“Sometimes I still feel the darkness creeping in. I’m not immune to the icy fingers of depression. Though I have myriad reasons to bask in the sunlight of a fortunate life, I do find myself grappling with demons on occasion. They try to drag me into the shadows, remind me of loneliness, draw my attention to the worst of myself. And somehow I need them. Need to succumb to this melancholy. So familiar as to be almost a comfort, this nightmare wraps itself around me like a damp blanket. Who among us hasn’t felt such infinite sadness?
Tomorrow holds no promise, and yesterday brings about a haunting nostalgia that reminds me of the things I only now appreciate. What, therefore, do I do with today? It’s wasted. My hands and feet are tied down by the weight of depression. I can barely move, and I wouldn’t want to anyway.”
I did get over this depression early in March, thankfully, but wound up feeling physically ill during that same time. I grew sick with stomach cramps; deep, stabbing cramps. Since it came on gradually, then suddenly, I dismissed it largely a as minor incident until it grew worse. By the time I called the UW Madison Hospital, and reported my symptoms (including a fever) they told me to go to the local emergency department. I was in great pain in multiple sites of my body, but all the blood tests, etc. came back normal. That was good news, but it left us with no answers. Long story short: I was flown via plane to Madison.
While at the UW Madison Hospital, things grew worse and I was in excruciating pain. The doctors ruled out kidney stones and gall stones and tweaked some medications. I was told that my kidneys were failing so I had to stop taking the meds that helped me keep a good fluid balance. Without that medication, I gained 41 pounds total, and I found it incredibly hard to move at all. My legs and ankles barely bent enough to walk. At the same time, my bowels slowed to a crawl so my belly inflated painfully and only added to my misery. In a separate piece of Hell, I discovered that the ache in the right side of my face and neck was a developing ear infection. It would turn out that I had a ruptured ear drum and pseudomonas causing the problem. So when I say I was miserable, please know how true this was.
Now the problems have decreased one by one, except for the kidney failure. Because of all the transplant medications, my kidneys have been beaten up and are now angry. I have to do kidney dialysis a few times a week; this entails me sitting in a chair for 2-3 hours at a time while a machine cycles my blood to clean it and remove excess fluid. I’ll have to do this for the foreseeable future.
Having been in the hospital for over two months this time, I was nervous to go home. I’m still quite weak and need help performing simple tasks, but being home will help make it worthwhile. I’m just trying to stay positive and realize that through this all, my beautiful new lungs are working great. I’m reminded daily how blessed I am; I have a wonderful angel named Connie watching over me.