This year started off with a bang. I spent New Year's Eve at a cousin's wedding reception in Detroit Lakes. It was entertaining. I put on a good performance. I overindulged. It was a blast. Stuff and things happened… I may share couple of those stories, I may not…
Anyway, I knew this was going to be my last hurrah for a while because I was getting my new seat cushion and back rest for my wheelchair January 5. Getting these new components added to my chair meant it was going to take some time for my body to get used to them. The process of getting everything fitted took about three hours. I had to get in and out of the chair about five times. It was an exhausting day. But it was going to be well worth it because the new supports would be way more comfortable and way more forgiving on my body.
It takes a while for a body to get used to new supports and components. Skin breakdowns are a very real possibility if you push it too fast. It takes a while to get your, in the chair stamina/endurance up. For the first week after getting these new attachments I could only be in the chair for a couple hours a day and not continuous days. The second week I could be three hours a day. The fourth week was 3 1/2 hours. The fifth week could be four hours a day. I knew I wanted this to go well so I followed their instructions to a T. I did not want to push it and go backwards. Everything went well and I did not have any skin related issues or breakdowns. I was pretty excited about the new components on my chair.
So February 4 I decided to get the town and do a little celebrating Clint style. I met some friends up at the Spare Time and had my first Morgan 7 in over a month. It did not suck. About midway through the cocktail I started feeling poorly. But I did not blame the alcohol. I knew better. I sucked down the rest of the glass and started feeling worse. So I decided to have a glass of water. It didn't help. I knew something wasn't right. So I had my buddy bring me home. I believe I was home before 11 PM. Sad. I decided to check my temperature and found out it was 103°. No wonder why I didn't feel good. I knew it wasn't the alcohol. So I pounded some aspirin and I actually felt pretty good for the next day and a half. Stayed home for the Super Bowl and felt good. I even canceled my clinic appointment I made for Monday because I felt normal. Tuesday was a different story.
I got in the chair around noon on February 7 and started to feel poorly again. Checked my temperature and it was back up to 103°. I was also experiencing autonomic dysreflexia (AD). I decided to go to the emergency room in Lisbon to find out what was going on. I figured it was a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). I get UTI's a lot because I produce kidney and bladder stones faster than a rabbit on a first date. After a quick initial test it was determined there was an infection but it wasn't a UTI. So they decided to keep me overnight. The next day they figured out that I had a blood infection. So I stayed over another night and they pumped me full of antibiotics. Thursday the doctor came into my room in the morning and told me they wanted to ship me to Fargo because they have an ICU. I guess the nurses in Lisbon were freaking out just in case I went septic. I guess I don't blame them. I know most of them and they were quite concerned. I didn't realize how bad it was until later. I only ever heard of septic shock on TV shows. So I figured it must suck.
So that day, Thursday I got an ambulance ride to Fargo. It's not as fun as it sounds. I got there just in time for nurse shift change so that was a cluster. I had three nurses within two hours. In that time I also had a doctor check me out and go through my history. He was neat. Can't remember his name.
Friday morning I had a passel of doctors in and out of my room poking and prodding me. They were trying to determine blood infection originated from. They found the source and surgery was scheduled for Saturday. In the meantime they were pumping me full of some powerful antibiotics. The surgery happened around 11 on Saturday morning. They cleaned out the infected site and told me I could probably leave in a couple days. It turned out to be three days because I got home on Wednesday, February 15.
Since that time I have been trying to heal the infected site by being on complete bed rest. The only time I have been in the chair is when I was going to a doctor's appointment. While on bed rest, I have had physical and occupational therapy for couple weeks after I got home. Also since I got home I have had home health two or three times a week, every week. That still continues. I also continued IV antibiotics for six weeks when I got home, which I had three times a day.
In the beginning of this process I didn't think it was going to take that long but shit happens. I just keep reminding myself that hopefully when this is all over I will be better off and better than ever. There was also just glad I was at home and not in the hospital during this process.
This is the longest I have ever had to be on house arrest. It was a total of 92 days on bed rest. I have had two other times when I had to lay down to heal up. In 2007 I had to lie down for three months in the hospital to heal up my back after surgery. That hospital stay sucked except for the handful of nurses who made the stay tolerable. The other time took place during the summer of 99. That time I also had to lie down for three months to heal a pressure sore on my leg. There was a lot of PlayStation, Skoal and Mountain Dew consumed that summer. Good times.
Last week I was told I could get out of bed but very selectively. Just because I am off of complete bed rest doesn't mean I can do whatever I want. It is going to take quite a while to get my "in chair time" stamina back to the usual six hours a day. As of now I am limited to 2 hours a day in the chair. Plus I need to tilt back every hour for at least five minutes. Plus, I cannot get up on back-to-back days. Every couple weeks I can increase my time being up in the chair as long as there are no setbacks. So you can see that this process is going to take a while for me to get back in my old form. The new backrest and seat cushion should help eliminate some of these breakdowns in the future. I am hoping by hunting season I will be able to sit whenever I want. Priorities.
Again, I do not want any sympathy. That is not the reason why I wrote this. I wrote this just to show what it takes to be a quad and to live life. Everybody has problems, able-bodied or not. It just depends on your perception and attitude of life. Ulcers are just a part of life for a quad. Especially if you are out and about as much as I am. But that's the price we pay for trying to be normal.
2017 Timeline of Stuff and Things:
February 4 - started feeling like crap
February 7 - went to Lisbon emergency room
February 9 - transferred to Fargo Sanford
February 11 - surgery to clean infection
February 15 - discharge, went home
March 10 - got wound VAC
March 24 - removed PICC line, no more IVs
April 20 - still healing well, hurry up and wait
May 4 - removed wound VAC
May 10 - can start getting up limited time. Two hours max.