but they still didn't know why. They did tests on my blood and found Streptocochus, a bacteria usually found in the mouth, where it usually stays. They still didn't know why it was in my blood or what the main cause of the problem was. They wanted to know if I had been to India, or eaten in any unusual places. I hadn't.
On the second day they decided I was getting worse and put me in intensive care. I was treated very nicely in there, and looking back I wonder if it was because they all thought I was going to die?! Turns out that's what my family had all concluded. They gave me morphine... the doctors, not my family! I had a little push-button that would release more on intervals but not too much.
That's when things got really blurry! I remember a doctor coming in to tell me that he needed to make an incision in my neck so that he could insert a tube into my heart - not exactly something you forget no matter how much morphine you've had! It hurt, it hurt like hell. The tube was large enough that it had six more tubes inside, each of which was wider than a standard needle. I could feel it scraping down my neck, just under my skin.
After that there is a period of blankness. In my ind, to this day, I am quite convinced I spent only 3 days in intensive care.. but apparently I was there a whole week!
On the third day they took me for an MRI scan. They made me lie on a stiff board and hold my breath, even though I was in more pain than ever before in my life, and despite my telling them that it was more tempting not to breathe than to endure the pain of breathing. It felt like I was in that machine forever. It was loud, claustrophobic, and I was quite literally suffocating myself. Finally they let me out and put me back on a soft bed where I could breathe more easily.
"It was worth it, there's no question what's wrong with you now" - I had "several large liver abscesses"
Apparently the bacteria had somehow entered my blood-stream and settled in my liver, which was fighting a loosing battle to survive against it. I was dying.
To treat me I had, at one stage, 3 tubes going into me, and was wearing an oxygen mask constantly. One drip was fluids, one was anti-biotics, and one was, of course, morphine. They assigned a specialist to me, who told my family she had only ever seen one case like this, a month ago, and he'd died.
But luck was on my side, because by the end of my second week in hospital I had started to recover. I was moved to a main ward and was now on a single drip. They brought in a physiotherapist to help me to walk again, as your muscles are seriously affected by not eating or moving for two and a half weeks. I still had to have a nurse take me to the toilet!
I then saw myself in the mirror for the first time, and was utterly horrified by what I saw. I had lost 2.5 stone - 35 pounds in just two and a half weeks. I looked like a severe anorexic.
But I was getting better. I started to eat, although nothing tasted the same. I tried coffee with no sugar but it was still too sweet!
At the end of the third week I was back in a lot of pain, and it turned out the infection had spread to my right lung, directly over the liver - I had caught pneumonia!
They decided they needed to test the fluid buildup in my lung to see if it was infected or was just fluid buildup that would be reabsorbed eventually. To do so, they told me they needed to insert a needly into my lung through my back... for which they brought in a student doctor!
Back in the MRI scanner I had been certain I'd felt the worst pain there was to feel. That student proved me wrong. He missed the gap between the ribs, somehow, and scraped the sharp point of the against my bone. It hurt so much I instantly vomitted, and the experienced doctor responded by suggesting he withdraw and start again! Can you guess what happened next? Yes - he did exactly the same again! And the result, after the doctor had taken over, was that the fluid wasn't even infected!
Almost a month after I went into hospital, where I had missed 4 of my son's first 6 weeks of life, I was finally released, after begging and begging them to let me go just for the sake of my mental health, regardless of my physical state.
It was a mistake. My own bed was so painful to lie that in order to lie down I had to lie on my side for a whole minute holding my breath and waiting for the pain to subside, and then finally I could roll onto my back where I could just about breathe enough to stay alive. 2 days later the fluid in my lung now -was- infected, and I was back in hospital.
Fortunately it didn't last long, and I've now fully recovered - including the missing pounds and then some! ;o)
Eventually the hospital agreed one what caused it... I'd had a dental abscess and refused to visit the dentist... eventually it went away... because it went to my liver! The moral of this story is therefore quite obviously: don't fear the dentist, far worse things could happen without him!