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Susan Kidman

Susan Kidman
Survivor

In December 2017 I had just returned home from running a few errands. Almost immediately after entering the front door, I felt a unusual pain in the area of my heart, and thought I might be having a heart attack. I called 911 and talked with the operator until the ambulance arrived. The last thing I remember was being put into the back of the ambulance.

More than two weeks later, I woke up to find my family at my bedside. ( from California, New York, Minnesota) I live in Missouri. My family was told that I was in critical condition and may not survive. Although, I was in and out of conscience for several weeks, my family said I continued to complain of abdominal pain. The attending doctor sent me for a CAT scan. While I was in imagining my heart stopped. My daughters heard them call “Code Blue” to imaging, over the intercom. They shocked my heart, and when I was stable took me back to the ICU. I have no recollection of any of that happening. My daughters told me at a later date.

While still in the ICU the attending surgeon told me that I had a mass on my spleen, and that he would need to operate on me that day. I had a partial splenectomy that sent me back to the ICU for another week or so. (It’s all so blurry) Apparently, I learned weeks later that I had bilateral pneumonia, and that is most likely where the infection started. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) Between life support, intubation, a port put into my vein, recovering from surgery, I was traumatized. As my thoughts were becoming more clear. I remember having a near death experience while having the CAT scan done. I spent another couple weeks recovering in step down, but was still very confused as to what had all happened. I had so many doctors, and nurses, no one explained to me at that time, that I was septic! It wasn’t until I returned home after almost a month in the hospital, and through conversations with my daughters, did I realize the extent of my illness.

I was very depressed, weak, and could not get enough sleep when I returned home. I still have PTSD, anxiety, and depression, from this experience. Although, I’m back to work (nurse) I still struggle with depression, brain fog, and low energy. My family has struggled with who I am now. They have not been able to completely grasp why I’m not the same. I have felt somewhat ostracized, due to my anxiety, depression and PTSD. I think they thought I was dragging out the recovery too long, and was looking for attention. That was not the case. Recently I had an appointment with a NP in my pulmonologist office, and she was able to help me understand that this was going to be my “New Normal”. She provided me with your information, and I felt I wanted to tell my story. I have since been diagnosed with diabetes, asthma, AFIB and hypothyroidism.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, it helps me to know that I’m not alone, and I’m not going crazy.

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