Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Worst Case Scenarios

I am willing to admit that I have a problem.  I seem to be addicted to the finding out the absolute worst that could have happen...

First..  I have to go into detail about my last few weeks... because I'm a drama queen and I can't help myself.

I got sick.  I had the flu.  :(  no fun.. but honestly other than that I didn't feel overly sick...  really tired, aches and pain, cough... typical flu symptoms, right? 

About 3 days into it I started to develop some breathing difficulty on my right side.  Nothing to be too concerned about, but as I had been getting progressively worse throughout the day, I decided I'd rather head to the hospital at 7pm and see if they could give me a breathing treatment or something rather than waiting until 2am when I expect it would have been much worse...

So Andy takes me to the ER and literally drops me off at the curb and goes home.  I thought he was just parking the car and was going to come in, but honestly not a big deal.  The ER doctor was a little on the cocky side, chastised me for not getting a flu shot, and set me up for some morphine and fluids, after which he intended to send me home... and I intended to go home.

As soon as they gave me the morphine...  AH!! oh my heck, I totally get how people can become addicted to that stuff.  Immediate relief from the pain and chills, and I fell straight to sleep. 

That's when the problems started.  My blood pressure dropped to 80/40 and oxygen saturation from 98% to 72%.  The ER Doctor got a little more serious, a little more confused.  Took me for a CAT scan, and found pneumonia. I have never had pneumonia...  in fact, the last time I even recall having the flu I was in high school.  The bacteria from the flu had gotten into my blood stream.  Oh and yes, I also tested positive for the flu, which is unrelated to the pneumonia.

From Wikipedia:

Sepsis and septic shock are potential complications of pneumonia. Sepsis occurs when microorganisms enter the bloodstream and the immune system responds by secreting cytokines. Sepsis most often occurs with bacterial pneumonia; Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause. Individuals with sepsis or septic shock need hospitalization in an intensive care unit. They often require intravenous fluids and medications to help keep their blood pressure from dropping too low. Sepsis can cause liver, kidney, and heart damage, among other problems, and it often causes death.

My timing could not have been any better.  If I had waiting to go to the hospital things would have been much more serious.

My second day in the hospital was not going well.  Anytime I stood up I went into Tachycardia...  heart rate jumps way up to try and supply enough oxygen.  My nurse... oh heaven help her...  was briefing the night staff nurse at the end of her shift...  right outside my open door.  She's telling him about my current status and then says I'm either going to completely crash tonight or start to turn around.  If I had been able to use my voice and lungs I would have said... "I CAN HEEEEEAR YOU..."

Long story short, I did start to turn around that night.  The hospital pumped so much fluid into my body to maintain my heart rate that I literally was carrying 24lbs of water retention.  Seriously...  I looked ridiculous, and was sooooo incredibly uncomfortable.  I finally got off the oxygen, and my blood pressure was getting back to the normal safe range. 

Finally after 4 days I got to go home!  The treating physician at the hospital offered to let me stay another night.. but um, no thank you.  It's impossible to rest in the hospital.

Another week and a half of recovery at home and I'm finally starting to feel human.  Still very tired, still don't have the full capacity of my lungs.  But my vital organs are all begin to function normally again. (yay!!)

This whole things was WEIRD.  Shocking weird.  I had just had a doctors appointment a month earlier and was healthy as ever.  I'm in good shape and have a pretty good immune system.  I rarely get sick, and usually recover quickly.  I saw my doctor again today, and he kept saying, "I know I shouldn't be laughing, because this was really serious, it's just so surprising..."  When he first got the notification from the hospital of my condition he had to double check the information. 

Anyway, I definitely do not ever want to relive the past few weeks. 

Back to worst case scenarios...  I can't help it.. as soon as I started to feel better I had to start researching everything that was wrong with me...  how sick was I really?...  could I have died?... what are the odds someone in my condition would get this?... If I hadn't gone to the hospital when I did what would have happened?... how much would my condition have deteriorated?

Just how lucky was I really??

I also have a runny tally of how many times I would have likely died if I had lived 100 years ago.  It's up to 5 now...  just so you know.

I remember all my worst case stats for all my serious illnesses or hospitalizations..

Am I alone here?  Do other people obsess about this stuff?  While I was still sick I texted a friend of mine with some fatality rates for my current illness. 

Her response, classic:  "Quit scaring yourself...  everything is fatal."

Hey, you just minimized my near death experience... aren't you impressed I pulled through alive?


I'm a freaking miracle of nature and science.

I'm a freaking something...




Lisa said...

So glad you are feeling better Camille - that was scary!

Café Café said...

Holy cow, I had no idea! I mean, I knew you were sick and I knew you were in the hospital, but yikes, that's so bizarre--the microorganism in the bloodstream thing!

Like you, I tend to anticipate the worst-case scenario in just about everything--more so I can have a Plan B for every situation, but what happens if you can't plan your plan B? However, I do like your friend's advice to quit scaring yourself. With all the things in the world that can go wrong, it's a wonder anything goes right.

Oh, and by the way, you're freaking awesome.

Annie Danielson said...

Oh my goodness! Cammy dear! Sooo glad you are on the mend! Be gentle on yourself, OK?

Ann said...

You may not get sick again without my express written permission.


Glad you're better.

Teresa said...

Pei pa koa is pretty decent cough medicine (from herbal as I remembered), great non alcoholic medicine, some western cough medicine are more effective, but this is non drowsy.

You can access info online @

The Crowley's said...

My mom had septic shock- she nearly died. It was from strep throat. That is how she lost her legs and fingers. Very scary- I am glad you are ok

The Crowley's said...

My mom had septic shock. She came very close to dying - was in the hospital for over a month and lost both her legs and some fingers. Very scary- I am so glad you are ok

Alison said...

I've missed you so much since you've been sick. Love your post, so you! I totally look everything up, but I think it's cos I'm fasinated with everything... maybe that's why I'm a nurse.

Love you long time just the way you are, worrying and all!!!

Kolleen said...


I am so sorry you went through all of that ....
and so happy you are on the mend and getting better every day.

i totally would have done the same thing as you and gotten home to research odds, etc... of what was happening!!!!

take care of YOU!
sending hugs and love

Lisa Cash said...

Oh my goodness! The first I heard was on your Rendi email to the BGC group. SCARY!!! And to have to be in the hospital for 4 days - that's almost worse than being sick!

I'm so glad you're on the mend!