A look to the road ahead
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
2022 is only days away... keeping that in mind, take a seat on this bench with me. Let's enjoy the breeze through our hair while listening to the bird's chirp in the distance, and enjoying the moment of relaxation.
Let's take this moment to reflect on what it is that we want in the year to come.
I for one am claiming 2022 as a year of transformation.
I have been talking to a few of my friends about what 2022 will bring. One of my friends has told me that I need to decide on what it is that I want for myself, and claim it! And friends... that is what I am telling you to do as well! What is it that you have been wanting or needing for a while now? What is it that you are going to decide you deserve for yourself?
For me, 2021 was a year of struggle health-wise. I was in the hospital twice.
The first time was in early March, and I was told by doctors that if I had waited 24-48 hours longer to come into the ER, I would have died from Septicemia. I was in the hospital for 5 days. And it was horrible. Because of COVID-19, I wasn't allowed visitors, and because I had sepsis because of an infected case of shingles... I was in a negative air pressure isolation room. This is a specialized room where the air is sucked out of the room, cleaned, and then repiped into the room. I felt like I might as well of had leprosy and felt very alone. Because of other health issues, it took me almost 10 weeks to physically heal from this.
It has taken me longer to heal mentally, as I also had a really bad PTSD experience while I was at the hospital. Let me explain.
You should know that I am a hard stick when attempting to draw blood, and even worse when I have IV lines placed. The longest I am able to keep an IV line is - has been a day and a half. While I was there - I was getting 3 antibiotics at least 3 times a day, along with saline. So - I had something being infused constantly. So, my IV lines were being overworked. Add my veins are weak, thin, and like to roll to the mix... and it creates frustration for any nursing staff.
During my 5 days hospital vacation (insert sarcasm here), I went through a total of 6 successful IV line placements, and a total of 9 attempts to place them. After losing the third line, they finally got smart and started having the charge RN use an ultrasound machine to place the next IV line.
But, when it was time to place the 6th line... it got real. I had 2 separate charge RNs unsuccessfully place a line with the ultrasound machine. And it was the second charge RN that I heard say, "We are going to have to call Dracula. She'll be the only one that has even a chance to get this line in now."
I AM NOT KIDDING!!! That is exactly what she said.
She then looked at me and told me that she is just kidding... that her name really wasn't Dracula. She explained that it was something that they all called her because she always works the graveyard shift and that she is the only one that is 100% at getting lines placed successfully. But, I already had visions like the above running through my head. She then pointed out that this person that they called Dracula wouldn't be on shift for another 3 hours, and to go ahead on getting some rest - as it will be a while before she comes to see me.
So eventually, I get the images out of my head, and I fall asleep. Keeping in mind that it was nearly impossible to get any good sleep at the hospital with IVs running 24 hours a day for the previous 4 days, and 3 nights... I was exhausted. So now that I didn't have people coming in and out of my room changing out IV bags, or poking and prodding me, I was able to fall asleep and was in the deepest sleep I had been in for a long time.
I was suddenly awakened with a very loud banging sound, her flipping on all of the lights in the room, and her raming the ultrasound machine into the side of my bed nearly missing my arm that was slung over the side. I was disorientated, as again - I was in the deepest sleep I have been in for a long time. She grabs my arm, and pins it down while pouring the gel on my arm that is used for ultrasound, and then rams the ultrasound wand onto my arm that she still has pinned to the side of my bed. All while I am still attempting to figure out what was happening.
As a reflex, I attempt to pull my arm back. At which point she pulls my arm back and pins it again, and starts yelling at me to keep still. This is when I finally figure out who she is and what she is doing.
At this point, she jabs the needle into my arm. I yell out, and she tells me to be quiet and that it doesn't hurt that bad. She is now swearing under her breath and continues to manipulate the needle in my arm refusing to admit that this placement was not successful. I tell her that she is hurting me and to stop. She tells me to be quiet again and continues. I start sobbing, at which point she says, "Aha! Told you that I had it!" She starts to connect the IV line and tells me to shush - because it wasn't that bad. I am now cradling my arm, sobbing so hard that I can't speak.
I want to yell out that my arm hurts, that she is scaring me and that I now feel violated... or even just "Help!". I can't get my voice to cooperate to say anything.
She packs up and is heading out of my room, as my night RN is coming in. She is telling him that she was successful and that my IV line is reconnected. He glances at me, sees that I am crying, and looks at her quizically. She whispers to him (loud enough that I can hear) that I had overreacted, and to give me a few minutes to calm down.
He never came back to check in on me. Because my PTSD was now in full swing, and I was now having an anxiety attack - it never occurred to me to push the button for the nurse. I was holding onto the belief that he would return to check on me because he had seen that I was upset.
I had eventually fallen back to sleep out of exhaustion from sobbing. And was woken up by my doctor the following morning. She came to tell me that I was finally going home. I burst into tears and started sobbing again. This surprised her, and she asked if I was ok.
For the first time in my life... I spoke up. I told her in detail - all the above. She became furious, and she did something about it. She was an amazing doctor and took extra care of me for the next couple of hours. She gently had my IV line removed. Gave me a sedative, and let me sleep for a few more hours before calling my husband to come to get me. She had a PTSD nurse come and talk to me, and care for me while getting ready to go home.
But more importantly - she came back before I left, and filled me in on what would be done about Dracula. My experience was not something that was new for them to hear. But, it would be the last. I hated that she ended up getting fired. But, I am proud that I spoke up about getting hurt, and I am happy that justice had been served.
The good news about this experience is that it helped me see that speaking up can be a good thing. Telling others what I need - is also a good thing.
This experience helped me to change my therapy and has helped me to go deeper in my therapy sessions, and in my learning about myself and the world around me. It also helped me to realize that I have let myself go physically more than I should have.
However, even though I may have made this realization - I didn't act on it right then like I should have. One day I will tell you more about my next hospitalization this past year. But know, that this experience too didn't motivate me to start taking care of myself yet either.
It took me turning 50 years old and realizing that I am at my heaviest weight, and most unhealthy body ever. That's right... I am now 50 years old as of a few short days ago. It was the realization that half of (if not more than half of) my life is now over, and that I have not truly lived the past 32 years of it. I'm done with not truly living life.
So now, with 2022 at our doorstep. I have decided to start truly living life. This means that I am going to need to start moving my body, and eating right, and getting this extra 100 lbs off, and start being present in my and my kids' lives.
I am not waiting until Jan 1st, 2022 to make these changes. I started as of the 28th of December to restart my meal plan. I hope to be able to start moving my body and getting exercise soon as well. Wish me luck! But mostly, I am asking who is with me?!? I want to be held accountable - but I also want to build a community that is holding each other accountable. So again... who is with me?
What is it that you are claiming in 2022?