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Jason Romstadt

Jason Romstadt
Survivor

First week of January 2019, I had an irritating fall cough for an unusually long period. The annoying kind that doesn’t make you sick it just keeps you awake and fouls your mood. I had gotten used to sitting up in bed to go to sleep and that night was no different. Propped up in front of Jimmy Fallon, with the vaporizer next to me a, double double shot of cherry cough syrup and a thick layer of topical analgesic that you could smell for a mile rubbed on my chest. I don’t remember falling asleep but I do remember waking up in the middle of the night starving for air. My wife found me laying half in one of my dresser drawers and insisting I did not need medical attention. I told her ” it helped me breathe better”.

The next memory is a vague cloud of confusion in the emergency room. I must have faded fast as my condition was quite severe I am told. Emergency room doctors discovered that I had some un-identified infection, severe pneumonia, one collapsed lung with an abscess on it, the other filling with fluid, and sepsis and I needed to be sent to another hospital with more advanced infectious disease care. (Sepsis and Pneumonia)

I remained in a dense fog of quarantine and intravenous fluids during the week preceding the lung surgery I was about to receive. Strange short stories of confusion, rage and hallucinations litter my recollection of the event. (Sepsis and Hallucinations) At some point I committed to escape from the hospital as the government was trying to turn me into a giraffe. I also seem to remember, quite vividly in fact, a rather large and shinny set of rib spreaders at the ready as I drifted into pre-surgical sedation.

I remained intubated and under sedation for 72 hours following the surgery. As the fog of sedation and powerful pain killers lifted, my memories become more clear. I remember having my PICC line installed, the drainage tubes being pulled out of my chest cavity and just a brief snip of restraints keeping me from trying to pull a tube out of my lungs because I couldn’t breath. I was sent to a rehabilitation facility about seven days after my surgery to help me stretch my lungs and my legs and teach me to administer the IV antibiotics that I would be receiving for the next month.

I started small but within 60 days after I was released I could walk almost a half mile. I would walk down to visit my dad and bring in firewood to help build myself back up. I didn’t seem to take long after that for me to hit a wall, physically. I couldn’t achieve even 50% of where I was six months before. I continue to struggle even now. Since this event I have developed type II diabetes and constantly struggle with extreme fatigue and muscle soreness.So officially, I just discovered that I am not the only person with a dog in this fight. There are many people just like me and you all are doing it. I dunno, maybe there is something I can do or I have done or I could do that could make this struggle that much easier for the next guy.

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