There I was, catching my first glimpse of the outside world in nearly a week. The sight of the clear sky, wispy clouds, and calm ocean blue waters warmed my heart. I was finally relocated to a room with a window which thankfully ended up being my last day here at the hospital.
What happened to me was unexpected. It started with a slight pain on my lower right side. Initially, I thought I slept wrong but just a few days later, I woke up Friday morning in pain preventing me from normally rolling out of bed. I immediately made an appointment with my primary doctor however tests didn’t show major concern. I left with no concrete answers. Little did I know that my world would change the following the day.
My weekend was packed with chills, fever, and continued pain in my lower right area (primarily the back side). I ended up in the Emergency Room on Monday.
The hospital took me in pretty quickly trying to assess my condition. I found myself surrounded with various doctors and staff. The pain is now worsening and I was still experiencing a fever. It was an infection but what type? I was soon hooked up to an IV and getting the good pain medication. I was finally comfortable and they whisked me away to the testing and evaluation unit. My first hospital stay – OMG! Is this really happening?
I couldn’t walk, use the bathroom or get out of bed without pain and assistance. Each vein being tapped couldn’t handle the meds via intravenous (IV) for more than a day and a half. They put me on a heart monitor and placed an oxygen mask on me. My breathing became shallow, had very little appetite and I cried when the meds wore off. My immediate family was on the mainland. What the hell was happening? I was frustrated and frankly – traumatized.
The doctors debated during the first 24 hours – kidney infection, appendicitis and/or lung infection? They tested and re-tested. The final diagnosis: lung infection of the lower right lobe. Thankfully the treatment was working. Thursday, I was able to walk around the unit at a snail’s pace. My oxygen level and heart rate were normal again. Things were slowly being unhooked from my body. I was feeling better physically and mentally. Saturday, I was ecstatic to learn I could go home!
My parents flew out to help with my recovery at home. It doesn’t matter what age you are, being taken care of by your parents, especially by Mom, is SO comforting. My mom showed her love by cooking and feeding me home cooked meals daily along with snacks of course! For the first time, my refrigerator was at capacity!! My dad was always by my mom’s side making sure she had everything she needed. Having them here and spending quality time was priceless.
Being hospitalized gave me a new-found appreciation for doing simple things like going to the bathroom by myself. You may chuckle but I’m serious. It felt degrading to know that I couldn’t do simple tasks on my own. Believing that your independence was stripped is a horrible feeling. For me, it was demoralizing and frustrating. This contributed to my depression during my hospital stay. I cannot imagine those who are hospitalized or in a care home/ assisted living indefinitely. Having someone to talk to was important for my mental health. So I encourage you to please visit your loved ones! Your presence and conversations will seriously make a positive impact. Thankfully my boyfriend was there for me everyday, staying the night and distracting me with laughter and talk story sessions. My sister’s phone calls of encouragement, visits and texts from friends were very meaningful. Even trashy television shows like the Kardashians and Housewives of Orange County helped, making me realize that my situation wasn’t as bad, LOL.
I also hold a deeper appreciation for our doctors and nurses. They really took care of me and helped me navigate through this challenging journey. I’m forever grateful.
It’s been a month since my hospital stay and thankfully I feel fully recovered. I’ll never know exactly how I got a lung infection. There are various ways. What I learned from this experience is how serious this medical condition can be, the importance of a support system, and how truly selfless and unconditional parental love is.