Recovering from Sepsis. An extremely slow process.

Anyone that has had a massive infection run riot through their body will tell you they are nothing compared to what they used to be.  A previously active and upbeat person will seem to have a total personality change.  The person recovering from Sepsis will be easily fatigued, dizzy, nauseated, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and sweating more than normal.

This is what I am experiencing.  Two weeks ago, when we first got home, we had to go to the grocery store.  I didn’t make it very far in the store and had to find a place to sit down before I passed out.  A week later, and another trip to the grocery store, I was able to make it through the store with the aid of a shopping cart to support my wobbly self.

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping

Joe is in front of me with the main cart while I bring up the rear.  For the first time in several years….Joe walks faster than I do.  Normally I am far ahead and have to wait for him to catch up to me.  Now it is the other way around.  And of course, there was no way I was going to ride one of those motorized carts around the store :/  By the time we were finished with the small amount of shopping we had to do I was totally wiped out.

Nauseous, headache that would not go away, falling asleep in the car on the way home (a two mile drive), and my body felt weighted down.  Kind of like in that nightmare dream phase when you can’t run away from whatever monster is chasing you.  Once inside the house I had to go sit down for a while.  Joe brought in the groceries and put most of them away.

There were no further adventures for the remainder of the week.

At home I go through periods when I feel energized.  Feeling like my old self again.  Ready to take on a small cleaning chore.  Let me tell you….there are NO SMALL CLEANING CHORES!

Joe’s bathroom needed to be cleaned.  This small bathroom took me about 5 hours to only get it half finished.

Joe's bathroom

Joe’s bathroom

Cleaning the toilet took me an hour to do.  Stooping over to clean the base and the floor around it made me light headed, dizzy, and nauseous.  I squirted a bowl cleaning product in the toilet and left it to do its work while I went to lie down until I didn’t feel so ill.  Swishing out the toilet bowl and wiping down the seat and tank left me drenched in sweat and wobbly on my feet.  Just cleaning the toilet made me feel like I had done an aerobics class.

Cleaning the sink, mirror, and door of the cabinet was the last thing I got done in that bathroom.  The tub still has not been cleaned and I’m not even sure it will get cleaned in the near future.

While I was in Arizona, Home Depot had a mega sale on the Shark Steam Mop.  I picked up one for $48.  That device normally sells for $70 to $100.  That was before I became ill and had all kinds of pleasant thoughts of cleaning my home.

Shark Steam Mop

Shark Steam Mop

I used the Shark Steam Mop on Joe’s bathroom floor.  It did a great job and I was quite pleased with the results of the mop.  Not so much with the results of my physical abilities afterward.  That was the end of my 5 hour cleaning stint and it took me three days to recover from that.

The nausea hits me at the oddest times.  When I get warm, go outside in the sunlight, or exert a bit of energy.  Following the nausea comes a headache that begins at the base of my skull and moves to the top of my head.  This headache remains for several hours and will sometimes make my vision blurry.

Another thing I am experiencing is not quite a depression, but a frustration with myself.  I will feel really great.  I will feel like there is nothing wrong with me.  Do something that entails a little exertion and I get overwhelmed with fatigue and then feeling sick to my stomach followed by a headache.  This is really frustrating.  I don’t want to spend my days sitting on my butt and doing nothing!

I have lost interest in doing my craft stuff because I just can’t muster the strength to even think about being creative.  That really has bothered me.  I have had moments where I feel great and think I could gather a few things together and make a card.  The process of gathering items together to make the card is just as hard on me, physically, as cleaning the crazy toilet!

I thought, how about doing something for myself.  Do a bit of grooming and put on some makeup to make myself feel better.  What used to take about 5 to 7 minutes from this face….

My bare face.

My bare face.

To this face took 50 minutes to do.  A lot of fanning myself between product applications to stop the sweating and heart palpitations.  Thankfully no dizziness or nausea.

Made up face

Made up face.

So, recuperating from Sepsis – even though mine was caught in time – is enough to make me feel really frustrated and wonder if I’m going bonkers.

IMG_9292

Today I had a burst of energy and decided to clean my kitchen counters and stove.  This is only as far as I got in 25 minutes before I was brought down to reality.

Trying to clean my kitchen

Trying to clean my kitchen.

The photo is out of focus and wobbly because I was battling myself to stay upright, breathe, and conquer the dizziness.

What I’m learning about Sepsis recovery is that it is not like exercising at the gym or working out.  Pushing yourself just a little further each day to go further or go longer “Ain’t Gonna Happen”.

When I feel I have good energy and want to do something, even vacuuming the floor, is the time to make an effort.  Take the time necessary to sit out the dizzy spell and the nausea.  If it takes an hour to vacuum the floor then take the hour and call your day DONE!

Drink A LOT OF WATER!  Don’t get hot.  If going outside in the hot sun makes you feel sick then just don’t go.  I think my having been dehydrated and having Heat Exhaustion along with the Sepsis has made me more intolerant to the heat than normal.

When a headache starts, after the nausea, get sat down or lie down until it passes.  Exerting more energy and pushing yourself further to complete a task will do your body more harm and lengthen the healing process.

I have been working on this blog post for three days now.  Updating it and adding stuff to it as I go.  It is time to get this uploaded and hopefully help someone else who is going through this know that they are not alone in the frustration and feeling like a fraud when we tell our family members that we just don’t have the energy to do something.

Leslie


At home – recovering from Sepsis.

Sepsis is a bacterial infection in the body that can, and does, kill people.  The infection is caused by many different factors.  A hospital stay, after surgery, untreated bug bites, animal bites, and in my case a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

Sepsis is NOT something to be taken lightly.  Sepsis can cause serious damage to the internal organs and it can lead to the amputation of legs, feet, hands, arms, or all of the limbs.  The death rate from Sepsis is quite high.

 

I am grateful for my husband, Joe, and our daughter, Loreli, who is an ICU Trauma Nurse for getting me the medical care I needed to fight this infection and live through it with minimal effects.

I will tell you my story, in hopes that it will help someone else in the early stages to get proper medical care before the worst of this infection can take hold and cause irreparable damage or lead to death.

I was in Arizona with our daughter who delivered twins on Father’s Days – June 12, 2014.  I spent a month with her and our son-in-law as they dealt with getting to know their two sweet daughters and being first time parents.  It was a delight to hold and care for these two precious babies and pass on some of my experience to these bewildered kids.  My main function was to do the cooking and cleaning to allow Carissa and Jaime the freedom to care for these new babies.

While in Arizona, I did not drink water as much as I should have.  Being outside with their cute little dog to take care of his business, sweep the porch of all the falling leaves from the surrounding trees that took over the cute little porch area caused me to sweat a lot.  I did not take care of myself in that unforgiving heat.

Leaving Arizona and heading back home to take care of laundry and few other things before Joe and I set out to get back into our truck driving job for a couple more months I still was not hydrating myself with water.  Working in the heat and humidity of Dallas, Texas in the hot sun doing further damage to myself by not hydrating properly I developed a Urinary Tract Infection.

Treating myself with cranberry juice from truck stops and finally trying to hydrate myself with water was mostly “Too Little Too Late”.  I had a 10 day period of trying to fight off the UTI myself, which only caused it to worsen.  It got to the point that I was leaving blood spots when I used the facilities.  My kidneys were shutting down from this severe infection.

After we delivered our second set of trucks from Dallas, Texas to Wilmington, Ohio and making the return trip for the third set I began having intense pain at my right kidney.  So much pain that it became a burning sensation from my hip to my shoulder on the right side.  Most of the heat and pain was located at my right kidney or “Right Flank” in medical terminology.

We stopped in Effingham, Illinois for the night.  I don’t remember much of the events of that evening.  By this time the Urinary Tract Infection had turned to Sepsis and I was in deep trouble.

I was cold.  I had the shivers.  A bad case of the shivers where my entire body shook in rapid convulsive waves and I could not stop it.  I remember shivering so badly and just wanting to go to bed and get under the covers to warm up.  My next memory is of three men in our room all trying to wrap me in the bed sheets and move me somewhere.  I thought they were trying to roll me up in the bed clothes and kill me.  Joe had called an ambulance for me and it was the EMT’s that were doing their job.  The next thing I remember is being wheeled down a few halls and taken into a room for a CT Scan and a chest X-Ray.  I woke from time to time when my blood pressure was being taken or someone drew blood.

My medical diagnosis in the hospital was SEPSIS, UTI, AMS, HEAT EXHAUSTION.  I was admitted to the ER on Friday night, 8/1/14 and discharged Sunday morning 8/3/14.  Because of the quick actions of Joe, the urging of our daughter Loreli to call for an ambulance, and the medical treatment I received at the hospital I can tell you that I was extremely fortunate in the care I was given.

As to this severe infection, it caused me to hallucinate or be in an “Altered Mental State” or AMS.  According to Joe I began acting very strange.  I called  him “Karen” instead of Joe.  I told him there was a man with gold front teeth that wanted to trade his teeth for my front teeth.  He also told me that I was combative with the EMT’s who came to our hotel room.  I would not allow them to get me on the stretcher and into the ambulance.  Joe tells me that I kept telling all of them I did not need to go to the hospital.  Once in the hospital I continued to be combative with the doctors and nurses telling them  I was fine and didn’t need medical attention for a Urinary Tract Infection.

I don’t remember any of this.  I do remember going into deep sleeps that seemed to be for long periods of time.  The bed I was on in the hospital room had an alarm that sounded with I stood up.  That brought several nurses running to the room and all of them were pushing me back onto the bed and telling me I was not to get out of bed for any reason.  Using the bathroom required the use of the nurse call button, being steadied by strong hands when I stood up and walked.  I had to be supervised in the bathroom and my return to the bed.

I was given about six bags of saline via IV during my hospital stay.  I was also given two to three antibiotics administered via IV and a Sulfa drug antibiotic upon release from the hospital.

I’m weak, and easily tired.  There is not much physical activity I can do that won’t make me extremely tired and in need of a nap.  For the past seven days I have been out of bed most of the day.  This is going to be a long period of recuperating and getting my strength back.  Bouts of dizziness and nausea claim me when I try to do too much.  I am drinking nearly a gallon of water daily along with juices and Gatorade like products.

Today is the first day that I have felt like doing more than napping and watching television.  I won’t be back on this blog for a while, at any consistency, because I just can’t seem to muster the energy necessary.

The only thing I have wanted to do was to inform my readers of the very real problem of getting an infection and not getting it treated properly or in time.  You can find all kinds of horror stories on YouTube by doing a search for Sepsis and watching the videos of those that have “Survived” Sepsis.  I did not think this was much of anything to be concerned with, and I am extremely thankful and grateful for the intervention of Joe and Loreli to get me the medical attention I needed very badly.

Leslie


Not Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.

Joe has been playing a World Series of Poker game on his phone for several years.

20140611-122123-44483834.jpg

He has been saying, all these years, “I want to play poker in a casino”. His practice of the game has taught him to be patient during play. It has also taught him when to toss the cards and fold on a hand even if it has an Ace.

Too bad the $124 billion he has amassed in his game playing is not real money.

It has, however, made him toy with the prospect of being a professional poker player. Time to take a chance and find out. The Rio Casino had a poker tournament starting at 10:00 in the morning.

So, in keeping with being a supportive wife, I videoed his play for about 10 minutes before I ran out of storage on my phone. The intent was to see his “Tells”.

20140611-124146-45706606.jpg

He did pretty good at not fidgeting or telegraphing his thoughts to everyone.

I left him to this new experience, the cost was $50, to see what it is really like to play poker with actual people instead of computer generated players. I went to a scrapbook store to entertain myself.

Two hours later Joe was still playing in the game. Pretty good I thought. Then I hear “All in”. He pushed his chips out on the table and waited for the hand to finish. He lost the hand and his $50 stake in the game.

What surprised me was what he said after leaving the table!

“I’m glad you are back. I’ve had enough. This was really boring!”

What?!

Well, I guess that was a big dream buster. I won’t be the wife of a professional poker player anytime soon. Guess I should be glad he is not susceptible to being lost in the clutches of a gambling addiction.

Dang. $124 billion in the bank would have been nice. I’ll keep my Joe just as he is. Not a professional poker player, just an awesome man in everyday life.

Have a fabulous Wednesday.

Leslie


In Las Vegas, Nevada for some much needed rest. Yippy Skippy!

20140610-095129.jpg

My last post, “Putting Lipstick on a Pig” may have left you scratching your head.

July of 2012 Joe and I moved three trucks from Justin, Texas to Oakland, California. A trip that normally takes almost five days ended up a 17 day trip with trouble at every turn. Those trucks were reported to be the “Best Ever”. You can read about that “Trip from HELL” by clicking the link below.

Clunkers in the trucking industry.

Thankfully, this massive truck and trailer move had been, virtually, uneventful. Beginning on May 13th, and ending yesterday, June 9th, we started the move of 45 trucks and 6 trailers by first deadheading 1,500 miles from home.

The original move order was for 29 trucks. The trailers were to be moved by others. As is normal….things change. And they did. Upon our arrival to Tracy, California there were 46 trucks and 6 trailers all going to the Taylor/Martin auction in Las Vegas, Nevada.

20140610-101115.jpg

This is the largest move Joe and I have done in Drive-Away. The last large move was 29 trucks in 2011. Learning from that mess we made adjustments in this mess.

Unlike the last big move with a 250 mile drive to deliver and the same miles deadheading back we had almost 600 miles for both delivery and deadhead. We also had to factor in the 100 degree temperatures we would be driving and working in.

Jim had expressed his concern for the lag time in a hotel after we picked up the trucks in Tracy before delivering them to Las Vegas. Didn’t take him long to learn that our plan was the best all around. Keeping the motoring public safe as well as ourselves from fatigue and/or inviting disaster by going – excuse the crude language – “Balls to the wall”.

This trek from Tracy, California to Las Vegas, Nevada and back to Tracy for the nine trips is a mind boggling 9,558 miles. That doesn’t include the initial 1,500 deadhead miles. The decision to spend an extra night before delivery was prudent.

Getting an early start to our days was necessary. The two hour time difference was an advantage for the hooking up part. Doing the work in the cooler morning air, it was still pretty warm, kept us from starting out dehydrated. Driving the 54 miles back to the hotel seemed ludicrous. What was ridiculous was trying to get to sleep by 8:00 (our time) in the evening while it was actually 6:00 and supper time in California. Sunlight through the tops of curtains, around the edges of the air conditioning unit, and around the door made the darkened room not so very dark.

Waking at 4:00 in the morning with the chilly air, knowing it was only just a couple hours past midnight in California, was nice. Driving in the dark for three hours was kind of refreshing. Until the sun rose and the day became hotter as we neared Las Vegas.

We had decided on a three day turn around. We would have the 29 trucks delivered a couple days earlier than the June 1st deadline.

Then we were informed we would be responsible for ALL of the trucks and trailers to be moved. There would not be anyone coming to help. Joe took on the “Big Dog” role and flatly informed everyone involved the June 1st deadline was not going to happen. We would deliver what we could before the auction date. Leaving some time for the crew to get the trucks ready for the sale.

We succeeded in our job. All 45 trucks and 6 trailers were delivered with a few days extra for the prep time. There would be one truck left behind of the 46 that we would not move and someone else moved that one.

Joe and Jim have their plans for today. We have rented a car here in Las Vegas so we don’t have to wag the trailer around. They will be going to businesses, such as FleetPride and Truck Pro, which cater to the trucking industry to acquire items that Jim will need when he goes out on his own doing singles.

The guys will be dropping me off at a scrapbook store near the airport. I have been looking forward to this shopping trip for several weeks. Last Thursday I saw on the website for the Mega Scrapbook Store they are closing. Total bummer. They are having a sale with many items 75% off. I have budgeted myself $150. We’ll see how that goes.

Today I’m going to just rest and relax. Hope your Tuesday is going well.

Leslie


Putting lipstick on a pig.

We are nearly finished with this mess of trucks going to auction. Today we picked up five trucks and Sunday we will be getting the final five. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is NOT an oncoming train. Thank God.

The auction is June 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada for Taylor/Martin. We have, pretty much, had the sale lot to ourselves these past several weeks. The “Detail” crew has arrived and they have a lot of work to do.

Each of the trucks we have brought down from Tracy, California is being washed, trash cleaned out of the cab, and the interiors will be cleaned and spiffed up with a product that will make the insides look like new.

Hence, “Putting lipstick on a pig”.

20140605-164625.jpg

Most of the trucks we have moved will be good work trucks for a while longer. The majority of them have a half million miles on them. These trucks will probably sell from $8,000 to $10,000 each. Some buyers will buy two or more. One to work and one for spare parts.

When the sale is over these trucks will take another journey. From the sale lot to the new owner’s location.

By the time we get the final five trucks moved the lot will be full of all kinds of trucks and trailers. I had to share the entry gate with some other driver dropping his load.

20140605-165416.jpg

The three of us are just about whooped. Joe is napping on the hotel bed now. Jim has bloodshot eyes and he looks as exhausted as I feel. I’m so tired right now my already short fuse of a temper has gone off. I tripped over Joe’s trash bag Tuesday afternoon and kicked that thing. Although it made me feel slightly better for a moment I had to round up all the trash that exploded out of the bag. The bag was no where to be found. Joe found it on the roof of our pickup.

I am alternating between helpless fits of giggles and a strong desire to burst into tears. Kicking bags of trash sort of help stem the tears but only worsens the fit of giggles. Especially when I remember the look on Jim’s face at my angry outburst and his fast shuffle to put distance between him and I. He hot footed it to the far side of Joe’s trailer and waited until it was safe to come back near me to continue working.

Yes, folks. The three year old is making more appearances.

Joe has reserved a room for us in Las Vegas, Monday, for a couple days so we can sleep without getting up at 4:00 in the morning. That is the carrot and the stick to keep me working a little longer.

I hope your day is going well and you are not prone to fits of temper.

Leslie.


Making the connection. Tractor trailer connection, that is.

In a previous post – You’re going to run out of blinker fluid – I mentioned a future post topic to be about hooking up to a trailer.

Folks, today is your lucky day. I will put some information in your head that you may not want there for eternity.

All of these trucks, at the Love’s Travel Center in Santa Nella, California, hook up the same way I will be showing you. The only difference is I have a “Flatbed”.

20140602-123616.jpg

Once I locate the trailer I will be taking to the auction in Las Vegas I will back up to it. This is not something I do everyday so I have to “GOAL” – Get Out And Look – instead of trusting my faulty depth perception.

20140602-124851.jpg

From the inside of my daycab I can watch my progress backing through the rear window. I have to line up the frame rails of the truck with the center King Pin Plate on the trailer. Dirty windows help lots :/

20140602-125204.jpg

Working my way back under the trailer I have to stop, once again, to check on my alignment and the trailer height to the 5th Wheel.

20140602-125352.jpg

This trailer is a little higher than my 5th Wheel so I have to lower it until it just rests on the 5th Wheel plate.

This will be accomplished by using the “Jack Handle”. This crooked handle cranks clockwise to lower the “Landing Gear” and counter clockwise to raise it.

20140602-132807.jpg

20140602-132836.jpg

This is the “Landing Gear”. Some people call this the “Stand Off”.

20140602-133003.jpg

Watching carefully, I raise the landing gear to lower the trailer to rest on the 5th wheel plate. First I have to be positioned under the trailer to do this. If I do this part first I could lower the trailer too far and not be able to get under it. I’m lazy. I don’t want to be getting up and down, in and out, of the truck any more than I have to. I mean, I really don’t want to get too much exercise out here. (It would do me good to do more of it though)

20140602-133458.jpg

20140602-133523.jpg

When I have the trailer resting on the 5th wheel I will back up to seat the King Pin in the 5th Wheel clamping device.

20140602-133717.jpg

After I hear the metallic clank denoting the pin is clamped in I put the truck in a forward gear and give the pin a little tug. Just to make sure.

Get out of the truck once again, after I have set the brakes (I have heard stories of drivers who have forgotten to set their brakes and have had to sprint like an Olympian to catch the run away truck). Once out I will raise the landing gear completely and set the crank back into its holding bracket.

20140602-134613.jpg

20140602-134639.jpg

Last thing to do is connect the air lines and electric cord from the truck to the trailer.

20140602-134752.jpg

20140602-134826.jpg

Then off I go. I have to keep in mind I have a long tail behind me.

20140602-135028.jpg

The countdown has begun. Two more trips to Tracy, California. The end is near. Yippee Skippy!

Hope you all enjoy your Monday.

Leslie


GrannyCon alert level Orange!

My youngest daughter, Carissa, and her husband, Jaime, are having twins. She is due the end of June, first couple weeks of July at the latest.

20140531-081324.jpg

Their story has been a hard one for this mom’s heart. Carissa has struggled with PCOS – PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome – most of her life.

Carissa and Jaime have been married for 7 years. These two have had to deal with family members and our comments that seem to twist the knife through their guts.

When are you two having kids? What are you waiting for? When will I be a grandma or grandpa? Have you thought of adopting? Your sister and sister-in-law are having babies, when are you going to start catching up?

In my attempt to help I did research into PCOS to see what I could do to get things happening. All I accomplished was sending my daughter into a torrent of tears and anguish. In one tearful phone conversation, both of us bawling, my daughter told me about her feelings of being inadequate and not a full woman. She also told me of her fears of Jaime not wanting her any longer because she could not have a baby.

That conversation nearly destroyed me. The last thing I ever wanted or meant to do was hurt her. I promised her I would never bring the subject up again and I did not.

This truck driving job has one perk. Hours and hours of being alone. No one to talk to. I use the miles and time in prayer. Often distracted by traffic, road construction, stops for fuel and food, route exits and entrances, and occasional interruptions from Joe over the radio. The interruptions make me forget where I was in my thoughts.

For Carissa I asked that she know she is perfect as a woman, wife, and daughter even if she never has a child. For her to be assured in Jaime’s love for her was not going to change if they have children or not. I asked for counsel on my tongue when I talked with Carissa. I kept my promise to not ask about babies.

A couple years ago Carissa called me with exciting news. She was pregnant. Her excitement was contagious and could not be contained. I celebrated with her. Then came another tearful call on the day of her miscarriage.

Once again I went to prayer for Carissa as I drove. Last December she called to tell me she was pregnant again. This time her excitement was tempered by memories of the last time. Her voice trembled as she spoke in a near whisper. Almost as if she would jinx it all by speaking aloud. The news was then openly shared with family at Christmas. Everyone was happy for this special couple.

In January, during one of my check in calls, Carissa told me they were having TWINS. She was ecstatic and I can’t say that I blame her for being over joyed.

She has been blessed with an easy pregnancy. Right now she is being monitored for the early signs of Preeclampsia. An extremely serious complication that can have fatal results. Back to prayer.

A couple at Carissa and Jaime’s church have a photography business. To document this twin blessing a photo shoot was set up. If you live in the Phoenix Metro area and would like to have your own photo shoot check out – FuturePhotoGroup – on Facebook. They have taken some totally awesome photos.

20140601-064548.jpg

20140601-064606.jpg

We have one more week of moving trucks from Tracy, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. If all stays normal I won’t be making a mad dash to Phoenix before the week is done. When the last delivery is made, and after some much needed sleep, I’m going to find the mega scrapbook store in Las Vegas. I’m going to see if they have something I can’t live without :D

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Leslie


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 179 other followers