This past Thursday I was discharged from Ascension Hospital in Franklin after spending nearly two weeks isolated in the intensive care unit. I had COVID and pneumonia that affected my oxygen, and yes, I was in a deadly, very bad way. My recovery, albeit slow, is underway at home.
Back on Saturday September 10, I timed six soccer games at a tournament at Milwaukee South Stadium. Bright sunshine and warm temperatures dominated the day. I had also worked soccer games there the week prior.
The next day, Sunday, had torrential all-day rains. I woke up sicker than a dog, thinking I had a serious chest cold. I wasn’t getting better, so a few days later I took a COVID test that immediately came back positive. Two and a half years, not so much as a hangnail. Now I had the virus, big time.
As the weekend approached my wife called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. When I arrived I was described as “confused” and “very sick.”
Slowly but surely the hospital staff got me feeling better, but not fully. Not even close.
Hospitals are awful places. Even the employees will tell you that. They harbor germs, infections. Loneliness reigns. Cleanliness isn’t assured. During my two weeks housekeeping cleaned my room three times. The food, while plentiful and balanced, is totally bland despite salt and pepper. I was not allowed to see my family.
Overall, the overwhelming majority of my care was awesome. However I had a handful of argumentative nurses.
On my first night at the hospital I got fixed up enough to watch the Packers-Bears game. Then I collapsed into a deep sleep. Until I was awakened by Nurse Attila the Hun who shoved a flashlight into my face and yelled a barrage of ‘what if’ scenarios at me. I had no idea what country I was in and objected to her tactics.
Another time I had to deal with a diminutive Jekyll and Hyde nurse who was calling me terms of endearment one minute and criticizing the next. She entered my room as I was wrapping up a phone call with my wife and daughter and asked if I was feeling “worked up.” I said no and she proceeded to disagree, and I got upset, telling in her in no uncertain terms I refused to apologize for speaking to my ladies.
Thanks to my wife we expressed concerns (complaints) and I never had to see those nurses again.
I’ll never forget the overnight when I hit the call button a dozen times requesting nurse assistance. No one responded.
All my other nurses were angels of mercy. Doctors were exceptional.
What about politics? The subject never came up, even though I realized I was a guest in a building filled with medical officials who more than not were vaccine proponents.
One doctor did say that I should tell my friends that if they were ever diagnosed with COVID to seek help immediately and not wait.
Just how sick was I? A very conscientious doctor, an expert in infectious diseases who stopped by my bedside daily told me “You are the worst COVID patient I’ve had since January.”
I’m now home but am nowhere near being out of the woods. I have weeks of physical and occupational therapy sessions and doctor appointments scheduled. Getting back to normal will take lots of time.
Finally, don’t let my occasional posting fool you. Sitting in front of a computer puts no strain on my oxygen. I’m happy to be somewhat back in the writing saddle again.
I repeat my deepest gratitude for the outpouring of support I received from too many to thank. It meant so much.