Risk of Death

I started to read my medical record today. My curiosity about the details of my hospitalization have been constant. So much of it I depended on others for. There were major gaps in my memories of the situation for obvious reasons and some not as obvious. I planned a much different topic for today actually. It was based on my memories or lack thereof. I even started a draft, stay tuned for Real or Not Real in the Twilight Zone. I spoke to others previously about securing a copy of the 3 and 1/2-month record but I hesitated, I was scared of what I would find. After a lengthy conversation with a friend last night, I was enlightened with a new perspective. I survived it right? So, there wasn't anything to be afraid of.

I went to the website for the hospital I stayed at, and it was ridiculously easier than I imagined finding my record and I started reading. Some of the things I knew and some I didn't. My timeline began to come together a little better. I was surprised to find that I was apparently responsive when I have absolutely no recollection past my admittance and telling the nurse to call my mom with a sob in my throat. My mother has told me I was awake and upset that I had asked her to come when she got there, that memory is vague. There were clinical findings, bloodwork, vitals and evaluations. There is the diagnosis of perforated bowel sepsis and shock. Then there is the sentence, laid out so clinically.

"The patient was somnolent so discussions were with the patient's mother. the risks, benefits and complications of the procedure and the recovery period - including but not limited to bleeding, infections, prolonged hospital stay, need for rehabilitation, enteric and bile leak, bowel injury, re-operation, liver decompensation, anesthetic complications, DVT, PE and death. In particular discussed the extremely morbid nature of the case and operation.

Informed consent was obtained and signed."

I continued reading the rest of the notes, they were less than a page long. My life, hanging in the balance, reduced to one page. We all know the ending of that particular chapter, I'm here, writing this blog. Yet I admit I stopped there for now. As these things come along, I stop for a moment to absorb them, and this is going to take a minute.

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It goes without saying that the surgeon saved my life. He took a chance on me when no one else was willing to. However, it was my nurses I couldn't have made it without. There is nothing comfortabl