I almost died, and it’s a really funny story…(Part 1)

I kid you not, the story of how I almost died is hilarious, ask anyone who’s heard it, they will tell you how they were brought to tears (from laughing so hard). Be warned, the story is pretty graphic, so if you have a weak stomach, do yourself a favor and stop reading now.

First, let’s be clear that this is not entirely related to MS; however, it started with what I thought was a relapse and ended up with an ambulance ride to the hospital. It began with MS related symptoms such as pain, nausea, sight problems, dizziness, and fatigue, I’m talking about mind-numbing, soul-sucking, depression-inducing fatigue, otherwise known as MS fatigue. In early October, I had an episode of bronchitis that required a healthy dose of steroids. For those who don’t know, steroids can cause an increase in blood sugar, so a month later, when couldn’t get in to see my neurologist, my primary care physician (PCP) ran a full blood panel and discovered that my A1c was a staggering 12.7, you can read more about A1c here, but the short version is that this number reflects your average blood glucose (BG) levels over the past 90 days and a normal reading is typically below 5.5. So, based on this and my previous history of high BG readings, my PCP diagnosed me with Type 2 Diabetes and prescribed two medications (one shot, one pill) to help bring down my BG levels quickly and safely. He gathered up some samples so I wouldn’t have to stop at the pharmacy and I was directed to start one med first, then a few days later, incrementally introduce the second. Before we go any further, I absolutely do not blame my PCP for the following events, he was making an educated and highly informed decision, based on my complete and complex medical history.

Five days in, I wasn’t feeling very well. I went back to my PCP who concluded that I was likely having a reaction to the two medications being combined, so he advised that I drop one of them for a few days until my body adjusted. I did just that, but I got worse, much, much worse. I slept about 20 hours a day, my cognitive function was practically non-existent, and I began vomiting. It was a Wednesday night in mid-November, my husband was at his evening class, my 20 year-old was home, but had little sympathy for me and honestly, I don’t blame her. I’m always feeling like shit and I’m a bit of a baby, so I’m sure this episode wasn’t outside of my typical behavior in her eyes. I knew something was wrong though, graphically speaking, I could tell by the way I felt after throwing up. When you’ve got the flu, you tend to feel a little better after you puke, I felt worse and my thoughts became harder to formulate. I finally got off the couch and went to bed.

I woke up at some point during the night and got sick again, I made it to the bathroom and after throwing up for what felt like the 300th time, I downed more Pepto and whimpered back to bed. I must’ve woken Chris because he reached over and upon feeling my incredibly clammy arm, he asked if I thought I might have the flu. I told him how my night had been and when he asked if I wanted him to stay home with me the next day, I quickly accepted. My husband is a deeply loving and caring man who would move mountains for me as I explained in this post, but he’s not as sympathetic as I would like him to be at times. Because of this, anytime he’s willing to stay home and take care of me, I’m going to take him up on it.

The next morning, we woke up and I was instantly sick. I was laying in bed trying not to think about it, but I waited too long and this is when very bad things happened. I literally painted a path from the bedroom, on through the living room and dining room, ending in the bathroom where I made the biggest mess of all. It was as horrifying as you would imagine. Chris immediately jumped into action, he got the mop and bucket and was asking me where the Pine-sol was (if you know me, this in itself is funny as I am not the best housekeeper) which, of course, we didn’t have any (to my defense, we did have Murphy’s Oil Soap, which isn’t really a viable option in this scenario) so he grabbed a bottle of bleach and began moping up my path of destruction, all while trying to keep the dog from walking through it.

I had shed most of my clothes and made my way back to bed, sweating and panting like I had just run a marathon. Chris called his office and said that he wouldn’t be in for the rest of the week, I think he knew something was horribly wrong. I had a tumbler of ice water on my nightstand which, due to my severe dehydration, was the best tasting water I ever had. After cleaning up, Chris sat down with a banana muffin and just as he started eating, I came barreling out of the bedroom on my way back to the bathroom, he quickly shouted “don’t make another mess in there” I quipped back “I WON’T” and in my mind, because I placed a towel on the floor, I hadn’t made a mess.

Now picture me, stumbling out of the bathroom, half-naked and kicking off the rest of my clothes IN THE DINING ROOM and defiantly snipping at Chris that I had not made a mess in the bathroom while bee-lining back to my water bottle in the bedroom. Chris follows me and says “we’re going to the hospital, get dressed and for the love of god, STOP FUCKING DRINKING WATER!”. But I couldn’t stop, the inside of my mouth felt like shag carpet, I have never been that dehydrated and I don’t care to experience that feeling again. I’m now positive that my brain function was rapidly declining and the survival instinct in my body started taking over. Then, Chris goes into the bathroom to discover the mess I made and storms back out to find me sitting in my living room chair, completely naked and drinking more water! He (justifiably) rips the water bottle out of my hand and says “dammit Tiffany, you’re acting like a toddler!“, he then directed me to get dressed while he started the truck (November in Michigan is bitterly cold). He placed several towels on the passenger seat, grabbed a bucket from under the kitchen sink and made me promise to use it if I felt sick during the ride to the Emergency Room. This may sound odd, because of course, any right-minded person would barf into the bucket they are holding, but logic and reason were clearly not part of the equation at this point. I wasn’t dressed yet, so he gathered clothes for me, helped me get dressed and into the truck to begin the next leg of our journey.

I feel like this is a good place to stop Part 1, but don’t worry, Part 2 will be posted by Sunday, it’s just better to tell this story in two parts since I’ve already over-shot the recommended word count for a blog entry.

Thank you for reading and as always, please feel free to comment or contact me with any suggestions or questions you have about this post. ~Tiffany

Resources used in this post: National MS Society ; DiaTribe Online Magazine


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