WARNING: Graphic content regarding blood, guts, and more! If you have a weak stomach, or can’t handle medical stuff, click the back button on your browser now. Since I’ve never met anyone else who this has happened to, I’m sharing all the gory details. Maybe it will help somebody some day.
I was to preface this by saying that, as many of you know, I have health anxiety, which began when Mason was 12 days old. I was diagnosed with PTSD two months after that day, and later diagnosed with health anxiety. I’ve been in therapy (2 years – didn’t work) and on medication (can’t take that anymore because of my bleeding disorder) and, to be completely honest, it’s been hell. But, I get through every day just like everybody else. We all have problems.
Monday, July 10th was the scariest day of my life. Brian was out of town (12 hours away) hanging drywall in a new church with some guys from our church. Mason was in his room, working on his drawing.
I was in my room, sitting in bed, working on my laptop. I felt perfectly fine. I did not feel sick. I did not have heart palpitations. I was not feeling weak or anything. I felt PERFECTLY NORMAL! Except…I had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. You know. Number 2. (I told you this would be graphic.)
Except, that’s not what happened. I sat down and a TON of blood poured out of me. Streaming blood, and what seemed to be a dozen or so clots. Big ones. As you can imagine, I FLIPPED OUT!!! And, I instantly crashed. I think I went into shock for a bit because I actually turned my laptop off, put it under the bed, and laid down, hoping the problem would go away. Except, a few minutes later, I could tell from the feeling “down there” that it most definitely had NOT gone away.
I went to the bathroom again. It was like I hadn’t even been in there a few minutes before. The exact same thing happened. Tons of blood and clots poured out of me. It looked like a murder scene.
I was severely hemorrhaging out of my BUTT. I didn’t know how long I had to live but I knew I was running out of blood, AND FAST!
The worst part? I have a bleeding disorder!!!
I started saying, “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!!” over and over again. I called Brian, and told him I was hemorrhaging out of my BUTT, and asked him if I should call 9-1-1…because I was clearly still in shock and my brain was not functioning. He said yes. I hung up and called 9-1-1. I spelled my name for the operator, gave her my address, and told her, “I’m bleeding bad out of my BUTT and I have a bleeding disorder!”
I could hear her typing. She informed me that hers was the wrong dispatch and she transferred me to Dade County 9-1-1. I repeated myself again. The new dispatcher asked me for the color of the house, etc., etc. I was thinking, “Don’t they have GPS?!?!”
And, despite all those recordings/videos you’ve heard/seen, they do NOT always keep you on the line. She told me they’d be there “soon” and hung up.
I ran back to the bathroom. Same thing. More blood and clots. I knew I had a big active bleed going on and that it was coming from down low in my system because it was bright red. And, again, there was a TON of it!
Next, I banged on Mason’s door, yelling, “Emergency!” He came out. I told him what was happening. He went into auto pilot (bless him!!). He called his dad, Richard (my ex-husband), who told him to put him on speaker. He knew Brian was 12 hours away. He said he’d meet me there. He and I are still friends and I was very happy I wouldn’t be at the hospital by myself!
Mason hung up, put the dogs in their crates, and went outside to flag down the ambulance. Mason remained calm the entire time. I was so proud of him!!
I grabbed my backpack, and put in my laptop and cords, my driver’s license, credit cards, and medical insurance card. I then shoved in a dress and two pairs of fuzzy socks. I accidentally left my sweater on the sofa. I regretted that later. Hospitals are freezing!
I then went to the bathroom again, and again, and again as I waited. I seriously wondered if I would still be conscious when they arrived. It took half an hour (we live on top of a mountain and our neighborhood’s private road is in very bad shape). I was able to walk out to the ambulance, giving Mason a BIG hug on my way, and telling him I love him and to not worry. (He, of course, was extremely worried!) The paramedic who was driving rolled down his window. I said, “I’m the patient.”
They quickly put me in the back, and hooked me up with a blood pressure cuff, an EKG machine, and more. I explained what was happening but they were more concerned about my heart than they were about my BUTT.
My blood pressure was OFF THE CHARTS, my pulse was in the 140s, and I had tachycardia.
Now, how much of this was due to the rapid blood loss and how much was due to my anxiety? There was no telling. They quickly stabbed a big IV needle in my arm and one very nice man took extremely good care of me while his buddy navigated our potholed road. He had to drive slow. I imagine the medical machines in that thing cost a LOT.
I was silently still FLIPPING OUT. We finally got on the main road, and then finally got down the mountain, and then finally got on the freeway. I was terrified I was going to bleed to death on the way there.
Before we even got off the mountain, my phone started dinging. I just glanced at it, and put it down. Almost everyone on our road saw the ambulance, and wanted to know what was going on. They’d have to wait. I was busy getting poked, prodded, and questioned.
After what seemed like forever (but much faster than I could have gotten there on my own), we arrived at the hospital and they quickly wheeled me in. There was one guy on a gurney in front of me. They took him to a room. I was next. Richard texted me. He was already in the waiting room. It only took about 10 minutes. The paramedics wheeled me into Room #6 and got me moved onto the bed in there. Richard walked in. I brought him up to date on what was going on. He had set up a group text with all the kids to let them know what was happening. He was also texting and talking on the phone with Brian, who had secured a creative and effective way to get home FAST. More on that later.
So, the nurse came in. I told her what was going on. She replied, “Oooooh! That does NOT sound good!”
After almost vomiting from fear, I wanted to say, “You, Lady, are in the WRONG line of business!” I kept my mouth shut. However, the rest of the evening she was very sweet and friendly to me, even when she spilled a bowl of my BUTT blood all over the floor.
She said they’d need a sample from me to confirm it was blood. I went to the bathroom across the hall, and gave her quite the sample! It had been building up while in the ambulance. I also left blood all over the back of the toilet AND on the floor.
I then carried what I called “the hat” (those things they put on toilets to catch samples) into the room. She looked at it, raised her eyebrows, and didn’t even send it for testing.
When I got back in the room with my “hat,” I was stunned speechless to see our pastor sitting there with Richard!!!
After I had called Brian, he told our associate pastor DeWayne what was going on. DeWayne then called our lead pastor, Eddie, who then jumped in his car, and raced to the hospital to be there for me!!! I have been in hospitals many times and never has one of my pastors EVER come to see me!! I wasn’t even embarrassed to be holding a hat full of blood and clots, nor that there was blood on my dress and legs. I didn’t care. Brother Eddie is a grandfatherly figure. Oh, and he has a special name tag for hospitals. He can get into any room for any person by flashing his pastor badge.
They whisked me away for an abdominal CT scan, and brought me right back. They kept coming and taking more and more blood from me. That seemed odd since I was losing so much out of my BUTT at the same time. I found out later they were checking my blood cell count (don’t ask me for the technical term). It was 14 when I arrived in the E.R. And, it was dropping.
While the doctors and nurses went to work trying to figure out what was wrong, Eddie and Richard kept an eye on my vitals (the screen was behind me), and kept assuring me that I “wasn’t any worse.” I then asked them to just have a conversation with each other about anything so I could concentrate on that instead of my overwhelming, worse-than-ever-in-my-life fear. And, they did!
After a couple of hours, it was pretty clear that my cardiac issues weren’t going away anytime soon. I told the doc I had a prescription for Xanax that I take when I need to go to places like the DENTIST or the DOCTOR. I told him I’d forgotten to grab my bottle and I only take maybe one pill every month or two anyway. The doctor said, “No worries. I have some right here and we can put it right into your IV.” It was actually Valium.
A few minutes later, that’s what they did and, like magic, my blood pressure and heart rate started dropping to (almost) normal limits. And, the arrhythmia went away.
Brother Eddie left after two or three hours (the time started swimming in my mind) and Richard stayed with me. A male doctor (a very sweet guy who kept gently patting my lower leg) told me he thought I had an interior hemorrhoid. He ended up being wrong. Just before they moved me to a room upstairs, a female doctor came in, and said they could see diverticula in my CT scan and, since I had no pain whatsoever, she thought I might have a diverticula bleed.
Don’t get that confused with diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Those are not the same. The doctor continued, “The diverticula, when inflamed, can break open and it soaks up blood from around it like a sponge.”
I am seriously glad she told me that instead of the detailed truth. I googled it when I got home. A small artery had broken open in my colon.
The doctor said that, in a third of cases, it stops on its own. In another third, they can cauterize it. And, in the final third, a re-section might be required. At that point, I didn’t care how they needed to fix it. I just wanted them to fix it BEFORE I RAN OUT OF BLOOD!
So, they wheeled me upstairs and I was still bleeding. Like clockwork. Every 15 minutes, I’d get up, sit on the toilet, and lose a TON of blood and clots. And, since they didn’t know exactly what was causing it, there was nothing they could do other than keep my hydrated, and keep checking my blood cell counts.
I was hooked up to so many machines that they had to bring a portable potty into the room, and put it by my bed. Richard and I have been divorced for quite awhile now so, each time I had to go, I asked him walk into the bathroom. He was being so nice and supportive and I was very happy that I was not all alone.
Things started to quiet down. Oh, I was still bleeding like a stuck pig but I was still alive. They were monitoring my vitals and they had a red bracelet on me. There was O+ blood standing by, ready for me in the hospital’s blood bank. But, I really, REALLY did not want a blood transfusion!!!
I laid in the hospital bed, high on Valium. I tried to sleep. Impossible. Then, my phone rang. It was Brian.
Brian had left with six other guys from Trenton, GA at 6:00 a.m. the day before. They had taken the church van. He spent one day hanging sheet rock in a church in West Virginia with them. He’d been working for 10 hours when he got my call. He was just about to wolf down a burger, and head to bed. One guy, Patrick (a former celebrity weatherman who owns his own weather business now) had been at a conference up there, and had driven to meet the guys to help with building that church. Patrick had his own truck at the location.
When Brian told the guys at the church what was happening, he learned that the closest town with a rental car office was 50 minutes away. And they were all closed. Patrick gave Brian his keys, and said, “Take my truck. I’ll ride back with the guys on Friday.”
THAT MAN WAS A GODSEND!
Brian packed his bag, jumped in the truck, and then spent HOURS driving through the mountains of West Virginia with no cell service. There was no way for him to get updates. All he knew was that his beloved wife was hemorrhaging and he had to get there as fast as possible. He survived the trip on energy drinks.
Finally, at 5:00 a.m., Brian walked into the room. He and I both thanked Richard profusely for being there for me. Richard left and that was when I started crying. I had held it all in. Now that my strong man, my protector, my LOVE was there, I didn’t have to be brave anymore. I fell apart. Brian saw the amount of blood I was losing. He kept a brave face but he later told me how frightened he was.
Now that my rock was by my side, I was finally able to sleep. Brian pulled that horribly uncomfortable fold-out chair next to my hospital bed and he tried to sleep, too. He held my hand through the bed railing.
I had been praying. Everybody in our church had been praying. Friends and family members were praying. I could FEEL the love!! I had a specific prayer, like I always do. It goes something like this, “God, please make this situation work out exactly like **I** want it to: (Insert details for that specific want here…). I wanted God to make my bleeding just go away. And, then I could go home, and get on with my life and, most importantly, I’d be ALIVE!!!
But, I knew from past medical experiences (other nightmares, but NOTHING like this one) that, when they say something is most likely to happen, it doesn’t. In fact, they can give you three different preliminary diagnoses and scenarios and none of those will happen. That’s been my experience anyway.
A couple of hours later, they checked me again, took more blood, and told me, no, I couldn’t eat or drink anything. However, I had been allowed some ice chips in the ER and in my room, thank Heaven. Despite the IVs, my mouth felt bone dry. And, in and out they came, every two hours or so. They have a room of monitors (people) in the hospital monitoring everybody’s monitors. If something was going wrong with me, the nurses would be immediately notified.
The next few hours were a blur. I was still bleeding every 15 minutes but then it started to slow down some time after noon. I’d been bleeding for almost 24 hours by this time. And, I was feeling pretty drained (literally). Then, it was happening every 20 minutes. 30 minutes… Heck, then an hour! It was going away!!! And, it was about that time that there was a knock on the door. Pastor Eddie came to visit again!!! God bless that man!! We had a nice chat and he then left to see somebody else from our church who was having surgery that day.
I figured since the bleeding was tapering off that they’d just, you know, let me go home. Nope! I wasn’t going to get off THAT easy.
The fact that I still had zero pain, and the way I was passing blood and clots, further indicated a diverticula bleed. And, guess how they find one of those to cauterize it? Yep!
Now, I had one of those years and years ago (I have had diverticulitis before) and I chose NOT to have anesthesia for that. OH, THE PAIN!!!!! And, I vowed to never have another colonoscopy again. If I was somehow forced (Murphy’s Law!!), I would DEFINITELY have anesthesia, even at the risk of death!
So, while I had not seen the GI doctor yet, he had ordered a colonoscopy “prep” for me. And, if you know what that is, you know it is a gallon of sheer torture that lasts for HOURS!
So, tortured I was, from 4:00 p.m. until midnight. By the way, at 4:00 p.m. my blood count was down to 9.6. The doctor (not the GI one) came in to tell me that the prep might make the bleeding start back up again, or make it worse. Aaaaaaand, that’s when I emotionally crashed again, and when they put another needle full of Valium into my IV.
From 4:00 p.m. until midnight, Brian and I watched old episodes of Raymond. I was getting up every five minutes and using the portable potty. I didn’t make Brian leave the room. He was a trooper! The nurses brought me a liquid dinner. I was finally able to eat something. Beef broth can be oddly satisfying when you’re completely empty, and STARVING! Lemon ice for dessert was a nice touch, too. I left the Jello alone. It was yellow. Yellow Jello. Yuck!
I was permitted nothing else after midnight, including the “prep.” I actually finished drinking it two hours early. I wanted that part OVER WITH!
After midnight, I finally fell asleep. And, some time in the night, the nurse ran in, and woke me up, putting something up my nose. It’s one of those plastic things with oxygen that goes into your nostrils. She said my oxygen dipped to the low 80s. After she got me hooked up, she said I probably have sleep apnea and that I need to get that treated ASAP because it can put me at risk of a stroke. Great….
Around 8:00 a.m., I was completely empty and the prep had NOT caused any additional bleeding. I was no longer bleeding at all! But, I still had to go through with the colonoscopy.
The GI folks came to get me. Brian got to come along, too, to sit in the little pre-op and recovery room. They wheeled me away. The doctor talked to me for a few minutes. Just before they put me under, I gave up. I stopped asking God for a specific outcome. I said, “Please, God, let your will be done, and please forgive me for my sins.” They then administered Propofol. Night night…
Did you know that if you only ask God for his will to be done that your prayers will always be answered??? I figured that out after I got home from the hospital.
Anyway, the procedure only lasted 20 minutes. They could not find the source of the bleed. The doctor said that actually is not uncommon for diverticula bleeds. They found two benign polyps, and snatched those. The doctor said I could go home. I was literally bleeding to death just hours before and now I was good to go? Yea!!!! God gave me the exact outcome I’d originally asked for!!! GOD IS GREAT!!!
So, they took me back to my room and we sat watching TV, waiting for he discharge paperwork. And, while we were sitting there, Pastor Eddie came to visit again! He sat on the foot of my bed and he, Brian, and I had a wonderful chat. My mother had sent flowers. We didn’t need them anymore so, as Eddie was leaving, I asked him to take the flowers to someone else. He happily did that. 🙂
My nurse finally came in, and gave me the paperwork and explained lots of things. She asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I said no. I later wished I’d accepted. As we walked down the hospital hallways, I was SOOOOO dizzy!!!
When we got home, I gave Mason the biggest hug EVER! He had asked Richard to come stay with him the previous night so he hadn’t been alone. That was important. He did a great job being brave, however!
It was around 4:30 p.m. It had been 48 hours since it all began. Brian and I immediately went to bed. We slept, and slept, and slept. The next day, we slept some more. We were both extremely fatigued from lack of sleep.
It’s been a week and a half now since the incident began. I am still EXTREMELY dizzy – almost all of the time. It’s not so bad when I wake up and it’s not so bad after I eat. I have an appointment with a new primary care physician next week. Brian made me get one. I hadn’t been to a doctor in three years because they terrify me. That will be next week and they can re-run my blood work, and see how things are going for me.
I’m not sure if the dizziness is caused by the anemia or my anxiety over everything that happened. Maybe both? I’d hoped it would go away by now but it hasn’t. I have no problem working on my laptop. It feels like I’m on a small boat, floating up and down over swells. And, it just keeps going and going. It’s not an unpleasant feeling but Brian won’t let me hold any sharp objects, nor will anyone let me drive. It’s not so bad, to be honest. I don’t have to do any cooking, cleaning, or errands!
Seriously, though, I was a bit bummed last night because I’d really like to feel like my old self again soon. But, we read online that it could take 30-60 days for me to start feeling better. I had anemia once before after a bleed (of the female variety) that landed me in the hospital and I remember feeling extremely tired for a long time. I don’t remember the dizziness, which I’m calling “the swimmies.”
Some of you responded to the notice we sent out last week, and sent prayers. Thank you so much! Please continue to pray for me. I need it.
- Hospitalized While On Vacation
- Incorrect Diagnosis, Surgery…and Resulting PTSD + Long-term Health Anxiety
- Mason’s Feeling Much Better!
- ANOTHER Falling-Off-the-Boat Accident Lands Me in the E.R.!
- When an E.R. Doc Treats You Like a Junkie (and an updated pic of my deformed leg!)
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