Getting Sick

by - May 26, 2017

I've been MIA for a short while. This past week I've been sick from an upper respiratory infection. The coughing is nonstop, my lungs are tired, my airway is sore and I'm short of breath. Friday I had gone to an urgent care. I had decreased bilateral breath sounds. I wasn't moving air very well. I received a 15 minute nebulization treatment. I was written for some antibiotics and some really, really great cough medicine and sent home. Saturday I had gotten worse and had a fever of 100.3 with a heart rate of 165 BPM. I've had a consistently high heart rate since my trauma. I rarely see it lower than 100 BMP. I decided to go the ED at Strong. The resident that was treating me was a new resident. He had reviewed my records and was amazed that I had survived. He referred to ECMO as a "salvage therapy". In the end I really just have anxiety and a terrible upper respiratory infection. I stayed for a couple hours to let my heart rate slow down and returned home shortly after midnight.

I thought this would be a good time to discuss what it's like for me to get sick now after all that's happened. There's panic and anxiety that overwhelms me when I come down with a simple cold. It's like after you get in a car accident and you're scared to get into the car for the first time. I often wonder if I would even survive another case of pneumonia? Would I end up back in the ICU? God forbid lightening would strike twice and I'd go back on life support. Or, end up with permanent damage and a lifetime of inhalers and antiviral medications. It's very scary. No matter how much I embrace and shed light on what I went through, and how miraculous ECMO was for my case; I am terrified that I would ever endure it again.

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  1. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for creating this almost made me cry. I went through something so similar. I was diagnosed with pneumonia far too late and it began to cause so many complications including ARDS and sepsis. I was also put on a ventilator and underwent VV ECMO.You are such an inspiration to me as I am younger than you. It is so hard to find someone who has been through almost the same thing...especially considering how rare it is to be put on ECMO. Some of your posts spoke to me on such a deep had me in tears. I really cannot thank you enough for doing this. You have helped me more than you could imagine. Your post on PICS was so insightful for me. I also didn’t feel as though I was, as you said, “bad enough” for PTSD, and your post on PICS was a total sort of relief. I do have one question, though. Is your ECMO scar on your leg an oval shape, or is a VA ECMO scar a different shape? Thank you, and I’m sorry this comment was so long!

    1. this really made cry to read this. I'm so happy you're able to know you're not alone and that I've helped. I totally understand the PICS thing, that was so easy to identify with it. when i heard about it I was like, thats me!! And it made me feel really validated. So one of my cannulas was my femoral artery, and its hidden right in the natural fold of where my thigh meets my lady parts (yay). The one on my chest was long and rectangular. But I made the decision to have that was excised and made into just a neat line. Please reply and let me know if you need anything at all. <3