Today is my birthday. I'm 27 years old and I'm in a reflective mood. A few weeks ago (7/17) I woke up in the middle of the night feeling dreadful. I knew right away given my chills that I had a fever. I went back to sleep hoping that would be the cure, but woke up with a 102 fever.
Two days later after working from home on Thursday (7/18) and calling in sick on Friday (7/18) I wasn't feeling much better. Friday night I took my temperature right before going to bed and it was at 104. Jenn and I both agreed to go to the emergency room and drove off to Hoag Presbyterian Hospital. I stayed there for a couple of hours. I got an IV, some blood work, and we all figured it was a bad infection. We even got the fever down to 99 before leaving, and I was feeling slightly better.
I went home and went to bed and once again prayed that sleep would be the magic cure. It was not. I woke up and started the Motrin/Tylenol routine the Dr. in the hospital recommended and started having major stomach problems. Jenn started to get pretty worried about me that night and managed to convince me to go back to the emergency room. This time the nurses and doctors started to seem a lot more worried. Jenn, her Dad, and Joan even had to put on special gowns to visit me, in case I had a serious infection. Needless to say I had more blood work, a stool sample, and a CAT scan to see what was going on.
I was admitted into the hospital a couple of hours later with an inflamed colon, an extremely upset stomach, and an out of control fever. I was told that I would be having a colonoscopy (24 years to early in my opinion) in the morning and that I was to drink a giant jug of gasoline (at least that's what it felt and tasted like) to empty out what was left in my system (which wasn't much). I really believed at the time that this jug of who knows what was going to be the death of me.
I even setup a routine that after every shot Tiger Woods hit at the British Open I would finish a glass of it. I stayed pretty strong on that strategy, but sadly he played poorly and was hitting more golf shots then I had originally anticipated. So I ended up going to every two shots he hit.
As hard as I tried to get that stuff down I was fighting a losing battle. I ended up getting around 80% done when my nurse came in and said I had enough and that my colonoscopy was happening in a couple of minutes. Jenn arrived right before I was taken away and walked with me down to the operation room. The next couple of hours were a blur. I know my parents came down and visited, and Jenn was with me throughout. But the rest is foggy. When it was all said and done I was diagnosed with colitis (inflamed colon) and potentially Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or Chrohn's Disease, pending some biopsies they took during the colonoscopy.
I spent Sunday night in the hospital with Jenn in a cot right by my side. Have I mentioned how much I love her? She is downright amazing. The fact that she stayed with me in the hospital through the night blew my mind. The sense of comfort and peace that she gave me throughout everything still to this day baffles me. She was my rock through everything. She handled so much and let me just try to get better. She has always been the best wife in the world, but the support she showed me throughout this whole ordeal once again reiterated what a strong partner in life I have. I'm the most blessed man in the world.
I was discharged on Monday (7/23) and was told to start taking some UC medicine which was a steroid to help improve my colon. On Tuesday (7/24) I got a call from the hospital Dr. who said that my stool sample came back and I had salmonella and that I should immediately stop taking the UC medicine and pick up some antibiotics. I was happy to oblige and four or five days later I felt as good as new. And only two days ago I got the news that I don't have UC or Chrohns (praise God) and that I had a clean bill of health.
I look back on the experience and in a lot of ways it's crazy to think how quickly life can shift. I had a normal Wednesday, felt great in fact. Was super excited for our upcoming weekend and even had a business trip to Ventura planned for Monday and Tuesday of the next week. But from Wednesday night on I spent the next week and a half wishing more then anything in the world that I would feel better. All I wanted was to feel normal again.
In a very small way it gave me a brief insight into how fragile life is. I got this strong desire (that I still have at the time of this writing) to not take a healthy day for granted. I almost wish I could encapsulate what it feels like to feel good for times when I don't. I spent a lot of my time in the hospital surfing through old posts on this blog and beaming with how happy I am with how my life has been so far.
I'm fully aware that I ended up just having a bad case of food poisoning. I get it. It could have been a billion times worse. But for me as I sit here writing this on my birthday, it makes today even sweeter. It makes every day just a little bit sweeter. And so I guess I'm sort of glad this all happened, because I love my life. I do. I praise God every day for how truly blessed I am. So like my child-hood idol would say
"It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. . It’s How much you can take, and keep moving forward."
Thanks Rocky, I think I will keep moving forward.