A few weeks ago, at the age of 36, I received my first flu vaccine . I never thought about it before this year. Many things have changed this year.
In January, my husband Charlie and I got the flu. We thought we would get it out in a week and get back to normal, but one week turned two and we did not get better. I took Charlie to the emergency room in the middle of the night on January 27th. His fever rose and he was curled up in the corner, apparently hallucinating, babbling incoherently. Although I felt sick, adrenaline and the urge to protect him took over. Within 1
It turned out that Charlie was no longer just dealing with the flu; This was pneumonia . But Charlie's body was obviously not satisfied with pneumonia . While we had curled up on the sofa with chicken broth and popsicles, there was a hostile takeover in him. A streptoinfection slid into his bloodstream, spread rapidly, and poisoned every organ until it was septic. One by one, his organs died. The doctors said that if we had waited a few more hours, Charlie would not have survived long enough to get to the hospital.
I would not wish for anyone the next 36 hours.
Charlie was 38 years old and healthy Until a few days ago.
And in less than an hour since we had decided to go to the ER, he was in a tiny hospital room in a coma, and had room for a visitor and a dozen machines to keep him alive
Total organ failure. Regular blood transfusions. Septic shock.
Three sleepless days in the waiting room and alternating layers beside his bed. And a doctor told me to start with the funeral preparations so that "I was not blind."
Charlie's mother made me go home for a few hours to rest. When I woke up, my back hurt so much that I fainted when sitting up. A friend urgently treated me. She carried me out of the car into the waiting room because the movement hurt so much. I also had pneumonia, and the strong pain I felt in the lower back might have been due to my kidneys starting to shut down, the senior nurse said. She encouraged me to go to the hospital, but I refused.
"We can not both be there," I said. "Someone has to be ready to take him home soon." I had a high fever. Nothing had gone down.
I could not see Charlie for the next 10 days while going through antibiotics, so the germs I carried with me would not spread to him and kill him. When I recovered, everything started. The person I relied on for more than half my life was not there. I did not know if he would come back. Our friends left soup and Gatorade on the porch. I refused to see anyone, paranoid, I would also send her to the hospital to die. I slept on the sofa. it was too strange to be alone in bed.
Charlie was still in a coma when I was released on 10 February to see him. I sat down next to his bed, waiting for the doctors to stop the drugs in a coma. And then he waited a few more days until he woke up and returned to me.
The first thing he wanted to say about the suction and breathing tubes in his mouth was that he swayed between drugs and was awake: "I love you too. "I told him that I had loved him in the ER two weeks ago when he went down. It was the last thing he remembered, and he answered as if I was just saying it a second before.
We spent Valentine's Day in the intensive care unit playing "Real or Not Real" – Charlie would tell me something he was thinking about, right? I dreamed in his coma and I would tell him if it really had happened.
The next weeks in intensive care were slow.
He still had a breathing tube and was attached to machines that forced his kidneys to work and lay "food" in his stomach that looked like a bottle of pancake batter. Charlie hates pancakes.
February was a purgatory of waiting and small victories. I appreciated the improvement in how long the doctors made plans for Charlie's care: four hours, twelve hours, two days. It seemed that the longer the plan, the better the odds. One of his doctors asked him, "What causes you pain?" And he pointed to me with a wink. At that moment, we knew that his humor was intact and he actively struggled to get better. I rolled my eyes and helped him hold a pencil again. He managed to make the hospital staff laugh with inappropriate laughter.
Charlie had lost 40 pounds, almost all muscles. But he was awake and stabilized. As the doctors had described it, while it was comatose, it had been shut down together with every other organ. The neurological pathways that linked his brain to his muscle memory had been inactive and broken for so long that the wiring had crumbled and he was as helpless as a toddler. He had to learn to speak again, hold a pen and feed himself.
The next few weeks he spent in the intensive care unit to lower his constant fever and to constantly convert the bacterial fluid surrounding his lungs. He had another operation to implant a tube through his stomach into the stomach to "eat" because his esophagus was so weak that he could not swallow without strangling.
In March, Charlie started physiotherapy at the hospital to re-run. Three machines were still attached to him, and I or a nurse dragged them along as he first shuffled through the hospital room and finally through the halls of the third floor of the intensive care unit. After his organs had recovered and worked independently, he spent three weeks in a physiotherapy hospital to ease his transition to "real life." 19659023 Charlie arrived in the hospital in early February