Back from the Precipice

I had a recent medical experience that reminded me of how fragile our lives are and how unexpectedly we can face our own mortality. In other words, if things had turned out slightly differently, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

In late October what I thought was the start of the flu turned out to be much more serious. Beginning with eight hours in the emergency room, I then spent five additional days in the hospital battling sepsis (blood infection) and acute kidney failure. My gall bladder had dropped a stone and was in a diseased state.

The details of the time in the hospital need not be detailed – except to say two things. I can only say how humbling it is to have a team of medical professionals working to save your life. The other is that being catheterized is an extremely unpleasant experience.

I was also humbled by the visits and thoughts of many people who were concerned about me. I had visitors I never thought would come by. My sister and my mother-in-law had prayer circles underway. I know many others were concerned and worried about me.

Through the week, I never felt really sick – except for when the catheter was put in and a very long second night in the hospital when I had delusions due to a combination of a drug and sepsis; that was a night of horror I want to forget.

But I got an understanding of how close this had been when my hospital doctor visited on the fourth day and said I was “back from precipice” and that it “had been a very near thing.” That was an eye opener and I finally realized how easily this could have gone the other way.

I’ve been out almost three weeks now and am slowly regaining strength. I am walking up to two miles, but I still feel weak at times. Sleep is the biggest problem; I still have difficulty getting a full night’s sleep. I have a percutaneous drain for bile; hopefully I will have outpatient surgery in early December to remove the gall bladder. These are issues, but I believe and hope they will soon be overcome and then just be memories.

It’s good to be alive.