The fever started Wednesday. By Thursday, I had to leave for Boracay, something I have been dreading since I never liked the beach, the sand, nor the sun. I pretty much stayed put in the hotel until Friday because of my fever, which I tried to relieve with rest & paracetamol. By Saturday, my fever was gone, although I still had joint pains which lasted until Sunday.
I was back to work on Monday and was actually quite energetic.
On Tuesday, at around 10AM, I asked one of my teammates for water. I already felt something funny happening in my body. The water never arrived, and my chest started tightening. I haven’t had an asthma attack in almost 5 years, so this was quite unusual.
Barely 10 minutes later, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt I needed a Ventolin puff. I left the meeting, hurried to the clinic and plopped on the sofa. The receptionist saw my white face and didn’t bother to make me fill up any form. She quickly pulled me to the doctor’s office.
I mumbled “Ventolin, can’t breathe.” But barely a minute after the words were out of my mouth, my body started shaking. I felt cold.
I could feel my muscles & joints becoming painful real fast. I couldn’t move.
I could hear people scrambling around me. I closed my eyes, and concentrated on relaxing my body so I could control the chills. People were starting to arrive, panicking – my husband, our secretary, my brother, etc.
I felt myself being carried & placed on a stretcher. I could hear commotion on which car would bring me to the hospital, about the 5F parking doors being locked, etc.
The company doctor insisted on coming along. I mumbled “no.” I knew she was pregnant. But she was strong willed. Loyda, the nurse of SMART who has always been there for us, also came along.
Before I knew it, I was already in the ER of Makati Medical Center, but things move slowly. Too slowly.
There were a lot of questions, forms, staring, fumbling. I was begging for pain killers. It was unbearable. For the first time, I wished I could die. It was *that* painful.
They said they can’t give me anything. They first need to know that I wasn’t pregnant. Was I sure I wasn’t? Last time I checked, I didn’t come with a built-in pregancy kit in my body. Of course I’m *not* sure.
The nurses would check up on me every 30 minutes to ask if I already urinated. I couldn’t, and I didn’t know why. I was drinking *a lot* of water. Why the hell was I not urinating? Was this dehydration?
After more than an hour, I snapped, said something probably mean, because they finally gave me some meds. They said I was wheeled to xray later on, but have no memory about it.
I knew there was a lot waiting, maybe 3 to 5 hours. Something about a room not being available. It was all so weird. A room?
Finally, I was in a private room, and gone are inefficiencies of the ER. I was suddenly surrouned by 10 to 15 doctors, all screaming my lab test results, debating over my body.
My husband asked if I was going to make it. Noone answered.
I was injected with more morphine. I heared the words stroke, heart attack, blood clot, my kidneys failing, my organs shutting down.
I was strangely calm. I was looking at my doctors faces. I knew they were going to save me.
“Lupus!” Someone shouted. They knew what to do.
I was immediately transferred to the ICU. I don’t remember a lot of things about my stay there. I knew there were a lot of tubes. There was even a tube sewn in and out of my stomach. I remembered going thru dialysis, and a lot more painful things. I also remember a lot of vomiting, and not being able to eat more than a spoonful of broth.
Only family members were allowed, and even then, they were to wear a mask at all times and to take a pill before entering my room. My brothers knew the drill – my mom is not to know anything until we were sure I was going to be okay.
On my 4th or 5th day in the ICU, I could tell I was feeling better. I gave the go signal for my brothers to tell my mom (who practically ran to the hospital as soon as she found out).
It is now Day 16. I am already in a regular room, and have been allowed to accept a few visitors. There are still a barage of tests, ultrasounds, and biopsies. But I am feeling a lot better.
My kidneys, sadly, have already been damaged. There will be maintenance meds, lifestyle changes, avoiding the sun, maybe even chemotherapy. As of the moment, only bits & pieces of information are available.
But one thing’s for sure: It does feel great to be alive.
To my family, my dearest friends, former & current officemates, classmates, colleagues, online friends: Thank you for all your healing thoughts & prayers. I couldn’t have made it without you.