As the recent holiday season approached my wife decided to visit her family in Chicago just before Christmas. I was not feeling well with back problems and I stayed home alone. On December 22nd I awoke with intense pain in the lower back and could not even get out of bed to go downstairs to get some pain medicine. To add to the problem, all our doors were locked with dead bolts, and no one locally had a key to our house, except my wife in Chicago.
By mid morning I called by wife and asked her to come home immediately, and she did, but it took several hours because she was up in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Upon arrival she gave me some pain pills, but there was little relief. Finally, at 4:00AM on December 23rd we called the local paramedics to take me to the hospital.
Being in great pain they administered morphine and carried me down the stairs into the ambulance and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend. Once in the emergency room they gave me more pain medicine and examined me before admitting me for a full investigation. The first guess was that I had either kidney stones, a kidney infection, or a gall stone flare up. The next morning (Christmas Eve) I was taken for an MRI, but required sedation due to the back pain and some claustrophobia.
The next thing I knew there were twenty five or more people staring at me with anxious faces and a little thin guy pounding on my chest. I was CODE BLUE! A friendly face appeared above me holding my hand and told me that they had almost lost me. It was our dear friend Dr. David Cory who was on call that day in X-Ray and was part of the CODE BLUE team. His words were very comforting, but I was scared out of my mind. I told David I had just seen the WHITE LIGHT.
I was placed in the intensive care unit and several blood tests were performed, a rib cage x-ray, and a heart stress test. Finally, I was taken for a HIDA scan, which showed that my liver, gall bladder, etc. were functioning well, although like many older people I did have some gall stones.
After examination by numerous Doctors and being transferred from room to room and various care levels it was decided December 29th that I could go home to recuperate. Guess what? I no longer had any back pain, but my chest was all black and blue and hurt like hell. All the while I was in the hospital, I was heavily sedated, and when I got home I found that I could not lie in bed. I was forced to sit and sleep in a recliner, which gave me some relief from the chest pain.
I have been home now two weeks and still have intense chest pain from the pounding I took during the CODE BLUE procedure, but I am alive and damn thankful. I have seen my family physician since I came home and within the next two weeks will also see my cardiologist and nephrologist (kidney) for further examination and perhaps additional tests. My medical record now clearly shows that I have experienced a bad reaction to fentanyl – the sedation used for the MRI.
Today, except for a damn sore chest, I’m ok, but very limited and continue to take a prescription for pain. I cannot lie down without intense soreness, so I sit and sleep in my Lazy boy chair. It is getting uncomfortable, but I would be lost without my loving wife’s care.
So that is how we spent Christmas 2008. I am blessed to be alive and most appreciative of the additional time that the Good Lord has granted me on this beautiful earth. Many thanks for all your good wishes and kind remarks. Hopefully within the next four or five weeks I’ll be back to normal.
The weather stinks here in northern Indiana, but I am one very thankful, happy guy able to look out the window for another great, wondrous day.