A few weeks ago I awoke at 4 o'clock in the morning with a fever of 103 degrees. A bit extreme for most people, but for me...dangerous. I have two transplanted organs and an extremely compromised immune system. A fever of this magnitude requires a visit to the ER. My husband took me in about 6:30 where we discovered I had a raging infection. Antibiotics, rest, and a long series of medication and fluids can take care of it, but not this time. An infection turned to sepsis. Sepsis is where the infection goes into your blood stream and your entire body is basically one live bacterial circus. I got blisters on my face and hands, all of my organs were in such pain I couldn't move, but the pain was so extreme I had to move to keep it from taking over. I suffered from 'riggers' (maybe the wrong word) which is such extreme shaking from the fever that my bones rattled and I curled into a ball to try to keep any warmth. After five days of this, the fever cooled but my transplanted organs received an acute injury...damage done by the fever. After a few more days I was taken by ambulance to the transplant team to check on the organs. I felt pretty good at this point and just wanted to go home. I had a lot of blistering still and the infection wasn't dead so we decided to check on the organs. During this procedure where needles were stuck into the kidney and pancreas and sections were biopsied, I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications. My blood pressure dropped and I couldn't breathe or get my heart to beat at a normal rate. When this happened more than once, the doctors discovered I was bleeding from the biopsied sites into my abdominal cavity. I was moved to Surgical ICU, given a transfusion and pain killers before being watched for another 24 hours.
Now, if you know me, this is pretty normal for my health. When I go down, I go hard and fast. The older I get though, the more I realize the getting back up is harder and harder. I've spent the last week trying to get back on my feet and feeling like I might have been better off to have stayed in the hospital. At times like these, when recovery is long, painful and slow I wonder why I survived?
During this same period of time, a 16 year old boy in the surgical ICU next to me was brought in with a lacerated spleen. He did not survive. A car accident took the lives of a small family in the canyon and my neighbor's granddaughter, just 2 or 3, died suddenly with little or no explanation for what happened.
There were times in the hospital where I cried, begged for relief and gave my will to The Father as far as my transplanted organs were concerned.
So now I ask...Why did I survive?
I don't know the answer. My father-in-law says he stays alive because the devil won't take him and only the good die young. Perhaps its true. Its possible that I'm still trying to find my place between heaven and hell. I don't believe that though.
A part of me feels guilty because I get to stay with my boys, love my husband and fight a little longer. Part of me is grateful that the struggle is going on even though being free of this body would be easier. Most of me however, doesn't have answers.
One day we will all understand why 'The plan' is the way it is. Some day it will all make perfect sense. In the meantime, I live the best I can, I work to get better all the time, and I have faith that The Lord knows Why and for now...its enough.