The Days of the Ventilator

When I entered the hospital in December of 2007 to have a total colectomy, I had no idea that I would be there for over a year. I don’t know if I broke any hospital records, and I really don’t care. I know that I became a stronger person mentally and physically. Even though I was placed in a medically induced coma, I remember vividly what was going on while I was under.

Placed on a ventilator

I remember a few nights before they put me on the ventilator, I had a lot of trouble breathing. I know they already placed a rectal tube into me, so I didn’t have to go to the bathroom on my own. I know they had me on oxygen, and it hurt every time I took a breath in.

I think from there, they placed me on the ventilator. Apparently, I was taken to the intensive care unit of the hospital so I could be watched and monitored more closely. The doctors had me on an Ativan and morphine dip so I was comfortable. Apparently, I had pneumonia. I was placed in a bed that shook. The reason that it shook was that it was designed to break up fluid that was stuck in my lungs.

Since I was highly medicated, I was very out of it. I, however, could still feel hot and cold. For example, the nurses would wash me. I could feel them washing me with warm water, and changing the sheets. I had the strangest dreams while on the vent.

Dreams while on the ventilator

Apparently, I opened my eyes a lot and gazed around. I don’t remember that. I do know that there were a lot of tubes going into different parts of my body. In my dreams, I thought I was at McDonald’s and the tubes were part of the milkshake machine. How strange, since at that point I didn’t touch fast food for about three years. I also thought I was in a boat, and I used my hands to steer. I was told later that one night I was found on the floor of the room, trying to crawl.  I had ripped all the tubes out of my body. From that point forward, I was restrained to my bed.

Another dream that I had was that my friends were all killed in a bad car accident. I remember in my dream that they were hit by a blue pick up truck. I know I went to all their funerals. It was weird because the scene played in my head over and over. I also thought that my dad had met another woman, and that woman was one of my nurses. I know that would be and never was true. Finally, I remember that every time they washed me, I thought I was in a Cadillac on Frankford Ave in Northeast Philadelphia. To me, time past so quickly. I thought I was in this weird state for a few minutes. In reality, it was twenty days. It was a very long twenty days.

Part 2 can be found here.

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