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patient in hospital bed with fast moving clock behind

Part Two-The Vent

For part 1, read “The Days of the Ventilator.”

I went into the hospital at 162 lbs to get a total colectomy for my increasing Crohn’s disease. Never would I think that I would be fighting to stay alive. At the twentieth day, the doctors spoke to my parents and requested that they put a small hole into my neck (tracheostomy) to allow me to breathe. My parents didn’t like the idea, but what choice did they have? The doctors said that they were going to try to wean me off the vent, but there was no guarantee. They must’ve known that I was a fighter because I started to come around very quickly. I was free from the vent.

The days and weeks after being on a ventilator

I was not out of danger quite yet, and the days and weeks after the vent were very challenging. I really had to begin to put the pieces together. Since they kept me on the medications at times, I had trouble remembering what people said to me. Also, nobody believed my stories. To me, they happened, it was so real. To everyone else, they were tall tails, and I only saw them in a long dream. I remember one day, I was awake but still very out of it. My two friends came to visit me. I got very confused because, in my dreams, they were killed in the car accident. I was convinced. I started to get very angry because it didn’t make sense. Apparently, this happened a lot for a few weeks after being taken off the vent.

I couldn’t believe how much time had passed in the hospital

I still had a lot of tubes in me, and still was not eating or drinking. I do remember when they pulled the tubes from my throat out, I had trouble speaking. I had no voice and all that came out was a whisper. When I started to become more coherent, I had a hard time believing that we were in the month of April 2008. Where did all the time go? I must have noticed that my hair was very long and that my beard had grown thick. I asked if the nurses could do something about it and they did. I remember they brought in a barber, who made me look very sharp. Sharp enough for the hospital stay that is.

The long road to recovery

I didn’t have short term memory down pat yet, so I know I asked a lot of questions a lot of times. There were days when I had no visitors, but other days when my parents and others had a line in the waiting room. Everyone was so happy that I was on my way to recovery. Looking down at my stomach, one day, I became so nervous. I forgot! I forgot that my stomach was left wide open, expelling the insides. This fistula was still haunting me, and reality set in. Even though I was getting better, I knew that my recovery was going to be very long. I then realized that I haven’t walked in so long. I felt good enough to get out of bed and jump in joy. I soon found out, that it would not be that easy.

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.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    8 months ago

    You’re story never ceases to amaze me, Paul. You are the definition of a fighter!

    Never stop sharing your story, it is so inspirational!

    I hope you continue to do well these days!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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