So, I want to start with MINT… This crazy little plant is typically indestructible. It takes over flower beds, it just keeps growing and going. So, to contain it, I planted it in a pot and it was flourishing. At night when I sat on the porch, listening to music, sipping wine, I would look at its pretty green leaves and the lovely pot of basil to the left of it, and enjoy the faint wafting of their scents.
Until, I went out one morning to water and saw that most of the green left on it were cutworms, finishing off the last little, verdant morsels of the plant. Without the worms, it was pretty much nothing but brown sticks. I left the little buggers alone and watered the mint anyway. That night, I noticed they were gone, but so was any sign of the mint being alive, yet I couldn’t bring myself to trash it. So, each day, I continued to water it. I was not going to give up…I told myself it was indestructible and damn it, it was going to survive.
After a couple of weeks, I saw the tiniest bit of growth at the bottom of the sticks…just a glimmer of leaf. I thought, no it can’t be…maybe a leaf from another plant flew in there. On closer inspection, I was right, and I was wrong. First of all, there were a couple of itty bitty mint leaves clinging bravely to the base of the stalks, but something else had magically happened on that porch.
A few days later, I saw that the neighboring Purslane plant, to its right, had generously contributed some of its leaves, and they were rooting. Within a week, the barren pot with the dead looking mint sticks sprouting out, was now filling in and becoming lush and green again, with a little help from its friend.
Now, I bet you’re wondering if there’s a point to this story. Well, maybe not to you, but there is one to me. See, we all go through things…people and circumstances suck the life out of you… We go through times when we feel drained and hopeless, where we want to give up, but we just can’t. I wanted to give up and roll over, when I was going through all the horrible medical things, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t let the doctors win…I couldn’t leave my family…
I believe in miracles and a magical world…God and the Universe can fill you with love, and give you the power to become whole again… So, from now on, that’s going to be how I see myself, not a Phoenix, rising from the ashes…but a contained mint plant, refusing to be destroyed, refusing to let the vultures pick my bones, trying to flourish again…with a little help from my family and friends, each giving a little part of themselves…
Just an aside here before we go back to the History of my illness. I have a wonderful son, daughter, granddaughter and extraordinary friends that fill my magical Porch of Pleasure (as one friend likes to call it) with their stories and laughter. I hope in the future, you’ll allow me to share some of our Stories from the Porch.
So, now to the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say…
So, when you last read, I was in the bathroom stall of a movie theater, an ambulance was on the way, but my son had beat it there and threw open the stall door and saw me covered in my own filth of puke and poop…my face a deadly white…
Well, the paramedics arrived within minutes, and one of the poor young men, had the same reaction as my son, turned back to him and asked, rather panicky, if he’d seen how pale I was. Poor guys, they literally had to wade through the body fluids splashed onto the floor…and were still splashing, because I couldn’t make my body work anymore. I was too dehydrated.
Those paramedics were angels. They got me out of the stall, onto a gurney, out a side door (still hurling and running off)… Once in the ambulance, they immediately started running tests, making sure I wasn’t having a heart attack or stroke. An IV was started, there was no pain, no fever… My son, Zach, was allowed to ride with me. It was such a blessing that the closest hospital, the one that had butchered me then lied about it, was too full to take me.
Mentally, I was coherent and managed to tell my son that I was relieved we weren’t going there, and he agreed.
So, here’s the upshot of all this… By taking me to a different hospital, a lot of tests were run on me. Blood work…they couldn’t find anything. No bacteria, nothing to suggest a viral infection, food poisoning, E coli, any disease. A Cat scan was done, they looked at records from the other hospital. They saw I had diverticulitis, and it was slightly inflamed, but there was no pain, no fever and typically, if that’s the problem, you aren’t pooping or hurling. It was simply inflamed from all that was going on.
I became a mystery, and more and more tests were run. I had no symptom of anything they could detect. When asked about drinking, I told the truth, yes, I have wine pretty much every night. “Do you have the shakes?” inquired one very young intern, obviously concerned it was evening and I’d had nothing to drink. I’m sorry, but I found it cute and just smiled at him and shook my head. If you choose, you can find humor practically anywhere.
They were finally able to stop my vomiting, but wouldn’t give me anything to stop the flow of what was now neon green liquid, shooting from my behind. I didn’t know this, but when you have nothing in your system except liquids from an IV, it combines with bile and enzymes and turns this lovely shade of green. I will never look at green slime the same way again.
Into day three at the hospital, with nothing but an IV in me for nourishment, the diarrhea was slowing, and I was no longer painting the floors and walls, as I raced to the bathroom, dragging my cords…my daughter had gone and gotten me, yes, dare I say it? Of course, I will…diapers…Depends! I know, I’m so genteel and all. But it was getting to the point the doctors and nurses were afraid to touch me, because they might get slimed. Funny now, but not so…well, actually it kind of was. I might be a bit twisted.
I was finally released on the fifth day. I was able to go to lunch with my daughter, Autumn, who picked me up. It was miraculous I had survived. When I got to the hospital, my white count was 25,000, my red count 18,000, I was so dehydrated that fluids were being drawn from my tissues, my muscles…but they never found a reason. The doctor that released me said I needed to stop my CBD oil. Sorry…but total f…ing bullshit. I believe it was what saved me again, particularly after talking to my new gastroenterologist a month later.
All of this was a blessing. If it hadn’t happened, I would never have known the truth about what had been done to me at the other hospital. From this new doctor, I learned, for a fact, that I had been perforated, that there was an issue with blood flow and me being left in that condition for 12 hours, that my entire large intestine had been removed, that all the problems I’d been having were directly related to that emergency surgery, that it wasn’t the fault of my age or physical condition, that it was normal for my self-esteem to be in the gutter.
He took a plastic model of intestines, explained to me how they all work, what had happened to me, why I was having all these bouts of severe illness. He was kind. He told me to take everything slow…and he meant everything…from eating small portions, to not pushing myself, not working out for a long time. He told me how much my body had been traumatized, and these were life altering things I’d gone through, and I’d never be the same, but I’d be okay. He let me know I wasn’t insane and that it was a big deal and that it did happen.
He looked at my stomach and told me why it was permanently altered…he explained why the skin was hanging from my face and arms, and most importantly, he listened to me and he asked questions and wanted me to get my self-esteem back. He told me that after what had happened to me, he wouldn’t dare do a colonoscopy for a few years at least, because my body probably couldn’t take it, much less me having back surgery. And he let me know why my back pain was so much worse since the surgery.
This man was a human, a physician who was kind and descent and truthful, who treated me as a fellow human, not a piece of meat. I saw the goodness and Godliness in him, as I believe he saw in me…
Three months later, I am almost back to being the old me. I’ve learned to live with the back pain, which is helped tremendously by CBD oil and hanging upside down on my inversion table. I’ve learned which things to cut out of my diet, what vitamins I can and cannot take, when and how to take them. I go slow with everything. They’ve upped my thyroid medication, and I’m feeling a bit spunkier. The diapers were tossed months ago. I spend time with friends and family and I laugh!
Almost nine months from that botched colonoscopy, I sit on my porch, and I love and am grateful… And my confidence…Well, it’s back. I joined a writers group, have made wonderful friends, and did I mention, I write? Well I do…and my self-esteem is back to the point, I’ve taken a chance and am publishing my series of novellas on Amazon. I built a bridge back to me. And like that mint plant, I’ve had a little help from my friends!
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Great Tina, you are a survivor like no one I know, you grasp life differently, I love it