A Coffee Chat: Home, Home is Best

Hello....It's been quite a while, I know.  I just got home this evening and I'm a little overwhelmed with life at the moment, but I want more than any other thing to be back in a normal life routine. For a Saturday evening, that means just what I'm doing right now: watching Presley's Country Theatre, and typing a post.  Normally it would be a menu post.  I do need to do that, too, but mostly I want to chat.

John has done admirably well keeping the place nice.  I came home to a newly mown lawn,  a few clean dishes on the baking counter that he didn't know what to do with, little stacks of clean laundry.  Truthfully supper was just beyond me this evening when we came in, but we stopped at Subway and picked up a sandwich.   I hadn't had an afternoon cup of coffee in over a week.  It was lovely.

I don't think this shall be a long chat but I wanted to let you all know how very very much I appreciate your well wishes, your concern and most of all your prayers.  I desperately needed those prayers!

And because I know you're curious, and because I think perhaps maybe by sharing I might save someone else the grief of going through what I have, I want to tell what I've been through.  It sounds like less typed out than it was, to be honest.

Monday two weeks ago, I was straightening the bathroom when I had a little spell of breathlessness.  I started to cry, though it wasn't impossible to breathe, but I put it down to a slight panic attack and went on about my business.  The little bouts of breathlessness came and went throughout the day, enough to make me just sit down and be still.

Tuesday I would have told you I felt better.  John and I went out for a delayed anniversary meal.  I confessed to him how very frightened I'd been the day before but told him I'd no idea why I was frightened.  We stopped at the grocery to pick up a few items and the cashier pointed out that I'd gotten three boxes of soda and the fourth was free. I walked perhaps 20 feet away from the register, if that far, picked up a box of soda and was hit by another breathless episode.  It was enough at this point to upset John but I stubbornly refused to go to hospital as he suggested.  I put it down to panic attack, again...after all Katie's baby was imminently due and  I'd been a little anxious over all the girls as their due dates and labor ensued.  And Katie was, at that moment, in labor and delivery being induced.

Wednesday we drove up to Athens.  I handled walking well, everywhere except in the underground parking garage.  I had developed a very short brief cough as well.  I saw the lovely girl and her lovely baby and cooed with grandmama and aunts over her.  John and I headed home.  I felt tired and not quite myself, but better overall.

Thursday morning, I still felt tired, more tired than our trip warranted.  I made breakfast, and put off clearing up for a long time.  In fact, it was after noon and the dishes were in the sink.  I reluctantly dragged myself off to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher.  I turned to look at the clock and noted it was 12:20 and I thought I ought to see to lunch very shortly.  John came into the kitchen and was questioning if I'd ever before felt the way I had the past few days.  I started to answer him and coughed, more deeply than I had at any point that week but not a hard cough by any means.  I felt a wave of dizziness hit and then it was a full blown tsunami.  I said "John..." and he caught me as I passed out.  I came to gasping for breath.  When John dialed 911, I didn't even begin to object.

When the EMS showed up they got me loaded up and first off tested my blood sugar.  It was 473.  Until that moment, I never knew I was experiencing diabetes II at all.  I had had NO symptoms.  But that was just the beginning.  At the hospital, I passed out again.  The doctor on duty demanded I go right away to have a CT scan and when I was in the ER once more, he came in and stopped the nurse giving me medication.  He told her to get on the phone to a tranport service and send me straight to the cath lab in Macon, with direct orders to NOT 'stand on the wall'.  That is a term for when EMS and patients are not given a room/treatment immediately.  He repeated those same orders to the EMS when they arrived and assured them he'd back his orders to them if anyone even tried to make them wait.

The doctor then told John I had 'huge' blood clots in my lungs.  John, being a paramedic, is familiar with pulmonary embolism and how dangerous it is.  It happens that I was aware of how serious things were at that point but too sick to care and I mean that sincerely.  I remember little of the lights and siren ride to the big regional hospital.  I remember at some point feeling sick and saying so as the EMS moved  me rapidly down the hallway at the hospital.  There's a thing among EMS that they don't run.  That is to instill calm in everyone.  These guys were walking mighty fast that afternoon and that made me aware again of the seriousness of what I was dealing with.  Someone in one of the labs in that area snatched open a door and thrust a handful of washcloths and a cup in my hands and told me I'd be all right.   I soon had four doctors peering down at me and nurses who never left my side.  My husband tearfully asked if I was going to make it...The doctors looked at him very soberly and said "She's here...and that's the best news today."  I was sobered by their remark that they saw perhaps 6 or 8 a month...In a hospital of that size which is HUGE, that is nothing.  It's like a .1000 percent of the surgery base probably, just a tiny amount.

 I turned to John and managed to say, "Call Katie.  Tell her to get on my Facebook account and post for all my prayer warriors to get busy."  John said "She can't..."  "Yes, she can.  She'll use her phone right there in the hospital and it will be online in seconds."  I didn't know until later that John had called all the other children except her, not wanting to upset her while she herself was recovering from surgery.   John called her and told her what was happening and what  I'd said.  I heard a calm maturity in her voice as she responded to him, that I'd never heard before.  It's quite a lot to have a baby one day and be told your mother might die the next.  All of my children behaved admirably, but I was so especially proud of Katie at that moment.  She, of all my children, understood the power of prayer and how very necessary it is to send them up to beat on the doors of heaven and ask for help.

I won't bore you with laborious details.  I spent 3 days in CVICU and then was transferred to the main cardiovascular  unit for follow up care, which is where I was until this afternoon.  There's a ratio of blood thinner to ability to reverse it quickly should an emergency arise that has to be reached.  I was responding fairly well but at one point my 'points' dropped instead of rising.  I sent out an especial prayer request Thursday at noon and by 9pm I was at therapeutic levels, a far cry from where I'd been at noon.  A friend had come by to visit and after the nurse walked out of the room we sobbed over God's great goodness in hearing prayers.

No one knows why I had blood clots.  The doctors have settled on the trip to St. Augustine and back and one or two even suggested the trip to Athens, but I discount that one hard, since I was having symptoms before we ever went up to see Katie and Taylor.  I am not convinced it was the trip to St. Augustine either but it's a good enough starting point I suppose.  I never experienced any of the prior pain they asked me about and Doppler study didn't show any evidence of previous clotting in my legs either.

I will be on a blood thinner for the next 9-12 months, managed by weekly blood tests and increasing/decreasing the blood thinner medication.

As for the diabetes, blood tests show that my AVERAGE daily blood sugar was in the 250 range for over 3 months.  I never experienced any of the symptoms we read constantly to watch for.  At one point I questioned myself if I was just in such a state of denial that I refused to see it, but the truth is that the basic guidelines simply didn't present.  I did speak to a woman during one of my tests who said her husband had the same exact 'unexpected' diagnosis.  One of his co-workers who was being treated for diabetes, jokingly asked to test his blood sugar and he had a level similar to my own on the day of my emergency.  They have now noted that when his sugars are high, his voice gets a little raspy.  That's it, that's his symptom.  I'm not sure what mine is.

I am medication sensitive and I'm leery of taking medicines overall because they don't always do what they ought.  With the blood thinner and with the diabetic medication I asked to be started on the very oldest of drugs whose track record at this point has been proven with both normal and sensitive patients.  It's still been a little tricky.

The diet at the hospital was sorely lacking in fresh salad and fruits although they were balanced meals of carb/protein and quite good. With that and medication I've had normal sugar levels, but one of the initial medications I was given lowered my blood sugar two nights running.  The second night I had an initial high test at bedtime and when the nurse came an hour later  to give me a shot of insulin I put up an argument.  I demanded she do another finger stick on me to check my level and thank God!  My sugars had fallen below 60. 70 is considered too low and has protocols for increasing sugars to normal levels again.   I had NO hypoglycemic symptoms at all that night.  The nurse was not in any error...she was simply following their protocol and I can't tell you yet, what made me put up such an argument  with her.  God watching over me is my best guess.

Eventually that med was discarded but my insurance will not allow me to have the medicine that replaced it at this time, so I am back on the not best med at present.  My hospital doctor agreed only after I assured him I'd be taking it mornings and not at night and would be closely monitoring through more frequent finger sticks.  As soon as I can get a doctor of my own (yes, I'd failed to do that too! but it will change immediately when Monday arrives), I will try to get another medicine pre-approved through their office and we'll go from there.

I also had pre-hypertensive blood pressure readings through out the week.  Everyone is agreed stress alone could easily increase my normally perfect blood pressure but I was given a small dosage blood pressure med for now.  That was hard for me to accept but John and the nurse gave me all the benefits and both assured me I was doing my body a favor at this time..I still felt a bit of a train wreck.

Until Thursday, May 28, I would tell you and anyone who asked, that I was healthy.  Although I knew the diabetic guidelines, I did not have any symptom whatsoever.  I had made dietary changes which the registered dietitian with the diabetes staff at the hospital said were good changes.  What I do need to work on is balance in meals (less fat, consistent carb counts at every meal, regular meal times, and portion control).  There will be no more skipping supper as I have in the past or forgetting to eat lunch.

Of all the parts of my current health situation I must deal with, diabetes does seem the most manageable at the moment.  I was told that I am a good candidate for management with diet and exercise if I will follow guidelines now.  I mean to do just that.

For all the trauma/drama there were many good things throughout the week.  The staff at the hospital in every unit, from every department that touched me were so awesome.  They were to a person kind, concerned, willing to stop and listen, helpful and reassuring.  I've worked in a hospital and know how much more it takes for a hospital as large as that one to create such an atmosphere of care.

My children have been very involved in their own lives at present, as they ought to be but they all offered to drop everything immediately to rush to my side.  My girls called in every prayer warrior they knew all throughout the ordeal.  I was so grateful for that.

The number of people who reached out was humbling.  So many of you, whom I've never met in person and likely never will responded here and on Facebook with your prayers and concerns.  You all often tell me how helpful some little something I wrote was for you, but I can't even begin to impart to you how very much your prayers and concern meant to me.  It was so helpful, too, in those moments when fear threatened to take my breath away.

My husband did go to work on his regular days and it was because I insisted.  He was at hospital by my side most of every day he was off but he needed those days at work to have a sense of normal, something that I was grasping hard for and failing at finding.  One of us needed to be connected to the world outside those hospital walls.

I don't know if I'm going to feel better right away or if it's going to be a process.  I don't know what I'm going to feel like doing and what I won't.  I do know that my medical care at present will be priority, so appointments and doctor visits and lab visits are going to become part of my normal for at least the next year.  I might slow down posts a little or a lot.  I just don't know at present.  I have to find my new routine and make it all work.

Home never looked so good as it did today when we drove up the drive...When I came indoors I wept.  I had been half afraid to believe I'd ever see the place again.  Well I have.  Now I'm ready to face whatever else life has to bring.


doe853 said...

Well Terri, it does my own heart good to see you here tonight. I checked in on the off chance that you woul say Hi I'm back, never expected a full post. You had a very scary experience, I was holding my breath when I heard your diagnosis. I just retired from a major trauma center. I spent 43 years in radiology, the last 17 as a CT tech so I totally knew what you were going through. So glad you have come out on the good side. Our many prayers worked! Now get rest and settle in for the long haul of getting your strength and health back.

Prayers and hugs, Dale

Glenda said...

So glad to hear you are home, Terri. Prayers will continue for you.
Please just take care of yourself and post when and if you feel like it. We will all be walking through this with you.You are a blessing.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Home Sweet Home, I am glad that you are home. Now you will be able to rest better in your own cozy bed. Take care.

Susie D.

Tammy said...

Welcome home, dear! Take your time to find the new normal and get your strength back.

Chari Crowdis said...

So glad you're home. We've never met but I've been praying. I have to take blood pressure medications & it took awhile to find one that worked. I take a combination & have been in them 15 yrs. My hubby got diabetes about 30 years ago. We had went to lunch & he got in the car to go to work & all of a sudden he couldn't see. No warning or symptoms. He was in his 30's. We got to hospital & his sugar was 700 & they thought he had a blood clot in his brain because he couldn't see. I was near hysterical. Anyway, his sugar started to come down with insulin injections & his sight returned but not completely in one eye. It took awhile but he he manages it & you get to where you can tell when it's high or low. He sees white spots & his breathing is more labored. They have so many new ways to treat it nowadays not like long ago. We travel & spend a lot of time running Grandkids. He has had to take injection insulin all these years but the pens make it so much easier. It's a shock at first & I was young & got a little depressed at first but I was so shocked. I got past it when I realized it can be managed. It hasn't stopped us from living life to the fullest. My hubby doesn't have trouble with sweets but he does with carbs. He loves them. You will get the hang of it I promise. It will get easier. Take care. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back home where you belong. Still in my thoughts and prayers.

Deanna said...

I had been thinking of you the past couple of days and was glad to see this update. As I read the first little bit of this I thought, "uh, oh, hope it isn't blood clots in the lungs". I am sorry I was right (guess that RN experience so long ago stuck with me) but glad you are doing better. My son in law went in for a routine checkup a couple of years ago and was barely back home when he received a call telling him to go to the ER immediately. His blood sugar levels were through the roof yet he hadn't experienced any obvious symptoms either. He is now doing remarkably well. He exercises religiously and lost about 80 pounds in the first several months. I hope your results are as good. Feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back. If you are taking an anti-coagulant, you might want to check out the newer ones on the market. They don't interfere with vitamin K. Warfarin increases Arterial calcification by 50% in 30 days. It is not as good as Pradaxa and some of the others. Anyway, good to see you on the road to recovery.
There is, however, no pill for being stubborn. Next time listen to your body and get in right away. As you can see, everybody would hate to lose you.


Christina said...

So relieved you're back home and doing better. Hope you are able to get rested and also get the medications straightened out soon. What a scary ordeal. You are blessed to have so many prayer warriors on your side. :)

Ronnie said...

Thank God you are home and hopefully on your way to recovery. It must have been very frightening for you and your family. Take it easy and do what the Doctors tell you to do. Don't try and run before you can walk. In other words don't do too much! Glad you are back. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Crystal H. in Nevada said...

Hi. I found you about a month ago and have been reading all your back posts. You are such an amazing woman and you share many of the values and things I also value in life. I prayed for you when I saw you were in the hospital and have checked back daily so I was very happy to see you here when I checked tonight.

I have many health challenges (especially with my heart) and had open heart surgery at a young age and am currently on my third pacemaker defibrillator. Just a word of caution - I was on Warfarin (blood thinner) for a year and it never regulated. I had weekly blood tests for a whole year. Finally someone in the lab said some people never get regulated on the generic (Warfarin) and my Dr. switched me to Coumadin (which the insurance co. didn't want to pay for at first) I was regulated in less than a month and have been on it for 15 years now with no ill effects. I get blood work every month to 6 weeks. So if something doesn't work look at the possibility that the generic might have different fillers in it than the non-generic.
Any way -glad you are back. Take care.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Hi Terri, just signed up for your blog posts. Love the way you "chat".

So glad to hear you are back home. There's truly no place like it. Been where you are now and can relate. All will be well.

God bless,


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! What an ordeal you've been through. So glad you are home again and finding your new normal. God is good all the time, all the time God is good! 😇 I was praying the other morning, so many with health concerns, and I knew I was missing someone. I kept asking God who I was missing. It was you! You went on that list mighty quick and have been prayed for often. I'll keep you there and you can know I'll be lifting you up to our Abba. 😇 Pam

Laurie said...

Hi Terri,
So thankful to hear you're back home. Keeping you and your family in my prayers, I know how hard this can be on loved ones as well.
God Bless,

Nancy said...

Welcome Home Terri....I have been praying for you and thinking of you. I've been checking your blog daily for any updates. How nice to come today and find an update from you. Please take care of yourself and try not to do too much too soon. Prayers continue as you recover and follow doctor's orders. You are in God's care and John will be looking out for you too!

Relax and read a good book.

Hugs and prayers,
Nancy K.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am so glad you are back and better. What a scary ordeal and so sorry for what you have gone thru. Been thinking about you!
Laura C

Anonymous said...

Terri I am so glad you are home. What an ordeal this has been for you and your family. I will keep you in my prayers. Take it easy, learn how to deal with your new "normal" and let God handle the rest.


Lorita said...

It is such good news to know you are finally home! I continue to pray that your healing and recovery goes quickly now, but you will still need to take it easy and not get busy with too much housework right away. I know you! You are probably just itching to get back to your old routines. You are so fortunate to have John being an EMT to keep an eye on you.

Janell in Georgia said...

Terri, You had me so worried. I had been checking your page every day to see if you or anyone had posted an update. Please take care of yourself. I, like you, am bad about just not eating. You would think I would be skinny. I know that I am borderline with my sugar levels. Again, if you need anything, it's not that far for me to bring you anything you need. Will continue to pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Who would ever expect to be so sick with so few symptoms!! It made me so happy to see you posted. :-) I know just being on a trip and returning home we are so grateful to be there...but you must have felt that 200% more. Yes your returning to good health is number one now. We your readers will I am sure, learn from it too. That is good. You come first though.
My husband is on Warfarin and his doctor has warned him against the newer pills. They have no way of stopping a bleed with it and several other problems. Your doctor though will prescribe what they think best for you. We really had little problem with diet while taking it. People seem to over worry that. If you just keep eating basically what you always have there is no problem. Your body is already used to those levels. I mean if you are used to a salad each day just keep doing it and such. But eat healthy food. The diet restrictions are not much. He just has to avoid pomegranate or cranberries. He takes all meds right and gets his blood work done when he should. Though with the diabetes it is a bit more complicated I imagine. I know our hospitals have many free classes on different health issues. They have been so very helpful to help us understand the medications and ins and outs of everything.
Hearing from you made my day and I can imagine that is multiplied many many times over by so many people. :) God saw to it that you had John with you when things got worse. That you got the care you needed and came through all of this. He wants you healthy He wants you here. You are in His care and can do no better. Sarah

Alyssa Corley said...

I do hope you start feeling better soon and I'm glad that you can be home.

c Hall said...

So glad that you are home and on the road to recovery!

Lana said...

What a time for my laptop to die! I checked with my phone and was thrilled to see that you are home! The picture of your home looks like a wonderful, peaceful place. Prayers for continued healing continue. I will also be praying for the medication problems
. I have had the same problems for decades so I know where you are right now. It can be so frustrating. Take care and let us know amy specific prayer requests.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Terri, I am so sorry to hear about your health and the scare you went though.
I am a retired Respiratory Therepist, So I understand what you went though. So happy that you got to the hospital , when you did. So happy your back home. Be careful and don't try to do so much. Give your self to get well.It will take awhile..
I missed your post , while you were gone.. Prayed for you.. Judy

Heidi said...

Terri, So very glad for God's provision and protection for you over the past week, and so glad you made it back up that drive!!!! Sometimes it's funny, but sobering, how home never looked so good...praying this week you are led to the right Dr. who provides the care you need not only at this time, but going forward. Praying you have wisdom to heed the Spirit as you move these next few months into new patterns for your life. Take heart! The Spirit's strength and power is in you and is enough. Praising God He is hearing our prayers on your behalf! Heidi in Canada

Shannon smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Karla Neese said...

Oh my dear sister in Christ, how my spirit rejoices that Our God is so faithful! I'm so glad to hear of His hand upon you and John and the staff that cared for you. Thank you for posting the details - it gives us all pause to make sure we are caring for ourselves. I am praying you find the new routine Abba has planned for you - one I believe involves a little slower pace and little more Terri rest time at least for awhile. We are certainly grateful you are on the mend!

vickie morgan said...

this brought tears to my eyes especially where all prayer warriors were called. Oh Terri he seen you through and you'll be yourself again soon I know. Take care of yourself and I'll be praying for your speedy recovery!

Maranda DiSanto said...

This made me cry! I've been checking and re-checking your blog to make sure you are okay. Prayers can do a lot, and I'm so glad you are on the mend. I'll keep praying, and you keep getting better !

Shirley in Washington said...

So glad to read your update and that you are on the road to recovery! Reading about your "adventures" and seeing how God cared for you every step of the way is a blessing for me. Thank you and I am praying for your recovery. Shirley in Washington

Rose Cole said...

Terri, I am so glad you are back home. What an ordeal! I will continue to pray for your recovery.
I am a semi-retired ICU nurse who has survived 3 strokes and lived to tell about it! The last one was August , 2013 and I spent 3 months in rehab. They speculate that my clotting is due to Lupus which can sometimes make people more prone to clots. I take my blood thinner and above all I finally faced the music and realized that I would have to take better care of myself. For 37 years I put my own health on the backburner in order to take care of others. Eventually, it caught up with me. Now, I just work a shift here and there and concentrate on staying healthy.
Again, I wish you the best and I am so glad you are OK!

PatsyL said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your health problems, and I hope you continue to improve. I can't help but recall your post on getting insurance... So glad you decided to get it!

Cathy M said...

God keep you Terri! I know that must have been so very scary. My Dad and uncle both had similar experiences and it is very scary. I sit a lot at work and it worries me as well that I may suffer from blood clots some day. I really enjoy reading your posts and you are the only blog I follow on a regular basis. Prayers to you and John and Katie and her new little girl.

Cathy Moore
Knoxville, TN

IM said...

So sorry that you had to face all of this, but there is a bright side. I have been living with diabetes for quite some time, and they can do so much for it these days! It no longer is the death sentence that it once was. My only troubles have come from the meds! Funny how the cure causes more discernable problems than the disease sometimes. Just keep at it, and do what you have a gut feeling works. Everyone is different. I for one, found that the "diabetic' diet had far too many carbs for me, and I do much better with a little protein and a lot of complex carbs, rather than breads, cereals or anything of that nature. The good news is that butter doesn't do a thing to your blood sugars, and you can eat a ton of green beans with a tsp of butter on them! LOL

Kathy said...

Welcome home!! There is no place like home, and I'm sure that you will feel a little better each day. I am so sorry for all that you have been through. It sounds like a scary time. I am so glad the He brought you through it all. Please take care of yourself, and we will be here for how ever much you feel like blogging.

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