Two months ago, I was preparing to leave for the WRAP Around The Wold Conference and Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator’s Refresher in Washington, DC…
It’s been an interesting few months, since then.
The first day of the conference, I was able to keep up with the breakneck pace of the long day; and the two hour commute each way. The second day, I was starting to feel sluggish, but forced myself through. A few people noticed and made sure that I was ok. The third day, I was dragging more and more. When I got back, the insurance company suggested that I go to the Emergency Room.
I was so determined to go to the Refresher the next morning, that I packed my binder, my clothes for the next morning, and a notebook to take notes for the next day’s project. Shortly after I was taken back to the ER, my hopes of being able to go to the Refresher the next day started to look bleek.
I had a cellulitis (deep tissue skin infection) covering a majority of the trapezius muscles on my right side from my spine to the right shoulder blade. The imaging provided a glimmer of hope again, although the cellulitis went deep (all the way to the muscle wall), the wall had kept the cellulitis contained and the blood counts were normal. Unfortunately other numbers weren’t looking in my favor and I was eventually admitted to the hospital.
A little bit of a biology lesson. Infections can cause an increase in adrenaline and cortisol which supress insulin, resulting in an increase sugar levels; this is designed to provide your body the energy that it needs to fight the infection. The increase in sugar levels can start within hours of the beginning of the infection. The problem is that the increase in sugar levels also can feed the infection and you can rapidly get into a situation where both the sugar levels and infection are feeding each other into a biological frenzy. They have a significant mutually symbiotic relationship; unfortunately the host isn’t one of the parties of the symbiotic relationship.
When I was admitted to the hospital, my sugar levels were 469; and I was approaching what is known as diabetic ketoacidosis; which is a toxic build up of acids in the blood stream caused by the hormonal changes associated with the higher blood glucose levels.
After a total of 9 days in the hospital, I was discharged on antibiotics, when that prescription ran out, I was hoping to feel better, but slowly over the next week I was feeling sick again. Unfortunately, though, the symptoms really didn’t match the original cellulitis; and the surgeon had just saw the site and there was no infection, there…
I ended up back in the ER for what turned out to be a kidney infection, which had begun to become septic. The kidney infection was more than likely there all along, just suppressed because of the antibiotics that were prescribed for the cellulitis. I was in the hospital another 5 days for this latest round.
It has been frustrating at times, I have become so used to having 100% of my energy available for me. There are times that my energy level doesn’t want to hold up, and times where my sugar levels drop unexpectedly, but as of today, the cellulitis incision has mostly healed so I can be discharged from the home nursing care. I probably have two more months of appointments with the surgeon to ensure that everything stays healed properly, and about 6 weeks before I can hopefully be transitioned off of insulin.
A few months ago, I wrote:
“During therapy, I was asked, “If I gave you a magic wand and you could recreate your life in any way you wanted, what would it look like?” To me, recovery means that my answer to that question would be, “I wouldn’t change a thing” – because each of those experiences, traumatic as they were, made me who I am today. They made me stronger and gave me skills that I would have never thought I would have.”
That holds just as true of the experiences of the last two months, as it does for everything else.
I experienced the boundless love and warmth of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan® community, in a way that I never imagined. I have used the time to begin working on a physical health Wellness Recovery Action Plan, and am looking forward to completing this journey, coming out healthier than before.