I was a Very Healthy 26 year old when A Respiratory Virus robbed me of every freedom' I had. It took the very life out of me. No, I couldn't breathe. Or walk. Or talk. Or see my son. In fact, my family was told they'd never see me again, say your goodbyes, she isn't going to make it. BAM. I was dead.
I never thought at 26, with a 4 year old son, I would have my funeral being planned. The vivid Coma Hallucinations haunt. I didn't do anything to cause this. Im here for a reason, though.
The only place out of ordinary I had been was to A Family get together for Granny's 90th birthday .. some folks came in from out of town, and my sons school- to tour the school for pre-K. 31 days in a Coma and on a Artificial Lung Machine and Extended form of life Support with Cardiac (heart) bypass.
I laid lifeless for weeks while a Machine (a room full) worked to pump the blood through my body and re-oxygenate it, because no function was left in my own body to be able to do that. I had a complete lung failure which lead to heart failure and now, Cirrhosis, TBI, Apnea, and much, much more. In a matter of a day or 2, I developed a severe case of ARDS, became septic, went into shock. Was clinically dead for x amount of time. Caused a lot of damage, permanent.
I promise you... THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
I am a smart young lady. At the time, I worked at a residential care facility (private) My job was to take care of the sick and elderly.
Then I became one, myself.
You think a mask is an inconvenience?
You should try gasping for your last breath while signing "I love you" to your family as they wheel you away into the unknown.
I had a body guard outside my room the first 48 to 72 hours .. That was for contamination purposes. They were waiting for Respiratory panel from CDC in Atlanta Georgia results to come in on me. I was Placed On ECMO. It got way worse before any hopes of me making an improvement. My kidneys failed and I was intubated with a feeding tube, tracheotomy and about 14 bags of IV sedation and Antibiotics hanged bedside. ..this was their last ditch effort to save me. Gave me less than 4% chance of surviving. By the time you need ECMO, you're 90 % guaranteed to die.
Anyway, every morning when I wake up and I'm tangled in nocturnal oximetry and my hair is caught in my darth vader apnea headgear and my body aches so bad I have to roll out into the floor...
..I think about how many people I've read whining and complaining about wearing a mask. Wishing I could go back in time and prevent any of this. I would do anything to go back and prevent this. I would shave my head. I would chop off my leg. I would burn every belonging I've ever had. and every dollar in my bank account...
I'd give ANYTHING.
Now, I have both bottom lungs lobe permanently collapsed and I'm dying of cirrhosis of the liver. This is not over, it never will be.
This doesn't get better, it only gets worse. Perhaps had I not contracted a respiratory virus that destroyed my lungs and ability to function, halted all blood flow to my vital organs, and made me septic, I wouldn't have the ability to tell you today
that a mask is no biggie...
It's better than a ventilator. Its better than permanent organ damage.I'll take meds all day everyday just to breathe and see my son. I'll give up foods I love to stay out of the hospital with complications. I'll wear a damn mask.
I could be your daughter.
I could be your sister.
Ask my 10 year old son how I looked with huge tubes and IV lines all over my body. The bruising, bloodshot eyes and blood everywhere. The stitches in my neck, groin. My scars.
Ask my loved ones how many days they sat beside my bed without me even knowing. Ask my doctors what a miracle it is that I have a voice now after all the revisions to my trach and code blues they called on me due to cardiac arrest and bleeding. I was told my vocal cords were so damaged, Id never speak again. Ask them, not me. Because even though I have 4 degrees with a 4.0 GPA and have studied medicine for 4 years now... I may not be an expert in anything, except my own experience.
I'm willing to be as transparent as I need to be if my words can reach even 1 person.