I’m okay. I’m fine. I’m good. And the thing is–I really am. I was admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at UAB Hospital at 8 o’clock this morning. I have 29 wires glued to my scalp where a nice young man scraped the top layer of skin off to accommodate them. There are two more attached to my chest along with five that belong to what I think is a heart monitor–though a nurse came in to do an EKG a few minutes ago, so maybe not? Earlier today, three nurses were putting in my IV for emergency access and blood draws. They had to stick me six times, blowing four veins in the process. So far, I have done the flashing lights and hyperventilation. One of them triggered something because we got an event–yay! Sleep deprivation is on the agenda for tonight. But I really am okay.
I’m smiling and laughing. I’m joking with the people who are in and out of my room. I might be flirting with my cute night nurse a little 😉 I’m not mad that my mom went home to sleep in her own bed for the night. Maybe I have epilepsy. Maybe I don’t. Either way–I’m good.
But a year ago? I definitely was not.
One year ago today I was also being admitted to the hospital–crazy, I know. I was 800 miles away at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. I was in Adrenal Failure, and I was going to die.
You’ve read about the night I gave up on my bathroom floor and admitted I needed help. You know I called home and that my parents told me it was okay to take a break and get better. I told you how a week later I was in the hospital fighting for my life. This is it. This is what happened.
After that night, I wrote a Patient Portal message to my treating Endocrinologist asking for guidance, and when I didn’t hear back from her after a few days, my mom called her in a panic. It was Monday, October 20, 2019 when that lovely doctor called her back and yelled at her that I needed to go to the Emergency Room immediately based on the symptoms we had reported. Turns out, she had left me a voicemail too–oops. So Makayla packed me into an Uber, and we headed to Georgetown’s ER, where we sat–for nine hours.
I’m really really tough, guys. I power through a lot. I wear many masks. I put on quite the show. Apparently, all of these things were good enough to fool the ER staff. However, blood doesn’t lie because as soon as they started running tests when they finally got me back everyone went into full panic mode. Doctors and nurses started apologizing profusely for how long I sat and waited–seriously, there was actual groveling. I was rushed into the FIRST room that became available–on the post-op floor??? I got ALL the good drugs. A nice human sat on the edge of my bed and did that terrifying thing you see on TV where they put their hand on your leg and say, “We’re doing everything we can.”
But they did. They did everything they could. And I didn’t die.
I slept. A lot. I didn’t really eat. I don’t remember much. I know that I’m still on the drugs they put me on during that hospital stay to this day. I know that they only agreed to release me when they did if I promised to stay on bedrest. I know that they told me I couldn’t stay at school.
So I went home.
And that was a year ago. Exactly one year ago. And here I am–thriving.
I know that sometimes it may not seem like that with all of the doctor’s visits and the occasional hospital stay. It’s definitely a little unsettling that I’m back in one of these beds on the one year anniversary of that terrifying event in my life. It’s easy to lose sight of how good things are sometimes because of the chaos that is my body.
But things are good. My Cortisol levels are not zero. I am weaning off of the steroids month by month. I have friends again. I go to Roverchase every week. I wash my own hair. I eat. I’m in Physical Therapy. I help take care of Cabbage. I’m back in school. I am one year out from what I knew was the end. And I’m strong. I’m so strong–diagnosis be damned.