Thursday, September 6, 2007, 1:33 AM
On November 9, 2006, eight days after my 39th birthday, I awoke in the morning with a fever of 105 f. Along with the fever, I had terrible lower back pain. Something wasn't right so I arranged to see my doctor that day. When I got there, my vital signs were taken and my doctor evaluated me. She informed me that she needed to send me to the hospital immediately and that an ambulance had been called. I was so sick that I don't remember anything after that. I had sepsis. I was going into septic shock. My kidneys shut down, then my lungs, my liver was failing. I slipped into a coma and was dying. Though I don't remember much, after being in a coma for over 2 weeks, my body began responding to the medications and I awoke. My kidneys were still failing so I had to begin kidney dialisys. Even worse, while I was in the coma, my blood pressure had been so low that it could only maintain my vital organs. Unknown to me at the time, I was going to lose my feet, ankles and possibly some fingers. I was still out of it for some time but aware enough to notice my feet turning black as well as most of my fingertips. As this progressed, I began feeling extreme pain in these areas. At that point my family informed me what was happening and that I would be seeing a vascular surgeon to discuss my options. My hands and fingers were all going to be fine. I have no feelilng in three fingers in my right hand but it works fine other than that. There was no salvaging my feet and ankles though. Long story short, the amputations occurred in December 2006 and I was discharged from the hospital in January 2007. I continued to receive home nursing care to dress my wounds and continuously monitor my vital signs. Good news-my kidneys were working well enough that I no longer needed dialisys. I had lost 45lbs though. I went from 165lbs to 120lbs. I lost a lot of muscle, much of which I would need to wear prostheses. I needed extreme physical therapy, which I 'm still going through even now.
Since the initial amputations in December of 2006, I have had 2 revision surgeries on my residual limbs. Both involved trimming of the fibula. The loss of muscle and recovery from surgery have really slowed down my progress with my prostheses. I've been off from work for 11 months. Fortunately, I still have my job and over 400 hours of vacation left so I can continue my recovery. My doctor thinks I can return to work in a month or so.
Prior to all this, my life was pretty normal. I worked 40-50 hours a week, I worked out 3 timea a week at the gym, I took my 2 dogs to the park every day (rain or shine), I spent quality time with family, I partied with my friends, I traveled frequently for pleasure.
Now, I'm dealing with all the mental aftermath. Anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, depression, etc. I am considering attending a local amputee support group but I'm not usually comfortable in those types of settings. I am receiving individual counseling and I'm taking anti-depressants. I just keep telling myself that I'm lucky to be alive. Life is just a bit more challenging now.
There is so much more to say but I'm tired now. I'm really glad I found lessthan4. Seems like some really great people are here.
Michael (or Mike)