Friday, March 20, 2015

On this date 1-year ago (March 20, 2014)

Last night while finishing up dinner Sarah told me that tomorrow was the worst day of her life. I asked why. She said, because on March 20th, three weeks shy of Scarlett's birth, she watched me die right in front of her and there wasn't anything she could do about it. And then I came back. And then I died again. She isn't sure, or maybe she just won't tell me, but she says I died "multiple times." I asked her how long was I gone each time. She said maybe a few seconds but each time felt like forever. Few seconds may not sound like a whole bunch, or maybe it does, but considering I've never died for any amount of seconds at all before, this was/is a rather big deal. Sarah's sister has a friend that works at Regions she came and sat with mega-pregnant Sarah during this time so she wasn't alone. A hospital priest approached Sarah about my last rites and she wouldn't have it, wouldn't accept my death. There was a staff member, an Asian male who had a young child that went through ECMO, who stayed up with me the entire night and kept me alive by giving me oxygen by hand. This was referred to as hand bagging or hand bagged or something like that where this man physically kept me breathing with a special plastic bag. Some day, along with several others, I have to meet this guy. We are unsure if his young child survived. ECMO would save my life.

Three days before this we were 'celebrating' my favorite holiday in my hospital room. I scarcely remember much of this, a few gifts and several forced smiles. I was so tired and struggling terribly bad to breathe. I'm unsure of the time frame now, but I was trying to cough up some phlegm for them to test because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. While I coughed constantly, I really wasn't coughing [up] anything. Maybe I forced myself to, maybe my lungs were ready, but I eventually did cough up enough for them to take and I swear they had multiple people around waiting for this and once they grabbed my cup they ran out of the room.

At some point during the next few weeks I had so many dreams I couldn't count. When I started coming through I was greeted with some minor miracles and other larger, real ones. The minor ones being of the Badgers making the Final Four in basketball and the Brewers had just won 10-straight games. I didn't know how many drugs I had taken or was still on, but I really thought those who told me these sporting events were crazy! Then the real miracles. The miracle of life; both my own, and my new baby girl. Thank you to all of those whom I knew or not, that never gave up on me. It turned out to not be my time.

I slept like crap last night. Too many things running through my mind. Some nights are worse than others, but generally when larger events of past, present or future cross my mind I have difficult times sleeping. I'm tired today, and I will probably go take a nap here soon when I lay Scarlett down for hers, but today is a good day. One year ago was the worst day ever. I guess lucky for me I don't remember it. I am thankful and blessed and fortunate for several reasons and many that I can't explain. From that day, and each day since, and while still a huge struggle, has each been a day in the right direction. And now today as I've dressed Scarlett in her Badger cheerleader outfit for the game tonight, I am feeling many emotions. Some good, some bad, some scary. But it's ok. I'm a happy man with two great kids and an awesome wife that couldn't be more supportive.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Countryside P&H

This letter came to us right around the time I was waking up, but I believe it was several days after this that Sarah had told me as I was in and out of consciousness so often. I think the first time I actually read it was late May or even June. I do know that Tim was extremely emotional during my benefit and we shared a great embrace. 

Thank you


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Recent Update

My last scheduled appointment well pretty well. Dr. Sellman has been terrific the entire time and said he'd be happy to see me whenever we needed but doesn't expect to see me for about 6 months. I had X-rays taken of my lungs as a base for my next pulmonary test in several months. Be curious to see how my lungs look now when we check them here at home. I have decided to stop taking my Intraconazole now, instead of finish the about half bottle that remains. I couldn't sleep last night very well and started wondering if that was a mistake or not, so I figured I would go downstairs and just take one of the normally two pills that I normally would have taken. Maybe it was just my nerves or subconscious feelings or whatever, but it seemed to relax me a little bit and was able to sleep decently well the rest of the night. I posted pictures of my consolidated daily medicines on FB this morning and I've had well over 100 likes and several comments and this all makes me feel really good. Thank you for that!!! It's been a busy and hectic week already and it's only Tuesday night and Ryan even commented how fast the week has gone by. This weather sure is an extremely pleasant surprise for early March. Three days ago we built a snowman, and while it was fun, I've never been so happy for a snowman to be gone!


Friday, March 6, 2015

One years time

A year ago this weekend I felt terrible. Couldn't figure out what was wrong so on the 9th, which was a Sunday we went to the ER. Was sent home after a prescription pick up that didn't help at all. We went back to Westfields for Sarah's scheduled check up for Scarlett-to-be two days later. Our doctor looked at me and  immediately sent me to be looked at and I was given oxygen and several tests. I was so tired and out of breath I couldn't manage to do much at all. I remember two of my friends stopped in to check on me, not really knowing the seriousness and asked me if I wanted a drink, as they had brought a small bottle in. It was a joke, and it was amusing, but I wasn't able to acknowledge much else. I guess a nurse got concerned and asked if I "needed" a drink, like I had a major problem, but it really was all in fun. Ryan came to visit but other than a few pictures I don't really remember him being with me. What I thought was later that evening, it actually turned out to be two days later I was given a 2nd opinion and was ordered to be sent to Regions via ambulance. I believe it was snowing and the medics were nice and kept talking to me, possibly to make sure I stayed awake, but I have no idea. There was no way to know at this time what the next few hours, days, months and now 1 years time would involve.  Still can't imagine what Sarah went through watching me basically unresponsive every day for so long, having to change the birth plans, wondering if her first born would have a father, if she herself would ever have her husband again and whether Ryan would lose his dad forever as well as if he would even be a part of his new sister and Sarah's life any longer. At Ryan's school today he had 'dad's day' and part of it was to tell eachother what we were proud of and he said he was proud of me for being so strong in the hospital.
I started writing my blog August 31, a day before my 39th birthday. I was feeling a little better and wanted to have a journal of sorts, while self-helping myself get through some things. I think this has worked relatively well for me 6+ months later. Monday I have another check up at Fairview Hospital. I started taking my Intraconazole nearly one year ago, and my Doctor thinks, without any set backs I will be able to stop taking this medication. This will drop 6 pills a day and the food that I am supposed to eat when I take them. These are exciting events!  It hit me on Wednesday that a year has now come and it was strangely emotional. I really couldn't understand how I was feeling.. Relieved of course, but I think scared that a year ago I nearly died and not sure if my Blasto is completely gone. It was a strange feeling and I couldn't explain it so I called Sarah into the kitchen and gave her a big hug. While I am sure my doctor will tell me that I have recovered enough to stop taking these meds, and I am continuing to heal, I know I have a long way to still go. I am looking forward to the rest of 2015 and the changes that will come, hopefully including me personally to continue to get stronger. By the end of the summer I will be turning 40, and I will need to realize that the process won't be any easier! Thanks for continuing your support by reading my blog.