A Year in the Hospital

Post On Thursday, February 28, 2019 By Julie Williamson

A Year in the Hospital

I was 34 years old when I had my daughter, Jessica, 17 years ago. She was a month early, but, aside from an isolated seizure, was healthy. I, however, was not so lucky.

The doctors knew that I had Preeclampsia the entire time that I was pregnant due to protein in my urine. They tried to manage it with bed rest, but were not successful. I was not given Magnesium Sulfate (per normal protocol) in a timely manner, so my brain swelled. This did damage to my Optic Nerve, leaving me Legally Blind, and damaged my short-term memory. I then had a seizure and went into a coma for 4 months.

I was in the hospital for one year, which is quite a long time.

I was in Physical Therapy, learning how to walk again, for 3 1/2 years. This was extremely difficult because my brain forgot how to walk. It was also excruciatingly painful because my muscles were atrophied from being in a coma.

I had preeclampsia, that turned into eclampsia, and then escalated into HELLP Syndrome. I sustained damage to the Temporal Lobe of my brain (causing a brain injury) and, in fact, died 3 times!

I went into the coma the night that I delivered the baby. Unfortunately, I have no memory of being pregnant, nor of giving birth, at all. Actually, 2 years of my life/memories have been wiped clean! I have absolutely no recollection of the entire event, so I can only relay what I have been told.

I do not remember numbers very well, but I know that my blood pressure was passed stroke range! (I should've had a C-section, but they had me deliver vaginally, which increases your blood pressure!).

Also (I just like to add this for fun), my husband at the time (Jessica's biological father), cheated on me when I was in a coma, with my Physical Therapist, whom he is now married to!

The problem with my sight is that I am not able to identify anything that I am looking at because I am missing the connection. I am not able to see detail or color, only black-and-white. For example, if I open the refrigerator, I can see that there are things in there, but I do not know what anything is – I have to feel it, smell it, etc. to try and figure it out, which is hard to do. I cannot see what anyone looks like. I cannot tell the difference between men and women. If I am looking at you, I can see: eyes, nose, a mouth, but I am not able to put the pieces together to see the final outcome – I cannot identify you. I cannot tell race (white, black, Asian, Indian, etc), either. Therefore, I have to learn your voice, which takes a little while to do. I am told that this is the same as being completely blind, since I am not able to identify anything that I am looking at.

I have never seen what Jessica looks like, but I am told that she is a beautiful redhead!

My short-term memory problem is very frustrating, as well. Things go in and out of my head. I never know what will stick and what won't. I may know something now, but have absolutely no recollection 15 minutes later. I have the most problem with recalling information – the answer is in their, I just can't get to it.

My life is now, at best, extremely challenging! I no longer have any independence and have to rely on others for everything, which is not much fun! Besides my main deficits, I also have 2 and 1/2 pages of negative things to deal with as a result of being in the hospital for so long. However, my basic outlook is this: It could be much worse – at least I'm not dying and, You can only deal with what you have been presented – It's not like I was given a choice.

So, you either give up, or you fight. I am a fighter by nature. They told me that I wouldn't walk again, but I said "watch me" – and now I am walking on my own! I was first in a wheelchair, then I had a walker, and then a cane. The lesson here is: You can overcome adversity and hardship, if you have enough courage and strength. Remember, you're stronger than you think! And, yes, I sued them – successfully.

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