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Bed Ridden

When I entered the hospital for my total colectomy I was a healthy 160 pounds. My absorption levels were pretty good. As I spent more and more time in the hospital, my muscles started to give up on me. After spending three weeks on life support, and numerous bowel surgeries to manage a fistula, I started to realize that this is going to be a very long recovery. I believe it was more mental than physical. To be honest, it goes back and forth in my head all the time.

I remember while laying in bed, looking down at a big fistula wound thinking: I’ll never get out of here.” I also remember feeling my back and only touching bone! I was in what they called, “Level two breakdown.” I was so skinny.

Getting my strength back

When the nurses started to get me out of bed, I noticed that I couldn’t stand more than a few seconds without feeling like I was going to pass out. Also, my muscles in my buttocks were atrophy. That means when I stood up, the stool would pour down my legs. How embarrassing. As the weeks in the hospital dragged on, I started to gain my strength back little by little.

My doctors told me I should begin to do kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles in my backside. I am so lucky I had my own bedroom. I think the worst part of rehabbing is  thinking, “How did I get so weak.” I remember having to wear a full gown when doing my laps in the hallway. I would just go to the bathroom all over the floor and myself, and not even know about it. Talk about being embarrassed.

Another thing that I noticed was that my heart rate would skyrocket when I would stand up and walk around. The nurses had to hook up a telemetry pack so they can monitor my heart rate. This was so discouraging because I held records in running track and cross-country in the Philadelphia School District. I had to get better and it had to be fast.

Speeding up recovery

I encouraged the physical therapist to start taking me to the gym in the hospital as much as she could. I wanted to strengthen my muscles all over my body in a quick but safe matter.

Soon I started to see improvements. I went from doing one lap around the ninth floor ward to about ten. My heart rates started to come down and my muscles in my backside were getting better. No more accidents on the ward’s floor. I know pretty crazy right?

Crohn’s is scary when it’s not under control

Crohn’s can do such wonders to your body. I’ve experienced it first hand the amount of stress and toll it does to you. It is amazing how much weight I lost while I was in the hospital. I was afraid I was going to die at 81 pounds. Crohn’s is a scary disease when it is out of control. I never want to live that nightmare again, and I hope nobody has to go through the horror that I experienced.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.