Monday, February 8, 2016

My Medically Induced Coma - My Story from 2009 - 2016

Medically Induced Coma 

My Personal Horror Story – How I Lost 6 Weeks after Bariatric Surgery

How I lost 6 weeks - March 2009

Comparison photo of me then 2005 and now 2015.
            Me in my power wheelchair in 2005 and me 2015


That was a thought that went through my mind as my caregiver handed me a Stuffed toy musical Bunny. Last I remember was I was at the ER with horrible pains in my tummy. I had been home 3 days from my Gastric Bypass operation. I thought things were going well. My daughter Justine came to stay with me for overnights and my regular care giver attended me the daytime. The days after the surgery were a blur. I really do not remember anything except waiting in the lobby in my wheelchair while my caregiver got my meds for home. It was 2 shopping bags full of things and instructions. Aftercare for gastric bypass [ g-pass] is quite the ordeal. Since my gastric bypass had many complications, it was not a normal operation/recovery.
My story is about the after effects of what went wrong.

I do not remember but apparently my care giver told me that when they operated for the g-pass, they found a lot of scar tissue [adhesions]. This made a standard g-pass time double.

This is a very long story. It is over 8 thousand words. It was necessary to included all this information so you as the reader could understand fully what I have been through, what I currently have to go through as a result of the operation and the complications that followed.  

This blog post may be of assistance to others who are thinking about gastric bypass and the after effects, even normal after effects as far as what to eat as I have a lot of information about eating foods after g-pass surgery. 


What happened in the Operating Room - March 2009
Photo of me showing how long my hair was 5 years before my operation. By the time I had the operation I could sit on my hair. 

                                        Me in 2004

What happened in the OR?

They repaired holes that happened when they did the operation as it was ongoing. Some of the holes leaked. I went septic. Fluids made bacteria in my tummy outside the intestines. 

So three days after the operation at the ER they ordered a scan of my tummy. I was out of it with pain and they gave me pain medications.
Apparently somewhere along the line when I was left alone I aspirated my vomit. I had been throwing up constantly for 12 hours. I developed a syndrome called Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS. My lungs were infected and were shutting down.
The University of Washington Seattle hospital did a repair operation and told my family that my lungs and kidneys shut down. I was in very critical condition and was not expected to live. So I was placed on a respirator and all the hookups you can imagine. I do not remember anything except the ER on the night of March 13th, 2009.

Four Operations in two months

My first operation for the original g-pass was Mar 9, 2009
My 2nd operation repair was March 15th
My third operation for a Tracheostomy was mid April 2009
My 4th operation for a massive abscess that was the size of a banana was removed May 2009.

I was in a medically induced coma on and off for about a month. I do not recall anything except I was crying and begging them not to tie down my hands at the wrists. I kept pulling out the tubes so they had to do that. This is very common for patients to pull out their tubes. 

Next thing I know my caregiver is handing me this bunny. I thought: “Why a bunny?”
I loved bunnies – but it still did not occur to me. Then they handed me a hospital plastic washtub full of cards and mail. I had received over 200 get well cards!
I saw the Easter Cards and thought. Wow! Easter! Then it hit me 6 weeks passed and I missed it…

I could not talk

I had the trach so I could not talk, I had to write down all my questions and requests. Gratefully a lot of the nurses answered my questions with my written notes and my untrained sign language.  I knew a bit of signs as my sister in law's sister is deaf. 

It was very frustrating. I had reactions to a lot of the medications and I could not keep it straight what was happening a lot of the times. After the first 6 weeks I was sent to the rehab after being at the hospital. I had several roommates at this facility. I did not have my glasses until I was at the last room I was in. So I could not see much. In the last room I was in my roommate had a trach also, so we could not talk to each other. I could not see her either because the curtain was always partly closed. I saw her visitors and they talked to me occasionally. When the assistants who came in to help me remembered to plug my bed back in, things were good. The bed had a special air mattress that was electric. They were unplugging the bed to change the sheets. They would forget to plug the bed back in and give me my call button. 
There was only one television and she did not change the channels too much. A lot of the time I did not have access to the tv controller.  It was very frustrating. 

PressureGuard APM Mattress

Some days I did not have my call button or my phone. I was using the phone I would call the nurses station later to call the Respiratory therapist [RT] when my tube was clogged up and I needed to be suctioned. I was instructed to tap on the phone 1 time for the nurse, two times for the RT, 3 times for whatever else.

A couple of times my trach was clogged and I could not call on the phone or the call button. I started banging on the metal on the rails of my bed to get someone's attention. The only thing I had to bang on the bed rail was a plastic comb!
That was scary to be choking on my built up secretions in the trach and no one to help me! The medication made me very scared.

I was so glad when I was able to learn how to suction myself later when they moved me back to U of W. I wanted out of that Rehab!

I told my daughter and she had to complain to the staff about my shoddy treatment. I was so glad to get out of there. I begged my daughter to not put me back there when it was time to leave the hospital. Thankfully there was a rehab back where my apartment was in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula.

I was not happy at this rehab

Too many things went wrong besides getting MERSA. I did not have any visitors except my caregiver came to visit a times in that month. I asked some of the young people from church locally to come in. They did one time. I continued to get letters and cards which were greatly appreciated. It was a long drive over an hour from Sequim to Seattle for most people. 

I read the cards and letters over and over again. I could not get them to plug in my boom box Radio/CD player that my daughter sent with lots of CD’s. So I did not have any music or radio. My portable CD player would not work. So I played the channel on the TV that had a speaker next to my head. There was a community access channel that played music 24/7. I told them NOT to turn out my light or turn off the TV. Several times that happened and I woke up scared to death. I cannot handle a dark room and I needed the music at that time. The medication they gave me, Dilaudid [side effects] was causing me to have insomnia, sweating, itching and strange dreams and major hallucinations! I think it was the wrong med for me since I was already having lung complications. I was really wroth with this rehab!!

I could hardly move

Aside from all the complications I had become so weak I had to learn to move and use my muscles all over again. It was really hard to d. I wanted to get out of bed, but I was so weak and afraid I could not even sit up. I was very dizzy. The first time I sat on the edge of the bed I felt very faint. The head of my bed was kept at a raised 30 degrees anyway because of my trach. I was not allowed to lay flat for almost 4 months.

The Trach

The trach was scary a lot of the times it became clogged and I had to learn to help it along and do suction myself. I got pretty good after awhile. You have to get weaned off the machine and learn to breath all over again with room air.

Man with a Trach
Trach equipement

Breathing a percentage of room air

This was scary I had to learn to breath and talk at the same time, not so easy when you are on a machine. I had not talked for almost two months.  So with a special trach attachment** at the end of my trach opening I had to practice each day to use it. I got to the point I could use it for 15 minutes and they said I could call my Mom and kids. I had my caregiver bring my cell phone and had them charge it up.

** Passy-Muir Speaking valve 

                      Passy-Muir Speaking valve and Trach

Phone home

I am crying right now as I think back on that first phone call. It was so hard to talk physically and mentally, but I managed to talk to Mom a few minutes. Then I called my oldest daughter. A few days later I started to call my other 3 kids and brother on a regular basis.

So I was in a lot of pain in my tummy.
I was still getting protein via tube to my tummy.  It kept hurting there and finally they drew a line around the red swollen spot. I developed an abscess where the tube from my tummy was attached to the outside of my body. I was given massive doses of antibiotics. That did not work. So I had to have the abscess surgically removed because it was beyond draining point.
I do remember going in the ambulance to the Hospital from Rehab and waiting in the cold prep area for the operation. When I woke up I was in a room all by myself. I was back if the main U of W Hospital at Seattle and I was in isolation. Everyone who came in to see me had to have a gown and mask on. I was never told why. Some have suggested I had MERSA. 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ** is a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. I must have picked it up in the Rehab hospital. Yikes!



The huge abscess had to heal from the inside out. That meant I had to have the open wound cleaned 2 times a day. It is called a Wet-to-Dry Dressing change. All the nerve endings were exposed. Yikes that hurts!
I had to have a dose of painkiller as they were doing it for the first 2 weeks. They gave me a “bolus” of medication delivered directly to my veins through the intravenous drip. That made a quick delivery of the pain med so I could endure the pain of the exposed nerves. Thankfully I could stay at the Hospital and recover from the MERSA and the abscess at a better place than at the rehab.


Finally in June I was weaned from the Trach and I could have it removed. There are a series of steps they do to check your breathing and swallowing. I finally passed the test and was able to have the Trach removed.  My last trach cap allowed me to talk a lot which was nice and I could talk a lot on the phone. The only problem was that I was still in isolation and it was really hard. It also was a very hot summer and the meds made me really warm. I also had a fever because of the MERSA. My last trach cap was loose and kept flying off! I would forget I had to hold it before I talked. LOL!!!

Food and air – get out of bed

As soon as I could show I could eat a certain amount of calories [ I forget how much] to get my close to the Nutritionist’s idea of grams of Protein a day – I could have the g-tube removed. They had set up a g-tube in my nose down my throat after I had the abscess removal operation.
I was “full” on 1/4 a cup of soup. It was hard to eat because everything had a very strong odor. When you breathe through the trach and not your nose or mouth your smell is blocked. When that is removed then your sense of smell is super sensitive.  So now everything was very odorous! I started being very nauseous and had to have injections for that. A lot of it was because I was not used to sitting up in a wheelchair. Thank goodness I had a TV to myself the whole time I was back at the Hospital.


Now I could breathe 100% room air, I could eat some and had the g – tube removed. The abscess was healing and I still had to stay in the Hospital until they could discharge me to a special rehab facility to begin my rehab to evental walking. The open wound from the abcess operation had to be a certain size closed for me to be discharged. The wound was 10 inches long.  Looks like I was stabbed for sure!

I was feeling much better, the tubes and wires were all slowly being removed. I could talk and did not have to write notes. I kept a lot of my notes to remind me of what happened.

Moving day

Finally the day came and I was on my way out the door. I still had problems moving around and they had to use the sling on me to transfer me from the bed to a wheelchair. So where ever I went next had to have the sling available. I wanted to be back to my area where I was living, in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula area west of Seattle, Washington.

Rehab 2 months June 2009 to Aug 2009

Sequim Rehab Center exercise room 

March 2009 to June 2009 -Three months since I could not get out of bed

So here is was June 2009. I was bedridden. I could not get out of bed without the sling. I could barely handle sitting up with out feeling dizzy.

Bariatric bed with overhead rails and grab bar
The bed I had could be raised and lowered

Sling to get you out of bed

Time for rehab to get my body to sit up, get out of bed and sit in the wheelchair by myself.
Wow! What a task. I cried the first week I was in so much pain and stress. They gave me a rehab specialist who was too demanding. He was trying to get me to lift 3 pound weights when I could hardly lift a spoon to my face. I complained to him and so we set up a meeting and he was better. Some days I begged off the rehab. I just wanted to sleep.

I was not alone

I had a roommate, the first time since May of 2009, that I could talk to! 

It is something when you share a house with someone and you have you own bedroom you can go to for quiet. But when you are in the same room with someone 24/7 it takes some getting used to.
My roommate was bedridden like me. Kathleen was paralyzed from the waist down. She was there for life. She was the same age as me which was good. She was nice enough. The issue was that she slept a lot with the TV full blast! I asked her a lot of times to turn it down and she did but then it would be back up again the next day. I gave up. I should have asked someone to get me ear plugs, which I use now when I need to sleep in the day time. I use silicone ear plugs and they are great. 


So I figured out that there was a certain part of the day when she would be gone, which was not long on her shower day 2 times a week. Every other week she would leave the premises in her own power wheelchair and go down town. Not much time to grab 40 winks peace and quiet… I did get some sleep here and there but not for long. I think I slept an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes at a time with lots of Interruptions inbetween. Sad news, I found out that she died in her sleep 6 months after I left rehab.

I just wanted to sleep

They did not let me sleep long. I had to learn how to pull my self up, scoot to the edge of the bed where they took a transfer board and slid it under my bum. I then had to slide on to the wheelchair. Easy to do when the wheelchair is the same height as the bed. The bed would not go any lower. So I had a slide ride down to the wheelchair. That was OK. Try pulling yourself UP onto the bed when your arms have turned to jelly from exercise.
So day after day I worked hard to get to the point I could get in and out of the wheelchair by myself.
Then I had to wheel to the chair commode then to the bathroom and take care of that business. It was hard at first and use the rails worked great.
I had stretchy rubber banding material that I exercised with to strengthen up my upper body and legs while sitting down.


You can see the sit down machine that is called a recumbent cross trainer. I had already used one in my Heart Rehab a year before. Then there was a sit down bike peddler. That was tough to get used to. After I mastered the wheelchair to bed and out again by myself after a month I had to start to use the walker. Finally after a few weeks I could wheel myself to the bathroom and down the hall. Then I could shower myself and finally stand for 7 minutes. It does not seem long to stand for 7 minutes, but it is hell when you have not done that for 5 months.
Soon I could walk along the indoor wooden path in the exercise room, that had rails. Just before I left I could walk the 4 stairs. It was helpful to have the two rails. Where I was moving to though, there was only one rail! So I had to practice with that as well. No easy task to pull yourself up the stairs with two arms and one rail. So all was going fine in that area. I was still weak as a kitten.


I threw up every meal and all my pills, I had to find a time when I could take all my pills without throwing up. At discharge from rehab I had lost 60 or more pounds in 5 months. Most of it I lost in the first 3 months. I had lost 30 pounds prior to my operation on 1200 calories a day for 3 weeks. That was really hard to do. So I had lost a overall total of 90 pounds at that point.

I could hardly find anything I could eat at the rehab. They would take whatever they made for everyone else except sandwiches and throw it in the blender and it tasted awful to me and it was just too dry. The rehab was just not set up for foods that are necessary for post gastric bypass clients. 
Finally I had to have my caregiver buy me some small 1/2 cans of soup with the pull tab tops. I could heat in the microwave that the nurses used. I could only eat mashed potatoes and soup. I found I could eat chili. I could eat bacon well done of all things. It was wild the things I could not eat and the things I could. One thing you cannot eat with g-pass is dry foods, chicken or hunks of meat.  You need to eat soups, well cooked meats that are finely chopped. It is better to use ground meat which I did later when I got home.  Scrambled eggs with salsa was a favorite for me for 6 months until I could eat more foods. It is suggested to use a protien drink for extra protein at 60 grams a day.  I was not even getting 500 calories in the rehab. I was loosing weight fast.

July 2009

Me July 2009 -  my hair was cut short as I reluctantly agreed

Here I am in July 2009 at the Rehab in Sequim where I was living from 2004 to 2011. I was in the wheelchair. My 2 daughters and some of their kids came to visit me. It was a good visit. I wanted to go out with them but the wheelchair I was using did not fold up and there was none other available to leave the rehab. It was just as well I was so easily fatigued then.

A friend came to visit me and she brought a laptop for me to use. That was awesome! I had a good amount of visitors while I was at this rehab for 2 months. Each one would bring me something I could use. 
I had to wheel myself and the table down to the visitation room. I pushed the little wheeled table that one uses in the hospital that holds your food and water that fits over your bed. No easy task while you are rolling yourself in the wheelchair at the same time. It was physical therapy. The visitation room had a Internet connection. The cord was long enough but there was no table in there. So that is why I needed the over the bed table with wheels. I could go online and check my email and send and receive messages. It exhausted me to just do that so I did not do any Internet surfing at all. But it was awesome I could do the email. It was so exhausting I  could only do this for less than an hour. 

PT and Group

There was a group exercise that was mandatory and you had to stand up and hold onto the walker and introduce your self. You had a “gait” belt around your midsection to which the PT held onto while you stood up from your wheelchair and back down again. Pretty soon I did not need help. This group exercise was once a week. You did some simple movement exercises and then they did a game. You tossed a ball and had to say something. Or throw the huge soft dice as they had paper horses go along a mat for a “horse race.” If your number won you got credit for the gift shop. I forgot to turn in my credits when I left. But that is OK I had fun and it was exercise and a social time which is important for rehab. In the Recreation room there was bingo, and some other games at times. They had some DVD’s you could borrow so I watched some movies on my laptop when headphones. They had books and magazines. I had my friends bring books and magazines for me as well. It was real hard to hold the books so I only read one book that had large print. I did not have my tape machine with talking books. I would have loved to have that with me. But there was enough to do I was never bored.
When I was at the hospital I had a catheter. I got an infection when I was at the rehab for a month between April and May. So the catheter was removed and I graduated to the bed pan. I used that until I could get out of bed myself and use my bathroom finally by the end of July. Bedpan use for 3 months is no fun. For a while I used adult diapers. I hated all of the above. I loved the shower. I only had to go one time in the recumbent [lawn chair like] shower chair. After that I could sit in the open shower chair. It is pretty much the commode chair with wheels. I also had a bedside commode to use when I could get out of bed with my walker before I was graduated to use the regular bathroom at night. I was glad when I graduated from all of those items to just the bathroom.
The shower chair was nice and they had a shower head with the hose. I finally was able to stand in the shower by myself. It is really embarrassing to take a shower with the nurse there, especially a male nurse when you are modest. There was one male nurse and he was really nice. I finally got used to him. 

I was in the rehab from June to August, and it was a good facility. It was clean and the workers were great. I had no problems there. There were a few ‘inmates’ who had issues that drove us crazy. One lady in her wheelchair would ram her wheelchair into our door repeatedly until the workers could drag her away. This happened for about two weeks. My room was right next to the nurses station. It was noisy at times so I had the door shut a lot.

Products I used to recover

My big concern was to have my hair grow back My hair was very long over 3 feet long and very thick. I agreed to cut it as it was falling out fast. It was cut at the nape of my neck. By 2013 it grew to over 25 inches long and quite wavy. It is only 1/3 the thickness. At first it was only 1/8th the thickness it was before. It was quite curly! I am so glad it grew back nicely after 5 years. I love the Biotin! My skin is still very dry and I continue to use the Lubriderm lotion or other good dry skin lotions.

Biotin 1000mcg, 100 Tablets

When I got home I found out that the best thing for hair to grow back was to take the Biotin tablets. My hair has grown back nicely and is starting to thicken up again. My nails are stronger, especially my toe nails. I wanted my fingernails to be stronger. I was surprised my toe nails became thicker. Most of all is my hair has become stronger and thicker! That was the best use of this product.

August 2009 to Feb 2010

Photo of me on the left and my best friend Linda who rented me a room in her home for 5 months.

Going home 5 months after the first operation

Finally in late August I was done with Rehab and they felt I was ready, I begged them to let me go! They had to check out where I was moving. My daughter closed down my apt and put all my things in storage. I was not expected to live for a month, so she felt it was best as she knew if I survived I would have to move in with some one after rehab. So my friend, my best friend now. said yes when I asked her if I could rent a room from her. She was going to be a part time caregiver for me and I would still have my other care giver for other things.
So all was ready and my bed and some things were waiting for me. What joy was that to have a QUIET room!
Yay! I could sleep when I wanted, eat when I wanted etc. I had my own bathroom and the shower had handicap rails. I had a walker to use.

Falling down

Oh dear. One week after I arrived I tripped on the floor heat register in the Kitchen with my dumb huge floppy slippers. I threw those away on the spot. I could not get up. My roommate brought a chair with wheels for me and I tried to pull myself up to no avail. Finally my other care giver arrived and the both of them were able to assist me to stand up. I was very careful after that not to fall. Well I did fall in the bedroom two times after that and was able to get up OK with out help. It hurt my knees badly from the Kitchen floor but the bedroom had the rug so it was not too bad. I was not left alone in the house until a month later. Then it was all set so I could get what I needed while they were gone. Soon I was feeling better and had a great Christmas with my one daughter came to visit with her one son and my roommates family.

Pulling myself up the stairs

The house I was staying at had 5 stairs on the front porch and the back porch. So it did not matter which way I came in the house. It took me awhile to get up all five stairs with out stopping. The back stairs rail was on the right side so that worked better. Later I could use the front stairs with the rail on the left side.  I would do one stair and rest and continue on. I still have issues with stairs, but I no longer have to pull all my weight up the stairs. 

On my own

In February the next year my number came up for rental in a gated Senior apartment complex that was Section 8 for low income. Yay! I had to wait a year later for my 30% discount but was happy with the 20% I assumed.
So things went really well. I was able to do a lot for myself. I had my power wheelchair and I could power wheel myself down town to the store I wanted to go to as well as other shops and the bus. I used Para-transit when I went 20 miles away to my volunteer job later in 2010.
A year after my first operation I had lost 100 pounds. I still had 100 to go. But it was a big start. A very stressful was to do it though. I was a year behind the average person who goes through a gastric bypass operation because of all my complications.

My new digs

This apartment had handicap rails in the bathroom, 2 call buttons with the string to the floor, one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom. It had a huge kitchen and a good size bathroom and a very large bedroom for my adjustable bed. I got a kitty a month after I moved in. It was working out great.

Permanent damage

I have some permanent damage from all that I suffered. My right thigh is still numb which has affected a saucer size section on top of the thigh. At first my whole right thigh was numb on top. 5 years later is is now only numb a 2 x 2 inch patch. 
I have a lump from a deep bed sore on my bum that is still there. It has not gotten smaller. It is not painful – thank goodness. It looks odd.
My throat is sore all the time and there is damage to the vocal cords – I get hoarse a lot. I could not sing until 5 years later, but just barely and alto only. I used to sing soprano. 

My lungs  are tight still as far as breathing. I have Diffuse lung disease from damage before and after the first operation. This is from the ARDS. I do not have to have supplemental oxygen, but I have a CPAP machine that I have been using since 2005 for sleep apnea. I was on oxygen concentrator for a few years in 2002 to 2005. 
My kidneys are back to "my normal." 
My muscles are better as I have been trying to keep up with my protein intake. I used to go with 60 grams a day now I only have about 40.
I am very weak still. I can barely feel well enough to get out of the house once a month to go visit my Mom and Brother. It’s a 8 hour round trip drive and it takes the stuffing out of me. My daughter and son drive us and take turns driving. We pick Mom up first and then its 2 hour to brother. Then the 4 hour return.
My legs cramp up and are painful at times. I do some exercises while I lay in bed to work out the cramps. My legs are sore when I walk around at the grocery store or when we go places. I know that will improve with time.
My sleep is still chaotic, but that is nothing new.
I am unable to loose anymore weight. As soon as I could eat well and stop throwing up every day and less and less often, I started to gain weight back. I gained back 30 pounds by 2011. I know some of it is water weight. I am not worried about it now. I am so grateful I can breath unaided, walk unaided with out a walker in my house, talk, and eat with out throwing up, that nothing is more important right now.


I had a lot of people praying for me so I have to give credit to the Lord above for my recovery. I know why I was given this trial and I am at peace with it. I would do it again as it was the thing that got my one daughter back on track and off drugs. It was her wake up call.

Now onto more recovery and branching out on my possibilities.
If you have read my other stories, you will see that I am legally blind. That was not anything to do with the operation mishap. I was born early as I mentioned and the damage occurred then as well as more loss over the years.


I have a lot of crafts I have been doing and I plan on learning more. Next up us learning to crochet beyond the basics.
I have not listed any durable medical equipment as I did not have to purchase any except a folding support cane. The rest were provided. I did get a Rollator Walkers that has a fold down seat hand breaks and 4 wheels. A local person was giving these items away that were abandoned from her storage locker business. So I got my own really nice walker. I use this when I have to go out of the house. It pains me still to walk more than 200 feet unaided. This was a result of degenerative disk disease, arthritis and bursitis. At least I do not have to use my power wheel chair anymore!

I have listed below my photos by year and the products that aided me in gaining strength and health.

July 2010

                                Me in March 2010

Here I am a year after the first operation. My hair was very long before I had to cut it when I was in the hospital. They told me my hair was falling out fast, so I said go ahead and cut it. You can see it was cut right to the nape of my neck. My daughter Justine has my pony tail hair and it is going to be made into a wig for my Grandson who has Alopecia. That is almost 3 feet of hair in length.
My hair is very thin and is only [3 years later] half the thickness it was before. It got down to about 1/8th of what it was. So the Biotin was a great help to grow back my hair. It was very curly at first. I had not had short hair for 20 years so it was a big surprise how curly it was at this time. It stayed curly until this year as it is now thicker and longer. It is back to 25 inches long [2013].

Oh No!
In October of 2010 I fell out of my power wheelchair in the apartment. I was leaning back with my feet up on the desk. That was a dumb thing to do… I turned sideways and fell out of the chair. I hit the floor, my cell phone flew out of my hand. I was able to retrieve it. as I was talking to my former. I chatted with her a bit as I assessed the damage. I was in a lot of pain. I was afraid to move as I was worried my back and hip was out. I have a low grade Spondylolisthesis in the spine as well as degenerative disk disease and when I fall it always gives me quite a time to heal.


So I decided I needed help. I had a Life alert system in place and so I told my friend I was going to call it. I had forgotten it would disconnect [land line] us and she would not be able to call me back until the life alert machine was returned to all clear. I was living in a gated Senior apartment complex. So the fire dept has the pass key to the front door and the on site manager opens my door. They got there quick. They assessed the situation. Then they rolled me with a sheet. It was decided to take me to the ER. The ER is 20 minutes away.


Ex-rays were taken and I had not broken anything. Thank the Lord. I was in horrid pain though. The rude nurse yelled at me to open my eyes and demanded that I get out of bed and use the walker to leave the ER as they were done with me. I was in so much pain and they hurried me along that I strained all the muscles in my arm from my right shoulder to the wrist. I put too much weight on it. I told her I was blind and needed a wheel chair. I was very wroth with her. She apologized to my caregiver and said she was sorry for being so rude to me.

PT and Pool

As soon as I was able to I started PT for my right Rotator cuff [top of arm where it meets the shoulder] and my upper arm which was re-injured from the fall, my right hip from the fall and my back was stressed but did not get any damage.
I eventually healed and was back to "my normal" before I fell. Then I started the pool by myself. There was a rehab pool you could pay to use by yourself for 40 minutes. I bought a book of tickets for 2 months. That really helped a lot. 

                                         July 2010
You can still see how much the tracheostomy left a scar on my throat. I still have damage inside my throat. I can no longer sing second soprano. It hurts when I try to sing.

Alice my cat 2010 - 2011

Alice was a all black kitten of 3 or 4 months when I got her. I could not bring her with me when I moved to California because my Mom was allergic to cats. I found a good home for her with a lady who has other cats and goats on her acreage. 

Products I used in 2010

Professional Heating Pad

This is the best pain relief product I have every purchased!
It measures a generous 14" x 27" and weighs 3.8 pounds [shipping wt.] You can set it to over 125 degrees for an hour or less. I adjust it to my needs at the time. This is a professional quality heating pad. I had another that I was using that died a few months later as I was using it full time. I love this heating pad. 

                                          August 2010
I still look pretty tired here. But I was very happy. I had not gained back much at this point it has only been this last year that I gained back 20 more after the slow gain back of 10 the first 2 years. My Dr also reminded me I lost a lot of muscles, so muscles are heavier than fat or water. So he says not to worry, concentrate on building strength and health.

3 daughters one son

I think it may be confusing as I say my daughter this etc. So I have one daughter the youngest I live with from 2011 to 2015 in California. One middle daughter in Washington who stayed with me when I first got out of the hospital and my third daughter who I live with from 2015 to current. 

Big changes

That fall in late 2010 and some other things that happened to me early in 2011 while I was living alone had made me realize I should not live alone any more. So I made the decision to move back to California with my Mom March 2011.
I stayed with her for a short time as that did not work out and I needed a caregiver. Mom needed a caregiver as well and I could not be hers when I needed my own. She did not want to have a caregiver or have someone come in twice a week that she did not know. So I moved in with my youngest daughter and my son. My daughter became my caregiver. Later my Mom agreed to sign up for a caregiver as long as it was my daughter who did the work. So my daughter did that until my Mom fell 4 times and broke her disk and had to live full time in a care center in 2014. 

New house

Things were good there and I established Dr’s an care situations. I got a new CPAP machine, my 2nd since 2005. Prior to that I used an Oxygen concentrator in Utah for 2 years and one year in Washington. [Now on my third CPAP machine in 2016]
My daughter began to cook new foods for me and pretty much the same as I mentioned before. I started to use a lot more protein from other sources such as the ground beef and pulled pork.

2011 Products

The nutritionist recommended me to eat 60 grams of protein a day while I was recovering.

I found that I loved the taste of these Balance bars. The Lemon flavor has 14g Protein and 200 Calories.
It has a Balanced 40-30-30 Nutrition ratio. I was having 2 bars a day with other foods. The first year I could only tolerate eggs, cheese and yogurt for proteins. I could not eat too much cheese per day.


The Caramel protein bar also has a 40-30-30 nutrition
which means 40-percent carbohydrate; 30-percent protein; 30-percent dietary fat
Each bar has 15 Grams protein.


I tried several kinds of Protein powder and settled upon this brand which has 18 g protein per serving.
One thing I found is that with my diabetes I could not mix sugar and milk together or I had a dumping syndrome where the sugar would dump into my pancreas and cause all kinds of sugar drop and gain in a short time. Really awful feeling! Thank goodness my diabetes is now controlled solely on diet alone. I do not have to take insulin or pills anymore! Yay!
So I can only have a 1/4 serving of the protein powder with soy milk or almond milk. No ice cream at all!


The Greek yogurt has less sugar [lactose] and a 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams of protein.

Whey Protein Isolate 
This protein powder tastes good and I can have a 1/4 serving at a time. I mix up a full serving and freeze the rest in 1/4 serving in a Dixie cup and have it later like a ice cream treat.

Fage Total Greek Yogurt
I have 6 oz of the Greek yogurt plain. I add some cinnamon, dash of Stevia, cut up banana and two tablespoons full of raw unsalted sunflower seeds. Great breakfast of any meal.

April 2012

July 2011

December 2011 We moved to a one bedroom garage turned into an apartment. We had 3 hens for 10 months so we had a lot of fresh eggs. That was really nice. We had a garden going and had a lot of fresh vegetables as well. I like to have fresh fruit like strawberries, melon when in season, orange and kiwi. I have to chop up the apple pretty good an can only eat 1/4 at a time. I still have trouble with raw veggies. I can have cucumber and I add that to the tuna, cooked salmon and the cooked eggs with the greens and home made dressing. I can only eat 1/2 orange at a time as well.

The trick is to eat very slow, one bite and wait 5 minutes. That is why I will eat at my computer desk that is easier to set the food aside while I look or type so I am busy. After the first two bites I know I have eaten and can wait, I have to eat like every 2 hours. Since some foods I can only eat such a small amount at a time it takes a while for it to go out of my tummy. If I wait too long then I am too hungry and will want to eat more faster and then I get sick.
Also I found out that really hot off the grill or stove or oven foods will make me throw up. I can’t eat foods hot, I have to wait until they are room temperature. I can have tea and hot chocolate hot but not boiling hot. I quit hot chocolate as the chocolate gave me asthma.  Soup hot is ok as long as it is not boiling. 

It took me more than 2 years to figure that out!
I have tried to eat 1/4 of a tiny hamburger by itself. It was not too good as it takes too long to exit my stomach and get stuck as it is too dry. My daughter makes this meatloaf in a muffin tin size with BBQ sauce, The meat has some ground sausage as well as ground beef. She adds a few flakes of grated carrot and other things. It comes out really soft and I can eat that cold. I like it smothered in soupy mashed potatoes. I use extra water and make the potatoes very soft and what I call soupy. 

Everyone has trouble with regular chicken. I was using chicken nuggets and chop those into fourths to really watery mashed potatoes.  I can eat things, but the way they are prepared and amounts and temperature are important.

I like to have 1/3 chopped cucumber or 1/4th of the English cucumber with the tuna, salmon or 2 Hard Boiled eggs. I can eat a small amount of fresh tomato.
My Daughter makes lentil chili or ground beef chili which I love both. I add some shredded Mexican cheese to that. My daughter has found some great recipes and I just add either a tomato sauce, a mushroom soup sauce or chicken stock sauce to whatever she is making so I can eat it. I can eat one small slice of very thin crust pizza either cheese or ground meat. I really like the pesto artichoke pizza. I have been able to eat some salami too. French bread goes well. I was able to eat a piece of french toast with strawberry jam. I ate it very slowly.

Dec 2011
I like biscuits and gravy, I just add a lot more of the gravy. That is one item I can order when we are out at the restaurant. I of course can only eat half a biscuit.  I get sick of chili all the time! I also can eat an over easy egg with a slice of cheese on french bread, slowly.
So I am doing well and daughter makes sure I have enough good proteins, not much sugar, and food available when she is gone that I can eat cold or reheated in the microwave. I stay away from the open flame and very sharp knives because of being legally blind. Even though I learned to do things totally blind at blind school, I still have problems of burning myself or cutting by accident. I use a very dull knife to chop my cucumber! If I am not well she will do that in advance for me.
She also makes a great soup that I have been making myself for 20 years. It has all veggies in it. We make a large batch, let it cool and put it in 1 cup containers in the freezer. I bring out what I need and defrost it over night in the fridge and reheat it the next day. I will add some of the refry beans she makes from scratch or black beans from scratch that we froze. She will also cook some Quinoa or other grain and I add a spoonful of that as well. I will add cheese, salsa to the refry beans for a meal, too.
She also makes the Spanish rice with brown rice. She makes a lot of her dishes in either the crock pot or pressure cooker. Her chili and lentil chili comes out awesome in the pressure cooker.
The trick is to have food cooked in advance, then there is always something for me that is good to eat and well with in my nutritional needs.  I can only eat a few spoonfuls of rice or pasta or quinoa. It has to be mixed with other things like the soup or sauce.

2012 Products

Bumble Bee Premium Tuna - 2 oz drained, is Calories: 50, Fat: 0.5 grams, Carbs: 0 grams, Protein: 13. I add 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp ranch dressing, 1 tbsp of dill relish and mix. I have it with fresh 1/2 cup fresh greens like kale or spinach. I do the same with either the salmon or 2 hard boiled eggs.

I get the fresh or salmon in the pouch when I am out and about. Salmon has 14 grams Protein.


Sunflower seeds with the Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. have:
3 carbs, 4 grams Protein, 11 grams fat, and 124 calories.


Bumble Bee Foods Wild Pink Salmon, Skinless & Boneless, 5-Ounce Pouches 

                                        me 2012

How I am doing 4.5 years later.

July 19 2013
I am very happy I got to go to Washington to visit my six grand children. The two oldest have graduated from High School.

I have been able to add more foods to my diet and that helps to have a better choice. I still have trouble with raw veggies unless they are finely minced for my salad. I use a lot of Greek yogurt and we eat quite a lot of Vegan and Vegetarian foods. I really do not miss pork chops or steak as I cannot eat those foods.

Here is a photo of me July 19 2013. I am so happy that my hair has grown back so nicely. Of course it is colored as I have quite a lot of gray and white hair now, Haha!

                                                July 2013

December 2013
We have finally moved to a 3 bedroom house. I have my own bedroom and it has a big bathroom in it. The manager installed a very nice handicap rail for me getting in and out of the shower. I cannot do a bath, darn, but the rail is a big help. There is another parallel rail in the shower and I hold onto that as well while I am turning. I loose my balance easy.
We have our cats here and they love the bigger place. I can shut my door and they cannot bother me so I can get some good sleep!

Goals 2014

In 2014 I plan to go to the big pool for exercise until our pool here at the apartment opens in May. The apartment here has a lot of stairs and we are on the third floor. Thankfully there are rails on both sides of the stairs. After 8 stairs there is a landing. So I can rest a bit. I am doing much better on the stairs than I thought! Yay!

Legal Question

A question one might ask. Why did you not sue the hospital for malpractice. I did go to 2 attorneys and had them review the case. They obtained the records and did not charge me anything to review the records. They even mailed all the documents to me. Their conclusion was that the only misjudgment was that I was left alone for a time period with out anyone checking on me in the ER. The time was longer than recommended while I was waiting to either be transferred to the main hospital in Seattle or before I had the scan of my abdomen. That is when I think I aspirated. There was no record of me aspirating, no one witnessed it.
The second attorney flat out refused me. So I figured it must not be in the cards for me to have a lawsuit. I did check online and most of the cases that I could find on my own that were successful in their winning their lawsuit for some one who had suffered from ARDS, were patients who died. Had I died, my kids could have sued.

2013 - 2016

                            Me in 2014

2014 I have had a bad year. I have gained back 50 pounds from the 110 that I had lost 5 years ago. I am sad about that. My health issues have been keeping me from exercise. My hip has bursitis and arthritis. I have degenerative disk disease and so with all the pain I do not get out but one or two days a month. I am on the third floor and there is no elevator. We are looking to move again so we will be in a house on the ground level with a yard. I can walk around in the yard and hope to get some elevated garden in pots to do.

Dec 2015

As of July 2015 I am in a three bedroom three bathroom home with my oldest daughter who is my new caregiver. Her husband and two teen daughters also live here.  The house is in Spokane Washington state. 

PT and Pool Therapy 2016

I have started PT for by left hip which needs replacement. I have to wait for that operation.  I completed 4 PT sessions and now will start Pool therapy next week [Feb 2016].
I really like the pool therapy and it has really helped a lot int he past. 

There are lost of blog posts about my new place in Spokane.

Thanks for stopping by to read my story!