It all began in June of 2017. My wife and I had planned a weekend at away with our dog Dexter. We were both ICU RN’s working 12-hour night shifts at a hospital near our home. When we got to the beach, I was exhausted. Mary took Dexter to the beach, and I took a nap.
On the 10th, I felt crummy. I told Mary I wanted to go home. She proceeded to pack us up and drive us back home where I went back to bed.
On the 11th, I woke up and I wasn’t feeling any better. Late morning, I told Mary something just wasn’t right and that I thought she should take me to the Urgent Care.
The Dr. told me my sat was in the 80’s and I needed oxygen. I remember the ambulance and arriving at the ED, but after that my memory of events fades. My temp was 103.3F, my kidneys shut down, I required more oxygen, the Chest x-ray showed bilateral pneumonia. I was admitted to the med/surg unit because the Doctor “didn’t think I wanted to be a patient on the unit that I worked in.”
By early morning of the 12th, I was transferred to ICU and placed on BiPAP. Around 0745, I went in to acute respiratory distress and was intubated. The hospitalist, a pulmonologist, and an ICU Intensivist were at my bedside. While inserting a neckline, my lung was punctured. My BP was low, so I was started on vasopressors. I was diagnosed with Takasubo Cardiomyopathy. The ICU Intensivist told Mary I was in ARDS and severe septic shock. He told Mary to prepare herself for the worse—I might not survive this. Mary said to transfer me to a bigger hospital 50 miles away. A transfer takes time and a lot of planning and coordination, so I remained in my own ICU getting worse and worse. I was finally airlifted at 1945 June 13th.
On the 23rd, I was diagnosed with necrotizing MRSA pneumonia, that my right lung had been destroyed and I would most likely need a lung transplant!
Finally had a tracheostomy tube inserted on the 28th, and a gastrostomy tube placed on the 29th. Over the next 3 months, I spent time at the rehab hospital and back and forth to the general hospital for various problems. Up and down on the ventilator rate and oxygen percentage. Short of breath one minute and gorked the next. Ready for physical therapy one minute and refusing turns and PT the next. Sedated one day, crazy the next.
On September 6th, I got off the vent and just had oxygen by trach collar. Things moved fast after that. The trach was capped and I was on nasal cannula oxygen!
The team had a conference in my room. The option I had was a nursing home! I said NO! I told Mary I was coming home! It took a few days to make arrangements but finally on September 29th I was released to go home.
My recovery is ongoing. I have many issues--PSS, extreme fatigue, insomnia, but compared to some of my fellow survivors, I can’t complain. I will never be able to thank everyone for their support and love during this fight!
Mary, I would not be here today if you were not by my side through this journey...