Beth Anne Brooks
December 22, 2009, was supposed to be a life-changing day for me as a single parent of three young children. It was the day of my gastric bypass. Unfortunately, the bottom line of sutures/staples didn’t hold and my body filled with infection. (Sepsis and Surgery) After a day and a half of ever increasing symptoms–blood pressure, dizziness, weakness, coffee ground-like stools and urine, and finally green infection coming out of my drains, I was taken into emergency exploratory surgery the night of December 24, 2009.
The next time I woke up it was January 1, 2010, and I was in ICU hooked up to eighteen plus bags of IV fluids and had a trach. I had no idea where I was, couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe on my own, and was strapped down to a bed. The next 28 days were spent going back and forth between ICU and a regular hospital room, ending with intense rehab in the rehabilitation center. When I was discharged on January 29, 2010, I went to live at my parents’ home with my three young children. My parents had to dress me, take care of my personal hygiene, get me in and out of bed, tend to my foot long open horizontal abdominal wound and 4″ vertical open abdominal wound, empty my drains, and feed me through a feeding tube.
From January 2010 until November 2014, I had a total of fourteen more surgeries due to complications from the original surgery and results of sepsis. My immune system has never recovered and we are now discovering long-term neurological and psychological affects. The list of diagnoses, medications, allergies, mental health issues and physical limitations on my medical record has grown astronomically. I have lost full-time jobs, part-time jobs, work from home jobs, online jobs, and am now at risk of losing a volunteer job all because of my inconsistent and unreliable physical and mental health. I have even lost the ability to parent my last child at home who is now living with her grandparents while I deal with even more health issues. No one ever could have prepared my family and I for what these past ten plus years have held. Even with all of this, I am beyond grateful to be alive and look forward to what the future holds. Hopefully by sharing my story, it will provide some personal healing and help others know you are not alone.