Daily Post #35

Have you ever had surgery? What for?

I am going to list what I can remember, then I will go into more detail. Fair warning: Gore, Adult Content, Medical Horror, Body Horror, and related disclaimers.

My post ileostomy take down.

In chronological order:

  • Right Ankle Surgery
  • Right Ankle Surgery
  • Right Ankle Surgery
  • Left Shoulder Surgery
  • Left Shoulder Surgery
  • Dental Extractions
  • Various Testing Procedures (Sedated TEE, Sedated Colonoscopy)
  • Left PICC Line Placement
  • Right PICC Line Placement
  • Left PICC line Placement
  • Nasogastric Tube Placement
  • Gastrojejunoscopy for Feeding Tube Placement
  • Another TEE
  • Right Chest Hickman Line Placement
  • More PICC Lines
  • Emergency Bowel Surgery + Ostomy Surgery
  • PICC Placement
  • Ileostomy Takedown Surgery
  • Emergency Surgery to Close Intestinal Leak
  • Right Medi-Port Placement
  • Right Medi-Port Removal
  • Left Medi-Port Placement
  • Left Feeding Tube Surgery via new tract
  • Sedated Procedures

I have spoken on my condition before, but to really think about every surgery or procedure that I have ever had is incredibly daunting. It reminds me just how long this has been going on. How long I have been in the vice-grip of chronic illness. The mystery, humiliation, trauma, medical horror and more. Constantly ruminating the bullet points of my history as if reading a medical chart to myself.

I am sure you have already caught on to the horror, and inevitable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You have received, in bite sized daily prompts, my history. I try not to put in on here. Not for myself, but for you – my friends. Some of my tales are so horrific that I feel it better to keep those retellings for my upcoming book release: If You Had Listened: The Truth Behind the Fiction, coming soon; as well as in fictional form in my most recent book release, Borderlines: Caroline’s Story, or in true medical horror fashions – my novella Hospital of Horrors: A Menagerie of Medical Maladies.

What you do see…

My YouTube Channel from before has a lot of information and real-time stories on it. I feel compelled to begin filming again so that I can get the channel up-to-date (a LOT has changed since that time). Would that be something you, my readers, would like to see? Let me know in the comments below.

I will tell a story here, because it’s not fair to send you all to my YouTube when you are actually here. I’ll save you a click.

“You Might Have Tuberculosis”

“It looks very similar to tuberculosis,” the doctor said, solemnly with a tinge of fear hanging on the tip of their words. Twangy, like Blue Grass.

I shifted in the bed, trying to find a more comfortable position for breathing. My lungs had become inflamed, gunky, and pneumonic from infection. Aspergillosis they called it.

He swayed anxiously in his protective bubble suit. Full precautions must be taken when dealing with highly contagious bacterial infections like such.

“You will be here a while, it takes a good amount of time to treat this, and you will have to stay in isolation plus two weeks before you can be moved to a regular room.”

I shuddered at the very idea of being completely cut-off from everybody if they didn’t want to wear a bubble-suit during their visit.

My body had become so weak during the weeks leading up to the hospitalization. I had toppled from 95 pounds to 82 pounds. My body mirrored a bag full of sticks. Small red sores showed up on my skin from the pressure of the hospital bed. Rattling, soggy breaths escaped my mouth most hours.

“Will I die?” I asked as the machines to my left and right whirred – pushing several IV’s, pain medicine and TPN for nutrition.

“It isn’t likely,” he said after a brief period of silence, “but it is a large possibility. You are very sick.”

He was certainly correct as I crashed several days later requiring a trip to the ICU – covered in ice packs and sporting a 105 degree fever in Fahrenheit/40.5 degrees Celsius.

I remember feeling my body baking, the heat literally melting the ice packs. I remained in a fugue state, tossing and turning amidst fever dreams. If not burning alive, shudders, tremors, fucking earthquakes rattled me from the core. Rigors. It sounds as bad as it feels.

“You are in septic shock,” said the charge nurse, “we need to change your antibiotics as soon as possible.”

I couldn’t answer. Between the oxygen mask hissing, the feverish mind bog, and the pain – I had gone silent. It was as if I were already dead. I felt like it, and would have welcomed it over anything at that point.

“Mom, I feel like I am going to die. I really feel like I am.” I said during a rare period of wakefulness.

“Don’t say that. You are so strong. You will be okay,” she answered softly, “don’t cry, don’t cry. I will be down soon.”

Thankfully, I did pull through. If not for the very talented Advent Health Tampa 3 South medical team, I would not be here at all. They wiped away the tears, provided paper to draw on, and they were wonderful for conversation and hugs.

After 33 days, several tests, imaging, anesthetized procedures, many horribly medicines, I was released. I remembered a few events in that incident – yet so much more actually happened. I remember periods of intense vomiting, 21 days of constipation (that freaking hurts), fevers constantly, seizures, rigors, interactions with the staff, my ex-husband and friends. Yet so much still remains locked away behind the Doors of Dissociation.

Funny fact, I actually must go to therapy to write my book. My therapist and I have been working on things event by event. It has been both cathartic and enlightening.

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