Well, it has been over a month since one of my best friends got tragically sick. It is still really hard to write this post, but since it has consumed our lives I feel that it should be recorded. The week of New Years Gindy had a horrible headache that she could not dull with any medicine. She went to the ER on December 29th and they scanned her head, gave her some meds, and send her home with the diagnoses of a migraine. She fought the headache for a week and tried to work. Finally a week later on January 5th she went back to the ER because she had spiked a fever and she knew something wasn't right. Once in the ER, they rescanned her head, gave her more meds, and did a spinal tap. They decided to diagnose her with meningitis and admit her. I visited that night and she was laying flat in the bed and not getting any relief. The nurses struggled with her IV and by Sunday night she had a central line put in for antibiotics and fluids. Sunday night she was still with it, but that all rapidly changed. By the time I visited on Monday she was not acting like herself and struggling with urination and strength. Shortly there after everything changed. She was unable to face any lights and unable to get out of bed. She talked alot less and was somewhat difficult to communicate with about her symptoms. Her spinal tap had come back clear, but the doctors could not explain what was going on with her. They were just calling it viral meningitis. Since she was finishing antibiotics from a sinus infection, strep throat, and flu earlier in December, they continued to treat her with antibiotics. They thought maybe bacterial meningitis had been masked by the antibiotics. After lots of in and out caths she ended up with a foley catheter. She was unable to move very much at all in the bed and definitely unable to get up out of bed. She complained with burning, tinglings, and fever. Finally after multiple doctors and consultations they decided to start steroids. Within hours of starting them Gindy was back. She awoke from her stupor at midnight on Thursday and had lots of questions about the previous days. The more she awoke, the more she became attuned to her deficits. Physical therapy had to literally lift her to move her and she could not bear weight on her legs at all. Once she figured out her catheter, she demanded it come out. After hours of trying to void she would have to have it placed again. This saga went on for days and we all struggled with the reasons of no bladder functioning. Gindy focused on her legs and trying to regain sensation from chest level to toes. No one could explain what was going on inside her. All tests, MRIs, and other scans came back negative. No answers. As hundreds of people prayed, we cried and tried to diagnose her ourselves. As Gindy's RN mind came back we wrote lists of questions and possibilities for the doctors. No answers. Finally after a week and a half one of the doctors started calling her paralysis transverse myelitis. They scheduled a move to a rehab facility and made a new plan of care. At this point, she needed lots of encouragement. A card drive was started and her room at rehab began to be flooded with cards. This was totally amazing. Once at rehab the process to get better became intense. She spent hours each day with physical therapy learning to walk and other essential of daily living. She spent time with occupational therapy and many other specialities and she tried to get a grasp on this new life. No one would promise her anything. No one could put their finger on what was going on with her sensations. She learned many new ways to live a "normal life." It was heartbreaking for everyone to stand by and watch. None of us could do anything to make her better. We just had to turn it over to God and let him guide us all through this difficult process. Letting go of control is never easy, but being a nurse (which Gindy is too) and laying down your medical brain and giving it to God was SO HARD. Gindy and I wanted to explain everything, we wanted to know medically step by step the answers . . . and that wasn't possible. Through many tears and fits we all surrendered. It was simply astonishing to watch Gindy and Scott go through this transformation. Gindy's attitude changed and her mind set shifted. She began leading us by example through the healing process. I took hold of her lead and thought if she can do this, then I can definitely hold her hand through it and support her. Amazing. Our God is undeniable. After two weeks in rehab, Gindy had learned to walk with a walker, the process to in and out cath herself if needed, new methods to move around her house, and how to help care for her daughter, Kerrigan, and be safe with her deficits. The doctors released her to go home and continue with outpatient therapy. Now as I write this we are 8 weeks into the process. Gindy had given up the walker and the cane. She can walk and move slowly with confidence. She has trained her bladder to no longer need caths. Her painful sensations of burning, crawling, and tingling have all decreased to almost non existent. God is always good. Her sensations are not back to normal and she has some struggles. She still isn't where she wants to be in her recovery phase, but she is making strides everyday to get to that finish line. We are so proud of your determination, Gindy! We will walk this path with you no matter how long it takes. We love you.
Rehab Week One
Cards decorating her Rehab Room
Revisiting all her cards of encouragement