Friday, March 30, 2012

Brink of death

Morbid title I know. But that's basically what a year ago today was. I almost died. I cheated death for the second time in my life. I'm guessing someone upstairs wants me alive. Maybe. Also, I look at it as a way to completely empathize with my future patients when I'm a health professional (notice the vagueness?)... Anywho. Let's walk down (painful but interesting) memory lane, shall we?

On a Tuesday in March last year, the 29th to be exact, I started have crazy intense pain in my lower abdomen. It sort of accumulated throughout the day but at night it became so incredibly unbearable that I literally shoved my head into the corner of our couch and was yelling as loud as I could. My flatmate, M, thought I was dying. There were moments where I thought I was okay but then my insides would be like, "HA! You wish buddy... This is what you get for torturing me." M and I decided that it was women issues so we heated up the heat pack and laid it across my lower abdomen and turned on a mindless movie to distract me from the pain. I also took about 6 AdvilPMs. I may have even taken 2 Excedrin PMs. They semi-helped but not really. Didn't really feel nauseous, not that I remember anyway, except for when I was in extreme pain and then when I was done trying to stifle my yells of pain, I felt a little weird. I battled with the pain and didn't really sleep but in the end I guess I was so exhausted from fighting the pain I fell asleep.

The morning of the 30th, I woke up from my non-sleep and was in so much pain I couldn't move. To go to the bathroom, I doubled over and shuffled (meaning tiny baby steps, about 5-6 for one of my normal strides) 4 feet. It took me about 5 times longer than normal. Probably more. As I put my body back into my bed, I texted M and said, "I think I really need to go to the hospital." We had agreed the night before that if I still felt like my insides were trying to make their way out of my body "Alien" style, we'd go to the hospital.

I wore a hoodie and sweats into the streets of Dublin, which to those of you who don't know, is complete "North Dublin" wear... That is, what "track suit wearers" would wear out. M told me that people were looking at me as if I was a leper and dying. I felt like it. I climbed into a taxi (with the help of M gently pushing me over to the other side) and began the most painful cab ride of my life. I felt every bump, turn, and shift change.

As we got to the Mater Hospital, I walked (shuffled) into the A&E and plopped myself down onto the nearest chair. M, the superstar and amazing person that she is, took care of everything. Even when I had to go to the bathroom, she came in with me and made sure I didn't fall in. Yes, I lost every shred of dignity during this time of battling death. I finally got called in for the initial check in and the nurse looked at me with the most pitied look I have ever seen. I plopped down into the chair and she proceeded to ask me questions, take my blood pressure, and temperature. My temperature was 40 degrees Celsius. That's 104 F. 3 degrees away from possible brain damage. I think she gave me some pills to swallow which took an immense amount of energy and escorted me back to my seat in the waiting room. She told us as we walked outside that they would try to find a bed as soon as possible because clearly, something was very wrong.

Sure enough they found a bed. Where was it? In the plaster room. What is that in American terms? Where they put fiberglass casts on folks with broken bones. Why there? They had no other beds and they really needed me to be laying down and probably also not to freak out the other people in the waiting room. Then I waited. And waited. During the (approximately) 7 hours of waiting, my pain changed. It didn't completely go away but it definitely changed. It was at this point (and after 3 doctors confirmed it was appendicitis) that people started to really freak out. In hindsight, this is because my appendix burst. As the doctors and interns put it, "It was shredded" and "It was a mess in there."

Finally after my surgery I was transported upstairs to the ward where I would be staying. Honestly, I don't remember much of that besides the pain from being transferred from the surgical table to the bed. I should have gotten better. The key word in that sentence is should. Over the next five days, my belly swelled until it looked like I was 7 months pregnant and I could not stop vomiting. Even when there was nothing left to vomit, I vomited bile. I had an NG (nasogastric) stuck up my nose then snaked down to my stomach to make me stop vomiting. Weirdly, that was one of the most painful parts of this whole ordeal. I had multiple x-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans. Oh and of course blood draws which were real fun since I have ridiculously small vessels.

On the fifth of April after my final CT scan results came back, the doctors rushed in and said, "We are taking  you to surgery again. Sign these forms. Now." My mesoappendiceal tissue was "raw and oozing" <-- that is a direct quote from my surgical report. (if you want photos

I was in the hospital for a total of 17 days. I was getting fed through tubes exactly 2000 kcal a day. They said I was supposed to be there for a month. The doctors said I was lucky and that they think my mom had something to do with my quick recovery... I'm sure that's part of it but I think it was God.

A year later I'm great! Well not fully great because I haven't exercised AT ALL and instead gained ALL the weight back :( ah well. I will start gearing up soon because I just need to be healthy again!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Last day of Irish classes

A year ago today, I finished my scheduled classes at Trinity College Dublin for my Masters in Global Health. I'm not going to lie .. it was a HUGE relief. People think I'm very intelligent but honestly, I'm not. I work hard and especially because of the ADD it's really difficult for me to do school. I know this presents a large problem for me especially with my desire to go to medical school but I've developed certain techniques that help me to focus and I've found that when I'm reading/studying something that really interests me, I can sit for a quite a long while (I'm sure like many other people) before I get fidgety.

Anywho, my last module was nutrition and global health. The subject that most motivated me to come do the program. Throughout the program I definitely got exposure to way more things and now I can sufficiently back myself up when I say, "No you can't do just one aspect, it's integrated." Finishing up my classes when more than half my cohort was done was a challenge because a lot of them were taking trips and such and I was stuck in class. Nevertheless, I tried my hardest and did pretty okay.

Of course we ended classes before St. Patrick's Day which was great because obviously, no one was going to go to class that day nor the day after. It was quite an experience and one of the things on my bucket list that I got to cross off!

Back to finishing classes though. It was quite a feat for me. I had officially finished grad school modules. I wanted to run through the streets of Dublin yelling, "I DID IT! ME! ADD RIDDLED, TOTALLY ORGANIZATIONALLY CHALLENGED ME!!!!" But I didn't. Instead, my amazing flatmate and I quietly (well quieter than most other Irish folk) went out for drinks.

Today, it was just another day. But today, instead of finishing my last grad school class, I have my Masters and am sitting in undergrad classes. You know what helps me to keep going and do well? The fact that I have my degree and am working towards a career. Sometimes that brings me down too. It's one of those... double statements? I'm sure there's a more eloquent English phrase for that but as you can see by my writing, I am far from eloquent. Anywho, a year ago today I was more behind than I am now. I need to keep telling myself that.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stream of conscious

When I had a xanga (back in the day), I used to do this thing called, "stream of conscious" posts. It seems immature but honestly, they help a lot. Unfiltered thinking can hurt but because I'm such a verbal processor and the fact that this is so public, sometimes helps me to stay in check and air my dirty laundry into the world where there are problems way worse than mine. Also, it's like my little pensieve... Like in Harry Potter. Although I wish I had a real one so my freaking memory wouldn't be so jumbled up all the time and when I try to recall things people stop asking me, "Were you that drunk?!" when in fact it was something in the middle of the day, therefore I would absolutely NOT be drunk. Duh.

Anyway. Here goes. My first stream of conscious post on blogger. Oh also there should be a disclaimer that these thoughts (more than likely negative) usually do not amount to anything and like the name suggests, it's mostly a fleeting thought. So don't read too much into it/them. If you have a question, just ask! (Yes that's my shameless asking for comments on my posts! But thanks K.O. who always does :) hehe) Oh and for the sake of quickness, I am not gramatically correct so to all of you "Ross" types out there, can it (about the grammar).
i am worn out. worn out all around. when i begin to think about what things i need to do, i can't help but ask, "God could you just give me like 2 more hours?" but then i realize, even if that happened, i'd probably waste it anyway because i'd be dicking around on the interwebs. much like right now. i should be studying for physio but the task is so daunting that i find myself programming myself to fail. i do this to myself too much. if unnie were here she'd smack me and yell at me for short changing myself. people in my classes think i'm smart, but they have no idea that i'm pretty much retaking all these classes... so really, i'm kinda... dumb for the lack of a better word. i'm so the anti-MV student. except when it comes to holding ridiculously high expectations for myself. then of course when i don't fulfill them, i feel worthless and like a full on eejit. i actually kind of feel like that right now. it's reinforced by those who i thought were close to me but are proving to care less. but then i turn it around on me... do i care less about them? honestly? i don't think so. if anything the want/desire to show them how much more i care gets deeper. ugh there i go turning it to me again. i can never stay too long on caring for others because apparently, all i care about is myself. i've heard it said that as people age, they more and more look out for only themselves. maybe i'm a walking, talking example of this. i'm as selfish as they get. when was the last time i did something truly for the love of someone else? ... i guess not too long ago but then it comes to bite me in the butt because later i think, "hey i wonder if they even realized ...." i'm such a terrible person. i'm so "look at me, look at me" when i want to be so edifying to others. sometimes i really wonder why God would make a person like me. ugh. anyway, i'm so glad to be single right now. then i can deal with the uglies without anyone but myself (and sometimes people and of course God) seeing them. i wonder if that's why mcirish wanted to break up with me. ugh. i hate thinking about him. i hope his sister is well and has that child she so badly wanted to have. i duno. sometimes, i pray for a wipe out. or that this life that i think i'm living is the fake one, and that actually, i'm some beautiful, hilarious, intelligent, faithful prayer warrior woman who dreams so vividly about her sad alternate. it won't happen. this is the way it is. i wish this was one of those times where it was okay, but it's not. i think way too much about stupid things than i should.... i am worn out.
See? Pretty negative and bad eh? That's a glimpse of what it's like in my mind BUT with less ADD (because I'm tired, it's a bit easier for me to focus on one thought stream than see the hundreds of others that are firing too. Seeing inside my ADD peak mind is way crazier... haha) It's also "late" right now and I really should be studying but I felt like I needed to clear my mind before I got really into it. So... awkward.... Some private thoughts of mine are now again, on the interwebs for the world (2 people) to see. Ah well. C'est la vie right?