Friday, March 28, 2014
As you can tell, I acquired a bit of writer's block sometime last summer. We moved, life marched ahead, my blogging fell behind, and suddenly I didn't even know where or how to start again. I thought about writing some sort of ending for the blog and officially announcing that I was done with it. However, there were two big reasons that I put off doing that. Most importantly, Atticus and Norah are now old enough that they love looking at blog posts from when they were babies and they've made it clear they like the record I've been keeping. Additionally, both of the grandparents I grew up knowing developed dementia in their later years. I can't help feeling like I should write down memories just in case.
In some ways this year for us has been a lesson in Murphy's Law. We had two sales of our old house fall through within days of closing. Someone broke into the old house and gutted the air conditioner and copper plumbing. The refrigerator at the new house leaked water through the basement ceiling resulting in another home owner's insurance deductible before later dying altogether and needing to be replaced. There were several thousand dollars worth of car repairs needed. The garbage disposal died and its removal revealed that the wiring and plumbing in that part of the kitchen (which had been concealed by the disposal and dishwasher) both needed to be replaced. My teaching job has been particularly challenging this year. Norah had to have her tonsils removed. The snowblower died midway through the longest, coldest, snowiest winter we've seen in 35 years.
The final kicker in this string of inconveniences was that I somehow acquired sepsis in February. I went to sleep on Wednesday, February 12th feeling perfectly healthy and woke up on the 13th with abdominal pain bad enough that my doctor sent me to the emergency room where I was monitored and discharged. Paul and I returned to the doctor the next day where I was diagnosed with a virus in my abdominal lymph nodes ("nothing to worry about") and sent home. I spent a painful weekend in bed and returned to the doctor on Monday. That doctor took a look at me and directed us back the ER where they discovered my blood pressure to be forty-five over something, my kidneys shut down, my heart started to fail, and I spent the next eight days in a coma in the ICU. Surprise! What a long, strange trip it's been.
There were several days during my coma that the doctors weren't sure I would make it. As the person who got to sleep through this, it's completely surreal to contemplate. I'm grateful NOT to be among the dead. It takes my breath away to think about what could have happened. Out of the wreckage of this terror there are so many things to be thankful for. I had a husband and parents who stayed at my bedside around the clock. My heroic mother-in-law hosted the kids at her house overnight for nearly two weeks and kept their routine so beautifully that they, my children who all have histories that include early childhood trauma, emerged as unscathed as anyone could possibly hope. Coworkers picked up the slack and let me off the hook at work. I had friends who emailed me or sent letters to me daily while I was in a coma. People we hardly know sent offers of help and good wishes. Friends arrived to clean the house before my return. There were cards, texts, Facebook messages, emails, casseroles, twelve-pound hams, visits, lengthy phone conversations, flowers, and other countless ways that people let us know we are loved and not alone.
I've been back from the dead now for a little over a month - time that has flown by while I've been on leave from work, administering IV antibiotics to myself, and submitting to lots of tests as the doctors attempt to figure out why I contracted sepsis in the first place. Many of them have told us that we may never know, but that hasn't stopped them from trying. Overall, I'm gobsmacked by how fortunate I've been. I love my husband, children, family, and friends so much and I know I'm lucky to have more time with them.