September 20, 2012
Trust is the Key to Understanding Life
Picture this: You are a first year senior in college. In order to graduate, you must teach overseas. In order to teach overseas, you must receive vaccinations. You receive three vaccines and your life changes forever.
Anxious about my trip to Cambodia and nervous about the three vaccines; I patiently wait for the nurse to call me back into an exam room. Sitting in the waiting room, I reflect on all that is to come. I will be getting vaccines so that I can teach for a month in Cambodia. When I come back I will be able to student teach and then graduate. Yes, I am so looking forward to ...view middle of the document...
Trying to ignore the excruciating pain, I take a hot shower and crawl into bed. I had always been very healthy and never got sick. I had a high pain tolerance as well. I knew something must be wrong.
Stumbling down the stairs, I collapse in a lazy boy. I curled up in a blanket and cried myself to sleep. An hour later the door opens and my dad walks in. He walks over and feels my head. He fixes me a drink and takes my temperature. 104.6° F! My dad picks up the phone and calls my mother. Five minutes later, my mother burst through the door and calls the doctor.
The doctor prescribes Prednisone (a synthetic steroid hormone produced from cortisone) and Vicodin (Tylenol). I take the Prednisone for a week and nothing changes. I do not take the Vicodin because I am allergic to Tylenol.
Since my fever still has not broken, I return to the doctor. Upon further examination, my doctor discovered a circular bruise on my upper forearm. The doctor said that he was having me admitted in to the hospital because of the swelling, bruise and high fever.
After grabbing a quick dinner, my mom and I head to the Ephrata Hospital. Once inside, I am placed in a wheel chair and wheeled into a room on the third floor of the ICU. Seven hours after arriving, I complete the intake process and receive three IVs in my right arm. Since I have pain in my arm when it is moved, I was told not to use it.
As a result of the bruise on my upper left arm, a hematologist was consulted. Differential diagnosis included traumatic injury with rapidly spreading hematoma, vasculitis, bleeding disorder, or infection. Vancomycin and Ceftriaxone were started in addition to two other broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Unable to move my arms, I am forced to rely completely on others for everything. Day after day it is the same routine. The nurses and doctors would tell my parents and me that everything was normal. My blood pressure was 120/80, respirations were 18 breaths per minute, and pulse was 69.
I had blood drawn, CAT-SCANS done, Ultrasounds and MRIs done. Four days of tests and different answers. No one is on the same page. The doctor says that I may need surgery. The Infectious Disease people say that I am a medical mystery. The surgeon says I can go home.
Thursday, March 3, 2011, the doctor comes in and tells me I will be discharged in the morning since nothing has developed in my blood cultures. I am relieved, but still in pain. A nurse gives me a hot wrap to place around my arm to ease the pain. Later that night, I did develop some nausea and vomiting though.
Friday, March 4, 2011, I am horrified at what I see. Removing the hot wrap, I see a swollen, maroon colored extremity where my arm once was. Hearing me scream, a nurse comes running in and calls for a doctor. The doctor comes in and just stares as if in disbelief. He admits that he has never seen anything like this before in his life. I am taken down for another ultrasound.
In the thirty minutes, it took for the...