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Postscript to How I Feel The Week Ending 01/24/14.. Living with COPD

25 Jan

During this post I spoke of my extended stay in the hospital.  I need to clarify some aspects as I know them about the hospital stay.  I was admitted on March 11, 2008 and I was Discharged on June 21, 2008 a total of 102 consecutive days.  Of that time I was in either the ICU ward or in post op ICU for approximately 85 days. I remember many of the events as snapshots, and only parts of conversations. A lot was relayed to me after I was released from the hospital in general conversations with my daughter, my wife, and my friends that either called or visited.

I do remember clearly the evening the hole developed in my left lung. It happened about the 3rd or 4th day after my open heart surgery. Allison my daughter was visiting was at the time.  I felt a small pop on the left side of my chest, no pain, no discomfort, just a little pop. We continued our visit, and soon we were joined by my Aunt Ina, her daughter (my cousin), and her two children.  After their departure, I noticed that the left side of my neck was swelling and puffiness in my chest, and so did Allison.  We called the nurse, and she got the doctor.  It was determined that my left lung had ruptured, and a small hole was the result.  The swelling was a result of air escaping into my body.  Because the hole was so small, a wait and see position was taken.  For approximately 8 days they watched the hole in hopes that it would close up by itself.  The hole did not heal itself, and may have actually gotten larger.  Throughout this period I was alert and as normal as one can be a week after open heart surgery.  It was decided because the hole would not heal itself, they would have to go back in and repair the hole. It’s from this moment forward that my memories are sketchy at best, until I was transferred to Kindred for continued supervised recovery and rehab care. I am going to share some of those memories and snapshots in bullet form (in no particular order). 

  • Ø Upon recovery from the lung surgery having very vivid dreams in color, and in great detail.  Family and friends still get a good laugh when I talk of them. 

  • Ø Waking up with the trach and the doctor handing me a sharpie and a thick pad of paper, and wishing I could spell all the words for the questions I had 

  • Ø Being told that post lung surgery that I had pull the ventilator out twice that’s why I was being restrained 

  • Ø Countless visits and calls from friends and family 

  • Ø The hours of wondering if I was going to die and not ever be able to talk again. 

  • Ø Watching “Monk” 2 times every day, and “The World’s Deadliest Catch” 

  • Ø Losing 55 pounds, it was a very effective diet 

  • Ø Having my beard and mustache removed by someone who didn’t give a shit 

  • Ø Being transferred from Brandon Regional Hospital to Kindred Hospital.  And seemingly being the healthiest person there.  But the place had some of the best hospital food I have ever had. Kindred wasn’t a hospice, but folks didn’t go there for long-term anything. Kindred was the only hospital that I have been to, where English was not the predominate language of the nurses. 

  • Ø Some very crappy attitudes of the ICU nurses at Brandon (that has changed over the last few years) 

  • Ø The extremely vivid dreams I had while in post op recovery ICU these could be really funny to share.  They do include being in charge of the Star Ship Enterprise, and bicycling around the Beltway around Washington DC (at beltway speeds) with a dear friend on the handle bars.   I could not have had more unique dreams had I bought the drugs on the street. 

That folks is enough show and tell for today.  Thank you again for taking the time with me as I recount this.  Being honest I hadn’t really thought much of this in the last 3 or 4 years. 

As always if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 

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27 responses to “Postscript to How I Feel The Week Ending 01/24/14.. Living with COPD

  1. benzeknees

    January 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    You have inspired a post on my part Bill because I had so much to say! I don’t know how you managed to keep your sanity during your enforced long stay in the hospital. I would need to have books on tape or something because I need to read. I would go nuts if I was so sick I couldn’t read.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Benze, Smiling that makes me happy to think my work has caused you to be creative, what a nice compliment you have given me. Thanks!! The truth of the matter is, for so much of the period that I was in the hospital, I was so sick, time was not an issue, 1 minute or 3 hours could pass and I wasn’t even aware. Time only became an issue as my recovery gained ground. Then (smiling) boredom set in. What I am thankful for is that something inside of me insisted that I get better, and get the F…. out of the hospital.

      Please take care, and have a wonderful weekend. Bill

       
  2. kanzensakura

    January 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    People who do not have a chronic condition do not have a clue about how the condition can get to you – if you let it. I was in hospital for a surgery for cancer – supposed to be out in 5 days, was in for three weeks. I woke up one more and said out loud, if I don’t get home, I am going to die here. I could feel myself weakening, giving in to malaise, not eating, depressed. For the next two days, I lied my head off – anything for the Dr. to sign papers for me to go home. Finally, my ploys worked and I was taken home and put to bed in our spare room. I slept for 14 hours straight – I was sooo tired. From then on, I went up and recovered. it has to be a mental thing and a heart thing. My mom is 84 and has COPD. She decided to move to Florida last summer with a friend. I wanted her to stay close and safe, but she needed to do it. She has bad moments, a couple of bouts of respiratory failure, but I guess she felt, if she didn’t do something different in her life, she was going to die. I talked to her this morning. She had gone out for Chinese food and was doing fine today. People who take the best out of a situation, keep moving in the right direction, keep smiling, keep on enjoying life – regardless – all are my role models. Examples to me when I get whiney. I have chronic depression and sometimes, it is almost more than I can bear. But I keep moving. if I don’t get out of here, I’m going to die. so I mentally move me to another place and do my best. Bill, I think it is wonderful how you inspire and keep on going.

     
    • benzeknees

      January 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      I hope your mother continues to do well with her COPD! I am also a sufferer & i am learning from Bill!

       
      • kanzensakura

        January 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

        One breath at a time! She is limited now, but does her best and never ever gives up.

         
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Kanzen, Thank you for your comment. You are 90 percent correct (you still get an A) about how folks with a non-critical condition don’t have a clue about those that do. I say 90 pct, because some folks have lived thru, and have seen it 1st hand. So I give those credit. I don’t know quite how it came about for me, I woke so many times during that 100 days that I was just thankful to have awoken. But again your right, my real healing process didn’t begin until I was home. In my own bed, eating my own food, watching my own TV. Yes like you, my own processes kicked in, and I made myself recovery. I set goals, and met them. I still set goals. I still work hard to accomplish them. Kanzen, all I hope is to have a positive impact. If you take inspiration from me, wonderful for both of us. But just from you comment, I see you have great inter strength that allows you to wage your own war, and to win some of the battles.

      You keep doing what your doing, and if you ever need a shoulder to lean on I am here. Please take care, Bill

       
      • kanzensakura

        January 27, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        Thank you Bill – as always you are kind and encouraging. I will remember that shoulder! I only have strength because of my faith and the love of God.

         
        • FlaHam

          January 27, 2014 at 8:24 pm

          Kanzen, We draw strength from the sources that are most secure and closest to us. Your love and faith in God, is clearly your source of strength and it will carry you. Take care, Bill

           
  3. Chatter Master

    January 25, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Bill, I laughed and was heart sad at this. I enjoy the funny you find in even the most difficult of times. But I felt so sad about the things I know….I have seen people’s hand’s restrained (for their own safety) when they have not been alert enough to know what is going on, it’s difficult to see. And I was sad that someone could treat someone poorly while they are so sick (or healthy for that matter).

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 8:17 am

      Colleen, It was a trying time, but I survived it. Had I not be restrained most likely I wouldn’t have. Nurses are people to, some good some bad, some care some don’t give a shit, and they come and go. When I left Brandon Hosp I complained, and I named names. I think I was but 1 of many that did, and Brandon recognized the need to make changes and they did. The level of care is significantly better now. And I will go there in the future. That post script was the 1st time I actually sat down and wrote about my memories, both actual and informed via conversation. Until then it was tucked away in the wayback machine. But if I had to pin point a time when my real respiratory issues started, it was with that hole. But, in many ways I have become a better person. That’s how life works. Take care, Bill

       
      • Chatter Master

        January 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        I know we don’t get to plat out our lives Bill. And I admire your wit and humor and sense of grace in navigating your course.

        I’ve been very lucky with nurses and have had nothing but the best. But there has been a doctor or two who I thought was in the absolute wrong profession.

         
        • FlaHam

          January 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

          Colleen, There has always been a place for wit in my life. When I was a kid, my ability to crack a joke kept me from being crack in the head a couple times. Now I use my wits to avoid most of the pity parties. I would hate to write stuff that was sad and remorse all the time, I would hate to be so truthful that it hurt to read it. But with my sense of humor, my wit, and not taking myself so god awful seriously I can convey my message in a way that is satisfying to me, and gives others a lift. Over the almost year we have been friends I have read almost everything you have written, and I have learned from it, and applied some of it in part to my style. Like you, I try to convey hope in all of my posts. Now if I could figure out a way to say what I want in less than 2000 words, I would really be accomplishing something. Thank you for your continued support and comments. Please take care, Bill

           
          • Chatter Master

            January 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm

            Your wits and your words serve you, and us, well Bill. You use just as many words as you need to say what you need to say. They’re freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 😉 LOL!

             
            • FlaHam

              January 26, 2014 at 10:06 pm

              Colleen, I just realized if I had to pay WordPress by the word, I would be in deep dodo. I am pleased you enjoy my efforts. Thank you so much. Bill

               
              • Chatter Master

                January 27, 2014 at 6:44 am

                HAHAHAHAHA! 🙂 We all would be Bill. Lets not give WP any ideas! 😉

                 
  4. jmgoyder

    January 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Sounds like hell.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Laughing it was. Take care – Bill

       
  5. DaydreamsInWonderland

    January 26, 2014 at 3:35 am

    It really sucks that you had to go through this, but it shows that you’re a fighter.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Daydreams, Soft smile, if it wasn’t this it would have been something else, and that could have been worst, but I appreciate the care and concern you always express. I like to think I am a fighter, and that my fighting spirit helps others to wage their own fight. Take care, be safe, Bill

       
  6. DaydreamsInWonderland

    January 26, 2014 at 3:39 am

    P.S. I saw that you sent me an email invite to your FB page. Sadly, I’m one of the very few people on the planet that does not have a Facebook page. I just wanted you to know I wasn’t ignoring you & I got your mail. *hugs*

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Daydreams, Hugs back, I have been told it is easier for some folks to follow and comment via facebook, it is an action to help them. Still sorting it out. So don’t fret. Take care, Bill

       
  7. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    January 26, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Thank goodness that was then. You’re an amazing inspiration. Love you!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Paulette, I am glad that I have found a way to be inspirational, that speaking from my soap box has helped others. That really has become my goal in life, to help others in anyway possible in their own personal battles. It might be a soft word, or a kick in the butt, or showing them that almost anything is possible if you try. I know you, and you know how you inspire me, I am forever grateful for that. Please take care, Bill

       
  8. huntmode

    January 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Near as I can tell, Bill, you are collecting a group of warriors around you and we fight the fight, good or bad, every day. I do love your dreams. I would love a couple of posts on that in between the battle cries! Grin. Lead on!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Hunt, I was thinking about what to write next, that was not specifically related to my disease. I could do a dream sequence from when I was in the hospital. These dreams were so vivid, I has the nurse to put clean socks on me every morning. Take care, Bill

       
      • huntmode

        January 26, 2014 at 11:40 pm

        I think it’s amazing that they are still vivid. I am waiting to hear ’em. Go Bill!

         

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