Commentary for the Weeks of 07/25/2022 – 08/07/2022
I was supposed to go to North Dakota. Instead, I ended up in the hospital. Long story – scroll down to read all about it.
Episode 20 is live. For the first time, Jordan fished more than me, so he discussed his travels over the past couple of weeks. I tell my story of how I ended up going to a couple ERs over four days before finally getting admitted to the VA. Crazy sickness – weird story. Figuring out ways to maintain a positive mindset and keeping things simple weave there way though the conversation as well.
Tap the link below to listen.
So…I just went through a traumatic experience. I’ve been racking my brain about how to best present this in a way that will make sense to everyone. I guess I need to start with a little bit of background.
I rarely get sick. I exercise often, sleep 7+ hours nightly, eat healthy, and spend much of my consciousness outdoors – why would I get sick? Still, every once in a while, like every 3 years or so, I get sick, and the same thing occurs every time:
- I get rigors – here’s the definition from the NIH website – “Severe chills with violent shivering. A rigor is an episode of shaking or exaggerated shivering which can occur with a high fever.”
- Let me personalize that for the reader – it’s not a chill. I’m sure everyone here has had a fever and when you do you get a little shaky. That’s not a rigor. I start shaking violently – full body, debilitating shaking that I can’t control with shooting headaches throughout. Sometimes this lasts only a few minutes. Sometimes it lasts close to an hour.
- I body temperature shoots up to and remains between 104 and 106 degrees
- I pour sweat – soaking though sheets, blankets, pillows, and clothing.
- Consider bullets 1-3 as a cycle. With the introduction of Motrin or Tylenol to prevent my brain from frying, this cycle will repeat every 4-6 hours for about 3 days and then I’ll be fine.
This mode of experiencing sickness started in the mid-2000s. I wasn’t in the habit of asking folks the details about what happens to them when they get sick so until a few days ago, I thought this was normal. From what I understand, it isn’t.
The Latest Bout with Something Trying to Take me Down
I think the easiest way to describe what just happened to me is to provide a play by play/daily diary for lack of a better term. Before I go there, I want to mention that I’ve thought long and hard about what the trigger was and have come up with nothing. The VA ran A LOT of tests on me – some are still pending – but the culprit remains elusive. Here’s the play-by-play:
27-Jul-2022 – evening – watching Stranger Things with Janice and Charlotte I started to feel rigors creep up. They eventually took over – it lasted all night – horrible. Temperatures spiked to 105.
28-Jul-2022 – no sleep the night prior. Struggled through front part of the day. Was getting close to our departure day for North Dakota and getting nervous the sickness would prevent the trip. Went to the ER at DeGraff Memorial Hospital. They got my fever down with some IV meds and rehydrated me with saline. Then they sent me home because they couldn’t find anything in my blood to fight directly. Essentially, the sentiment was that they could clearly see I was fucked up, but they thought I just had some random virus and needed to rest, take Motrin/Tylenol, and hydrate.
29-Jul-2022 – no sleep the night prior. All symptoms persisted with 0 abatement. Started to experience extreme pain in both legs. Cancelled trip to ND.
30-Jul-2022 – no sleep the night prior. Leg pain increased. Headaches increased. Went to ER at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. Same outcome as the visit to DeGraff.
31-Jul-2022 – no sleep the night prior. Leg pain increased to the point I couldn’t even stand, let alone walk. Headaches increased. Tylenol and Motrin stopped having an effect. Decided to go to VA in Buffalo, NY the following morning.
1-Aug-2022 – no sleep the night prior. COULD BARELY WALK – far too painful. It was an ordeal just getting into the car. When my wife pulled up to the VA to let me out so she could park, I was able to just barely get out of the car but was left wobbling there, unable to move, and in extreme pain. A nurse saw me, grabbed a wheelchair, and rolled me into the ER. They processed me right away – got me into a bed, got an IV going, administered morphine to dull the pain (it worked, thankfully), and began drawing blood for testing. They admitted me into the hospital for treatment later that afternoon and moved me upstairs into my own room for care and continued assessment/observation. That night was peak pain. Rigor and fever continued along with leg and head pain. Honestly, I thought death was a real possibility. Oh yeah, projectile vomiting began.
2-Aug-2022 – no sleep through that nightmarish scenario. Broke the fever though. Pain in head and legs began to diminish – still very much in pain but becoming tolerable. Crazy vomiting all day – couldn’t keep 3 sips of water down – could trigger vomiting just by sipping on water. Received various CT scans and blood tests. No trigger identified yet. Kidneys began to fail due to the generation/buildup of excessive waste in the bloodstream. Dialysis enters conversation as a possibility if kidney health doesn’t improve.
3-Aug-2022 – no sleep the night prior. Head and leg pain reduced. Able to use a walker to get back and forth to the restroom. No fever all day. Vomiting went away. Kidneys still in rough shape but according to the nephrologists, kidney function was no longer deteriorating.
4-Aug-2022 – finally got a couple hours of sleep – lots of sweating through linens but no fever and rest occurred. Could finally use my legs. Walking was a struggle because my muscles got crushed from all the rigor and horizonal time. Leg use improved exponentially throughout the day. Headaches gone. Kidney function improved.
5-Aug-2022 – slept 4 hours the night prior. Leg pain gone. Head pain gone. Although I was ravaged both mentally and physically, I was ready to go home. IV antibiotics came out. Kidney function improved more. Doctors opted for me to remain one more night for observation considering I was antibiotic free for the first time in days. Although my body was no longer in pain, my mind was in a really dark place. I lost a lot of muscle mass, looked frail, and felt weak. Rebuilding seemed almost impossible. Despair set in.
6-Aug-2022 – slept 6ish hours the night prior. All pain gone. Intense muscle cramping in the morning due to dehydration. Received IV saline and it fixed the problem. Released from hospital early afternoon. Went home, ate, took a 4-hour nap. Woke up, ate, made some calls. Went to bed. Slept a solid 8+.
I’m ravaged – mentally and physically. It’s the best word I can come up with. I’m weak and I lost about 7lbs or so of muscle. Still, I’m looking at the recovery as a challenge. It was a huge humbling…and a challenge/opportunity to build back stronger. I’m happy I made it out intact.
I owe my survival first and foremost to my wife, Janice. She stayed with me and suffered alongside me for a lot of this. Constantly there supporting me – she kept me alive – mind and body. Second huge thank you goes out to my nurse, Cyndi. She was a life saver too and went above and beyond to care for me and tend to my needs. Third huge thank you goes out to my friends who stayed in touch with me throughout this ordeal – you know who you are. You kept my head in it and the desire to beat it going.
Time to move forward. What a trip! Glad to be back.
Looking Forward to the Week of 08/08/2022 – 08/14/2022
Fishing Conditions Looking Forward
Other than Monday (tomorrow), the forecast for this upcoming week looks great. It’ll be breezy and unsettled tomorrow and still freakin’ hot – just not as hot as it has been lately. From Tuesday forward, the temperatures start to fall with a little help from a north breeze. In short, it’ll all fish and the later in the week we go, the more comfortable it’ll be.
I’ll be taking the week off – spending time reconnecting with the family, hitting the gym a little bit, and beginning the rebuilding process. I’m sure I’ll make it out on the water at least a couple of times – that forecast looks too hard to resist.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,
Tap any image below to swipe through the gallery – there are a few pics from the trips I did just prior to getting sick.