Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up. I heard this a few times during my stay in the hospital. The other thing I also heard was, you poor man, I am amazed by how strong you stayed, I admire your strength/perseverance.
Don’t give up. What else can you do when you are in the hospital? Nothing. You are there for a reason. Maybe the test or procedure they have planned for you doesn’t sound that nice. But I always kept in the back of my mind, that it is for the best.
To be honest, there were a few times that I said, I only will do it under full anesthesia, or else I will not agree with it. This was only because I knew from previous experience how things would go.
This is, for me, a very unpleasant procedure. They have a tube with a camera/scanner attached to it, which will go down your throat and esophageal. You would get a spray in your throat so it should be easier to go down with the tube. Maybe ten years ago, I had the same procedure. It was very hard and difficult for me. They kept on saying, try to relax. That is easier said than done, with a tube down your throat.
This time they wanted to do the same procedure again. It was to have a look from the back of the heart. Normally with a regular ultrasound, they only can look at the front of the heart. But they really wanted to have a look from the back.
As you can imagine, I was not looking forward to this. I think that it was my social worker who told me, to ask them to do it under full anesthesia. This way you will not notice anything and they can do what they want. I was glad that I asked for it. I did not feel anything from it.
I also could refuse and give up. But I didn’t.
Placing a Drain
Because there was a lot of liquid behind my lung, they wanted to remove it. To do this, they had to place a drain.
The first drain that was placed, was a temporary one. This drain only stayed in for a few minutes. But in that time they were able to drain 1.7L of liquid. It was not really pleasant and painless, but it was needed. The nurses felt sorry for me and that I had to endure this.
A few days after that, they saw that there was still liquid behind the lung and I was advised to also remove this. Because in the liquid there also could be some bacteria and that also could be the cause of all the coughing I did. For this, they would have to place a normal drain. This would stay for maybe two to three days. And this way they also could drain maybe more and better. They would place the drain under my armpit.
Not really a nice place, but this was the only place that would make it able to reach the liquid.
To place that drain, they had to make a cut in the skin and push a tube in.
For the cut, they gave me local anesthesia. This would only work for the skin. Everything further down, they could not give anything for it. The pain I had during this whole procedure was incredible. I screamed a lot. I could not stand for it anymore.
Once the tube was in, I thought that that was it. But the drain was not draining much or any liquid. They discovered that during placing the drain, they hit or scratched the lung which caused a collapsed lung. And they also found out that later they had to take out the tube a little, so it could maybe drain the liquid better/more.
During taking the tube back a little, he suddenly pulled it out completely. Now I had to go back again and they had to try to place the tube again. Again I had to go through that incredible pain. I even asked them if they could put me under full anesthesia. Then at least they could do what they had to do and I would not feel anything.
Finally, they called for another doctor to help. I also asked him for full anesthesia because of the pain. He still tried it one time but gave up and asked to place me in an operating room and give me full anesthesia.
The Second Attempt
The placing of that drain for the second time, went okay, so far. After an x-ray, they saw that there also was some liquid higher up. They decided to place one more drain, a bit higher, from the front. Again I asked for full anesthesia. Within a few seconds, I was out and they placed one more drain.
Once back in my room, the nurses again felt sorry for me. But also mentioned that I was strong and they admire my energy to go through this all.
The removal of both drains was also a whole experience. Not really pleasant but it was not possible to do this under anesthesia. Several nurses were there to help the doctor to remove the tubes. It was of great help to me. Just the moral support. The nurses did really everything to make it as comfortable as possible.
After the removal of each tube, they also had to place stitches to close the wounds. For some reason, I did not feel the needle they used to place the stitches.
The removal of those stitches a few days later, is a whole other story. I was hoping that they would dissolve by themselves, but they did not. They had to be removed. A single one was really attached to the skin and it took some time and effort for the nurse to remove it. Still very painful but they did their best. All the time they felt so sorry for me. One more struggle to go through.
Disappointment After Disappointment
During my stay in the hospital, so many different things were going on. At first when you hear that you need to stay. Then you hear that you need to stay for at least 6 weeks, because of the antibiotics. Then you hear that your pacemaker is not working the way it should.
Later they found out that there is liquid behind the lung that needs to be removed. The doubt about if there is bacteria growth on the pacemaker leads and/or heart valve. After several tests, they are not sure and suddenly things are okay anyway.
Hearing that you have bacteria and you need to go in isolation. And that after the six weeks of 24/7 antibiotics I.V. that you still need to take antibiotic tablets, for at least 4-6 weeks.
So many disappointments, but at one point it will get to you. So also to me. I had a mental breakdown. Just suddenly during dinner. No idea why or how. It just happened. Luckily there was a nurse that saw me and took the time to talk to me. She advised talking to a social worker. If I wanted. I did. This helped me through the things that were going on. Sometimes getting an opinion from a different person can help you to process things.
One other thing that helped me, was prayer. This can sound strange to some people, but in my case, it helped me a lot. Just sharing my thoughts, and my feelings and praying for help and guidance helped me.
Giving up is easy. Hanging in there is hard. A lot of people choose the easy way.
For me, every time I thought, what if I give up? What will happen then? I thought that things then only could get worse.
When people told me, you are strong, you have already been through a lot but you just keep on going. Also, people who had read my FaceBook posts kept on saying, hold on, you can do it. I admire your strength. I admire your perseverance.
It is nice to hear those words. In the back of my mind, I just sometimes thought, why not. Why should I give up? In my mind, it was normal to just keep going. It almost felt normal to me. Is or was that strange?
During or before some of the tests or procedures I had to go through, I always prayed. Sometimes long, sometimes short. Always asking for help, strength, and guidance for me, but also guidance for the specialist. On several occasions, it gave me peace. It relaxed me. It sounds strange, but it worked for me.
To be honest, not everything that I prayed for was answered. Some will be disappointed. But you also could look at it in a different way. God has a different and maybe bigger plan for me. Or maybe this is not the time for it yet. This can be difficult to accept.
So many times I thought and prayed, why this is happening to me? What is God’s plan for me? Why did He let me go through this? To be honest, again, I have no idea. Maybe His plan for me will be clear later, or maybe not at all. I have peace with it and think that it all will be clear later.
I am home now for almost two months, but things are not all over yet.
I am still coughing. It is less than before. Sometimes I need to cough while I am talking. Sometimes it is because my throat is itchy.
I can be tired quickly. I cannot walk and talk at the same time. Going up a slight slope and I am out of breath. The same for walking up the stairs. The cardiologist thinks it is because of the not good working pacemaker. Right now I am waiting for a call from the hospital to schedule an appointment to change the pacemaker. Hopefully, after that, things will get better. Until that time, I will take things easy. Keep away from crowds or people with colds. Just keeping away from any way to get infected.
At the end of April, I also will have an x-ray and an appointment with the lung specialist. Hopefully, those also will be okay.
As I had mentioned in a previous post, there is also the thought in the back of my mind, the fear of catching a new bacteria again. It happened in 2012 and it happened again in 2022/2023. It could happen again. How? No idea. For now, it is a fear that I have with me and that can only be healed with time.
Of course, prayer can also help me to calm my thoughts and fears a little.
Maybe a small final piece of advice? Don’t give up. Giving up is easy. Pushing forward can be hard/difficult. But keep in mind, that it is for the best. I did it. And so can you.
If you want, I can and will pray for you to give you strength and the courage to go through what every your going through. Just leave a comment, or if it is personal, just contact me through the “contact” at the top menu bar.
As always, please take care and be safe. God Bless.