Posted by: Kate | March 21, 2010

What was THAT???

It’s me.  I’m back online.  In some form or other, vaguely resembling the original version.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, I don’t know how close I’ll ever get back to that prototype.

First, the thank-yous.  Such an outpouring of love and support out there, I truly appreciate every word and thought and prayer.  You try to live a good life and leave a positive impact on those around you, and I have some proof that I was able to touch some lives positively… I’m proud and grateful for that.

Next, the details. I’ll try and write as much as I know here, though I already know it will be a several-stage process. I don’t have the energy to write it all at once, plus it’s horrifying enough that I cannot comprehend the whole thing in one fell swoop.  I have to think about small bits and pieces at a time, and even those become overwhelming quickly.

Isaac, whom I have seen and held exactly three times since his birth sixteen days ago, is thriving beautifully. I cannot think  too closely about not seeing him, or my bigger kids, because it’s one more horrible blow that my brain can’t/won’t endure.  In the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit), visitors have to be over 16, and my immune system has been effectively wiped out, so at this point my doctors – and they are legion – have forbidden any contact with children. It sounds like that restriction will be lifted soon, as long as the kids aren’t sick; given the turn my life has taken recently, I have absolutely no ability to feel things like hope or optimism, but I’m doing my best to hang onto this vaguely hopelike sensation hovering around the edges of my heart. A big part of me never, never wants them to see me like this, so anemic and jaundiced that I’m an odd shade of yellow-green, attached to several IVs and a horrible thing called a VAC (Vacuum Assisted Closure; I’ll save that for another time), as yet unable to bear my own weight enough to walk, in ungodly amounts of pain despite big bad drugs on board… just a mess, physically, and mentally unable to paste even a not-totally-miserable look on my face, never mind a smile. But a bigger part of me needs to see and touch and smell my babies, needs this desperately, so plans are in the works to get them here as soon as possible.

Willem is doing a phenomenal job of keeping the kids on an even keel… truly, I cannot overstate how well he’s handling this. If I’d harbored any doubts about my choice of life partner, they would have been completely obliterated by his sheer amazingness. Everyone wants their spouse to rise to the occasion (or better yet, never to have an occasion that requires rising), what with that whole in-sickness-and-in-health thing in the wedding vows. But I’ve always kind of been the primary parent – he’s a wonderful father, but he tends to step back and take cues from me – so I’d have guessed that he would probably do a decent job but in a skin-of-his-teeth, frazzled, Mr. Mom kind of way. Instead, he has managed everything – his work, Emily and Jacob’s school, Isaac’s care (including formula-feeding, a first for our kids), my medical care, communication with dozens of family and friends, the house, just everything – with true grace and skill. The kids miss their mom, of course, but they aren’t especially anxious or stressed because Willem found the right words to tell my story and convince them that it will have a happy ending. No small feat, when you consider that one surgeon told him he’d never seen anyone be as sick as me and survive.  Willem has never been a single parent for more than a few days at a time, and suddenly he has no idea when – or, last week, whether – his wife will come home… having come through the most dangerous moments, I know I will eventually return, so I can offer my condolences: the rest of you will just have to settle for second-best, because I won one hell of a lottery by marrying him.

My health details: immediately after Isaac’s birth, I began complaining of a specific, localized pain along one side of my abdomen.  Had I not had my appendix out in 2003, I would have suspected appendicitis – it was that intense and sharp.  Instead, I was told it was just gas pains.  I was told it was just a torn ligament.  I was told they believed I was simply medication-seeking.  Despite repeated, pointed requests for a thorough physical exam, it took over 24 hours for me to see a doctor, and she gave me a cursory exam and brushed me off. I was discharged on Monday, March 8, three days after Isaac’s birth, as though I was a normal post-partum patient, despite the fact that I was, by that point, unable to walk the 10 steps from the hospital exit to the car. Isaac remained in the NICU (Neonatal ICU) because one nurse reported seeing him take a single “labored breath” immediately after birth, and the hospital’s policy is to keep any infant with any breathing-related symptoms for five days; in retrospect, my docile acceptance of this was a clear warning sign of just how sick I was – not to mention my reluctance to go up to the NICU to see him for any time outside of feedings. With Emily and Jacob, I didn’t like going to the bathroom in the hospital because it meant being separated from them; with Isaac, I felt so awful that I was certain my presence was toxic to him: if I didn’t have something contagious, I was sure my aura was so black and miserable that it would bruise his soul. He ended up remaining in the hospital for nine days, due to that respiratory distress, then jaundice, then a series of other pseudo=symptoms that meant nothing or everything, depending on your perspective.

They kept extending the date by which they would discharge him, and there was a boarding room in which I could stay on-site to breastfeed… but on the morning of my discharge, a NICU nurse told me that I really was too ill to be there: they couldn’t take any responsibility for potential falls, etc.  This was the only time anyone acknowledged that I was very ill; up to that point I’d seen a series of nurses, OB-GYNs, pain specialists, physical therapists, orthopedic doctors… all of whom minimized my concerns and insisted it couldn’t be anything more serious than gas pains, or maybe a torn ligament.

On Monday, March 8th, then, I was summarily discharged.  We stopped by the apartment to do some house-selling paperwork, but I simply could not handle the stairs. Eighteen steps from the street to the living room, and I couldn’t even begin to try. I sat in the car and sobbed, and I think that’s when Willem really realized that this was big and bad and wrong. The documents we needed were on my laptop, so he brought that out to me so I could find it and send him back in to print it out. We went from there to the bank to have it notarized, because there was simply no way I could go to New Hampshire the next day for the closing.

Now, I’m no superhero, but I’m somewhat stoic about pain.  What good does it do to moan and groan about it?  None at all, especially when you have a chronic pain condition and therefore would make whimpering a daily habit. But by the time we left the bank, I was beyond logic, beyond stoicism, beyond control. The roads are flat and well-maintained, and yet I nearly screamed every time we went over a manhole cover because the slightest movement was excruciating.  We went directly back to Salem Hospital, this time to the ER.  I was in the waiting room for over four hours, and I got to be that woman rocking back and forth, grunting and crying and begging for help; complete strangers were coming over to tell Willem they were praying for me, and at some point the ER staff moved me to a stretcher in a back hallway so I wouldn’t disturb the other patients.

A doctor finally deigned to see me, and within an hour or so of that initial exam and a series of tests and consults, I was sent directly to the ICU.  There, the head of my OB-GYN group did a brief, exploratory surgery – which is apparently very rare, for doctors to appear in departments not their own, but he did an initial consult in the ER and remained with me the rest of the day, so I think he knew something was Very Wrong and was moving into damage-control mode. The surgery was quick, and it showed a nasty bacterial infection brewing exactly in the spot I had been complaining about all along. He basically opened me up, panicked, closed me up again and started making arrangements to transfer me to a bigger, better facility.

After an inexpressibly horrible, sleepless, terrifying night – with serious whole-body swelling and ongoing overwhelming pain, though with ever-decreasing skepticism from others about the reality of it – they loaded me onto a Medflight to Mass General Hospital, one of the best facilities in the world.  Which is all well and good and I’m extremely grateful for its presence, but there are still a lot of pockets of bitterness and resentment for how it all went down.  As they were loading me on the Medflight helicopter, I heard two things.  One was one doctor saying to another – I don’t know who, it was just one of those cases where the rest of the room happened to fall silent at just the right/wrong moment – “I hope she makes it there in time for them to figure out what was wrong.” Past tense… as in, she’s clearly not going to survive but it would be interesting to know why. The second unfortunate tidbit I heard was the phrase “necrotizing fasciitis.” I didn’t know what that was, but I was pretty sure anything starting with necro- was not a good thing. That’s when I knew it wasn’t just a possibility that I might die and leave my babies and beloved behind: it was a statistical likelihood.  I had time to tell Willem to find my Health Care Proxy paperwork (you just fill that stuff out with the will, you don’t expect to use it) and ask him not to let them do anything to my hands.  They could do what they needed to the rest of my body, but I still needed to be able to touch my babies.  An awful, awful thing to have to say.

I remember the Medflight; it took about 10 minutes to get from Salem to downtown Boston, skimming over all of the rush hour traffic.  I remember landing and being incredibly addled and confused and in pain and angry.  Very angry.   Then they started throwing painkillers and sedatives and such at me and I don’t remember a thing for over a week.  From March 9th to the 16th, nothing, and on the 16th I only had two split-second slivers of awareness, two moments of being able to open my eyes and then going under again.

On March 17th, I woke up and stayed that way for a while. Awareness returned. I was sedated and restrained and in pain and frustrated and confused, and my husband and sisters were there with me. Wherever “there” was; it took a very long time to find that out, because I was on a ventilator and couldn’t speak. Later that day, they removed the ventilator, allowing me to whisper – my throat was so dry and abraded that any involvement of the vocal cords just added more misery to the equation. The next morning, they removed the feeding and oxygen tubes, as well as the restraints.

I was sad and scared and confused, and I was covered – seriously, covered – with staples and bandages and IVs and weird medical equipment I couldn’t begin to identify. My hands are OK, with weak fine motor skills even now, but usable.  My face is upsetting, because being in a medically-induced coma for a week does bad things to your lips, so I’m dousing myself in A&D ointment several times daily. I saw a mirror for the first time a few days ago, and I’m still scary to look at; I can’t imagine what it was like before, and no one took any photographs.  And my feet… well, I may lose some toes.  We’ll see.

I had a radical hysterectomy at age 32.  I have a grapefruit-sized hole all the way through my abdominal wall on the right side. I am extremely weak, unable to reach a bedside commode by myself.  My veins have been so intensely abused by a plethora of IVs that they had to use an ultrasound and call in a surgeon to insert my most recent line. I have had experiences in indignity that I would not wish on anyone.

I also have had friends rise to the occasion in every possible way.  My sisters were here and amazing, as well as my dad and stepmother.  My mother is wrapping up some things and planning to stay with us for as long as I need.  My friends ran the blog and Facebook, called, visited, washed my hair when I couldn’t do so myself, brought food, I can’t even begin to list it all.

Realistically, there was a lot more bad than good, and most of the time that’s what I’m aware of, in painful, in-your-face detail.  But there was good, and I’m remembering to pay attention to that.

Feel free to ask questions, I’ll answer what I can.

I’m exhausted.  Words are hard work.

Thank you all, though.  I love you.

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Responses

  1. So wonderful to read a post by you, though Gretchen has been wonderful. I wish you the quickest recovery possible and send all the healing vibes I can muster to you so you can be back where you belong with all whom you love and love you.
    Gentle but massive {{{{hugs}}}}

    Peri aka Lainch from Knitty. xxxx

  2. Kate, I have been so worried for you and your family. I am so so happy to have read a post written by yourself. Take it slowly, allow time to do what it needs to do. There are so many people all around the world thinking of you, sending you all the good wishes, vibes, prayers, whathaveyous in the world that you, Isaac and the rest of the family can’t fail to thrive xxx

  3. I haven’t been able to post here until now. But I am ready with my cast-iron frying pan to seriously the knock heads of the &*#$^@% people who thought for one iota of a second that you were a pain med seeker, particularly after the conversation you and I had just before Isaac was born. I could spit nails.

    Anyway. The important part is “hearing” your voice and seeing your words, and that makes this the best Sunday morning to be had in a while. More later… *mwah*

  4. Kate,

    I’m so happy to see you post. After reading your story I don’t even know what to write. Just know that we’re thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery. And Willem you’re amazing.

    Kristi

  5. Kate,

    How wonderful to see your post and hear your voice. I am so utterly sorry that you and your family have had to go through this. Can I join the frying pan waving hoards?

    Keep healing my dear. All your strength, all your wisdom will get you and yours through this.

    Helen x

  6. Oh, Kate, I am nearly in tears with the overwhelming relief to see a post from YOU. Everyone at the Knittyboard has been so grateful to Gretchen for keeping us posted, but to actually hear directly from you is just so huge.

    We’re all here, and are willing and ready to do whatever you need us to.

  7. So glad you are back. Can’t wait until feistiness (sp?) and indignation are backed by your full strength. Sue the b******* and write about it. I suspect both will be equally theraputic.

  8. Kate, it is so good to hear your voice again. I remember the moment it dawned on me how serious your condition was and realizing the possibility that I might not hear it again. I am so, so thankful for all the good you’ve described – for your friends, your family, a healthy Isaac, the amazing Willem, and your recovery. And angry about the rest. I don’t even know what else to say; I’m still digesting it all, so I can’t imagine how you are dealing with it all. I love you.

  9. Oh.my.God.

    Am truly indignant on your behalf. My thoughts are with you and your family and that sweet new baby boy.

  10. Kate, I can’t believe how much I missed a friend I haven’t even met this past couple of weeks. You are always in my heart and prayers. I am so happy that you are back in any form although I continue to wish/hope/pray that you are back 100%, even those 10 little toes. But I wanted to let you know that I am here for you to vent to and help you anyway that I can as you work your way through this horrible ordeal. As we always say. “HUGS and I wish we could all be closer now more than ever” For now relax and embrace every moment you can you are a living miracle. Love you.

  11. Oh…my…I don’t have words to express how I feel about what they’ve put you through! I’m very glad to know prayers were answered and you are still here with us…will continue to pray for rapid recovery and return to some semblance of normal life.

    One other little note…you mentioned not being able to see and hold Isaac. I went through not being able to hold my son for quite a while after his birth. (The circumstances were different from yours, but involved health issues in both him and me.) I mourned those early days and felt like he would not know who his mommy was.

    BUT he did, immediately, obviously know who Mommy was and immediately, obviously bonded to me and “forgave” me. (I put that in quotes because it seems ridiculous, and yet that was the feeling I had.) This despite my being unable to breastfeed him, unable to do so many of the things we think are necessary to start the mother/child relationship off properly.

    I pray that the same thing will happen with you and Isaac, that immediately you will have that closeness and that it will help you both heal.

  12. Still praying for a speedy recovery, you are very strong and will get htrough this with that great husband of yours!

  13. Oh Kate, I’m just speechless and in tears over what you have had to deal with. You are in my prayers daily. My Granny calls me every morning to get her “Kate” update. You are so loved! On a happy note I have such joy to read your words my dear friend!! I Love You!

  14. Kate I am so happy to read your own words. I am not happy to read your story -how awful. I wept while reading it -imagining the fear you must have felt. Plus the pain and frustration. And how you are feeling now. I wish I was there to offer words of comfort and hugs and hold your hand.

    You are in my constant thoughts and prayers.

  15. How wonderful to see you posting after that HORROR! I’m so glad for all of you that you’ve come through (with articulate anger at the ready) to go forth into your next phase of family togetherness and thriving!

    This hospital situation needs more than frying pans. Legal action seems worth doing.

  16. Kate’s To Do List:
    1. Kick ass
    2. Take names

    That the physicians on staff ignored your complaints is unconscionable. I hope you own that hospital by the time you’re through with them.

    Warm wishes for swift resolution and a speedy recovery.

  17. What a horrible ordeal! I haven’t commented prior to this because I just didn’t know what to say, but I was very worried for you. I appreciate those who kept updating the blog and Facebook. Every time I saw a new one, I’d say a prayer for you and your family. I’ll continue to say prayers for you as you recover.

  18. Kate,

    You’ve meant a lot to me on Knitty, especially with the help you provided when I went through my own crisis. I am so, so, so relieved to know that you are alive and on the road to recovery. There is more I wish to say but I don’t have words for it.

    I wish you a speedy recovery, bonding time with your children, and ease in dealing with the things you will now have to deal with.

    Haley, aka Krysstyllanthrox

  19. Kate, I’m just so damn glad. I’ll get to everything else later.

    Just so damn glad.

  20. Kate, I am crying with anger and sorrow as I read this, even though I’m joyful that you’re able to write it.

    You and Willem and the kids have been in my thoughts each and every day.

    Much love – Heather

  21. Kate, Kate, Kate! I’m so happy to be able to read your awful story in your own words, because that means you are well enough to post about it! It was even worse than I imagined, if that’s possible.

    But now you’re on the mend! We are all so happy for you, Willem and the kiddos!

    Wishing you the best possible recovery and quickest possible safe return to your family,

    Jennifer aka Knitorious Drivel

  22. I’m crying again. Having recently had a baby myself, I just cannot fathom what you’re going through–physically or emotionally. I’m angry and sad for you, and grateful that your kids are going to continue to have you to help them grow. I want to say I can’t believe they let this happen, but from my own experiences with doctors and nurses, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I am so, so sorry. Rest and get well. Then the lawsuit.

  23. I am ever so grateful that you are here to write your story and ever so sad to read it. Hold on to all the positive that you can and focus on getting well. Thank God for Willem, your beautiful kids, family and friends. May all the love in your life heal you completely. I will continue to pray for you and your family. Stay strong. (((Hugs)))

  24. Kate,

    I’m so glad that you are back and on the mend. It is a situation that should never have happened.

    I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and hope that you see your children soon.

  25. I am so sorry to hear this, but so glad to hear that you are well enough to post. I’ve been thinking of you and your family, and will continue to do so.

  26. Kate,
    after everything that happened with my father this summer I was so terrified for you and your family. I am more happy than I probably have a right to be (with not actually knowing you and all) but there you are. I am glad you are back. I am glad Isaac is ok, and I am so glad you are fighting. Not believing in being litigious is one thing, but there’s a reason we have these protections and this is it.
    Be well, feel better, let everyone take care of you for a while. We’ll still be here.

  27. I’ve been praying for you ever since you had the baby and will continue to do so. Your story made me angry and sad, but also relieved that you made it through to rejoin your family. Good luck to you as you grow stronger and determine the path you need to take with this whole awful mess.

  28. Wow. That’s what malpractice insurance is for. I’m so very, very happy to hear you’re alive and expected to remain that way. I also have to say I understand every bit of anger you’re feeling. Heck, you’re probably more pissed off than I can possibly imagine. This should never have happened.

  29. So glad you’re back!

    (can’t write more…too teary)

  30. Kate, Kate. I’m so glad to see you writing your own update now, but absolutely horrified to read the story. I cannot imagine what you’re feeling, how frightened you must have been to hear those words, how angry you are now. Your “style” or not, this sounds like it needs a lawsuit. I’m so sorry your first weeks with Isaac were taken from you, that is something you very much need to grieve. But you are here, you are a survivor. And for that we are glad. Many many hugs, Kate.

  31. Kate:
    I am also happy to see you on a laptop updating your blog. You have been missed and prayed for millions of times and will still receive a million more prayers. I huddled around my computer so much just waiting for the next tidbit understanding too much of what you have been through. You know that you have been a driving force in me going back to school and know how much I want to be there for patients and their families because I have stood on the sidelines and watched horror like this unfold. It makes me so angry to see the arrogance of “people” who think they have the right to label you med seeking and deny you a basic assessment and exam. That was one of the basic things they first taught us and they forgot the basics. GRRRRRRRRRR! Your strength has really shone through and I knew deep in my heart you would survive, though my gut dropped and then did a few flips around my knees reading the initial diagnosis. You are right that you picked an awesome lifemate who loves you dearly and have been surrounded by love from near and afar. Thank goodness you had those blessings! I love you very much and am so lucky to have in my life.

  32. Kate, like everyone else, I’m so glad to finally hear from you! Gretchen did an awesome job of keeping us updated without freaking us out, although I suspect the medical Knitties knew there was more going on than the rest of us understood. You and your family have been in my thoughts constantly and will continue to be there. You know where to find me if you need to vent, or if there’s anything else I can do! And grrr…am I ever pissed off for you

  33. Oh you poor thing. I knew something had to have gone wrong for it to go so bad. I’m glad you’re alive and have your babies, and I hope you get the justice you need.

  34. Kate, just reading an in person post from you has made me cry. I am so glad to just read the words written from your point of view. We have been praying for you a lot here, and every chance I can I have been checking in. Please let me know if there is anything, anything at all that you need that I can do from this corner of the country. Love, hugs, and kisses. Patty

  35. Kate, you are and always have been an incredible survivor, but no one should ever have to endure that kind of horror. I know no amount of money can really make this better, but nail those bastards to the wall.

    All of you continue to be in our thoughts and we’ll be sending something more tangible than get-better-soon vibes this week. And I know you have many offers of help, but I can be there in a matter of hours should you guys need an extra hand. Be well. Continue to be strong. I am so glad your voice has been restored to the world, so very glad.

  36. We knitties have been pulling for you! It’s great to see you post. I’m sorry you have had such an ordeal. I pray for you a full recovery and blessings for you and your lovely family!

  37. Oh Kate we have been thinking about you like crazy. It is such a relief to see that you are back to being present. Much love to you and your family.

    Heather aka Anthroknitgal on Knitty

  38. HOly hell – I am so glad you are on the mend, but I can’t imagine what this ordeal must be like for you.

    I’m so sorry you are going through this.

    Sending good thoughts!

  39. Kate! It’s wonderful to see your writing again!!!! I’ve been watching and waiting and worrying along with everyone else, and now to find out that this came about due to such gross negligence is horrifying!!!

    Much love to you and your wonderful family and friends. I hope you will be healthy and home soon!

  40. I am so glad to “hear” your voice again! I wish you all the best for a smooth recovery, and I hope you get to go home soon.

  41. Oh honey. Welcome back! I am as equally relieved and infuriated on your behalf as I can ever remember feeling.

    Keep fighting and getting better, then open that can of whoop ass.

  42. Like everyone else, I want to give kudos to Gretchen for stepping in and keeping everyone updated.

    It’s great, however, to finally hear from you. I’m not generally a person who advocates suing, but I think it’s appropriate for the experience you described. When will medical professionals learn to listen to their patients instead of assuming?

    I hope you continue to heal quickly and that the long term effects of this are minimal. It’s time to get some Isaac snuggles in!

  43. Kate, how good to hear you! Love and prayers to you and your whole family– it sounds like you’ve all been superhuman throughout this ordeal.

  44. Kate, I’m so glad to hear from you! I cried my eyes out reading your post, and I’m not much of a crier. Do what you need to do, and please don’t dwell too much on losing those first few days with Isaac. (hard to ask, I know, I remember every minute of the first days with my son) You’re alive, you have your kids, your husband, and you’re still here for the rest of us.
    You were (are) in my thoughts constantly. Please deal with the negative, but focus on the positive. It will help you heal.
    c.
    (driver8)

  45. Wonderful to see you feisty as always and a terrible experience for you. Concentrate on getting well Kate, you can fight battles once you’re up and about.

  46. It is so good to hear from you. Loved the updates all along the way but nothing like your voice. I can’t imagine and don’t want to what you have been through and are going to go through. It is too horrible. It has made me sad for you, your baby, and your family. Your post today made me cry which my husband doesn’t understand since I don’t know you.Thank you for posting. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Man you are one tough lady. It is so good to have you back, in any form.

  47. OMG. I’m so glad you’re well (ish) now. If you need any support for the post-menopause, just ask. I’m a pro and there’s some meds that are better than others for hot flashes, etc.

    Gentle, gentle hugs and I’m keeping all of you guys in my prayers.

  48. Oh Kate,
    I’m so damned glad to read a post by you. Of course, I will continue to update whatever you want me to, but I’ve missed hearing your voice. I don’t know that I have the right words to express everything I want to…but I’ve missed the hell out of you. I love you, hon.

    • Gretchen, I know you’ve heard this a million times, but you are an incredible friend. Thank you for keeping us all posted. >3 ❤ ❤

  49. Oh, Kate,

    I’ve never read anything that made me cry with happiness, anger, and sorrow all at the same time. I’m concentrating on being grateful that it’s your voice finally telling this story. Add me to the list of those who have never met you in person. I’ve been thinking of you and Willem and the kids every single day, and will keep you in my thoughts in the days to come.

    leftie

  50. For a few days I really did not think i would ever see your writing again. I asked everyone I knew to pray for you, even posting on the SAA….I know you have been put through more than anyone should have to go through. Having said that, I knew that if anyone could make it through all of that, it would be YOU. I am so proud of you. You made it back, and you do need to punish those who treated you less than human. Seriously, dogs get better treatment. It makes me want to spit fire. I have one question…how did this infection begin? Do you think the pressure of the vbac caused a wound to open, and germs spread from there? I just cant believe you made it through a vbac only to face this horribleness…it makes me sick. Take things slowly, and hold on to the good. Certainly punish those who have done wrong…i dont know why things like this happen, only that you will be a stronger person for it in the end. All my love to you and your wonderful family. You know where to find me if you need me for anything. Today is a GOOD day.

  51. Your story SO illustrates the horrid state of both pain management understanding AND maternity care here and what happens when they intersect. When Rebecca was born, I had been on medication for the severe pain that my pre-eclampsia was causing. Round-the-clock pain “management.” And today, she is an honor student in spite of her awful beginnings. Bonding, for those of us who have had life-threatening complications, is different, but oh, yes, it STILL occurs. And Isaac and all your family are surrounded, blessedly, by love, which helps so much in the healing process. We were pretty isolated, it’s a bit harder but healing still DOES occur.

    The apparent judgemental attitude of the staff artound you and Isaac nearly cost your life. This is a “sentinel event,” reportable to the Joint Commission. You and Willem and people you trust have to sit down and discuss this and make some very hard decisions. It’s the last thing in the world you should have to do at what should be a joyous time, but I’m guessing that you will have the inner strength to do whatever you decide in terms of handling this.

    Kate, it is such a relief to hear your voice, intact, after going through this nightmare. You’re right, MGH is one of the best places in the world — I did some teaching there years ago and still have friends over there. I hope they do WHATEVER they have to do for the most aggressive rehab, so that you are truly ready to go home, care for your kids, get to know your son, and recover your body and spirit.

    Hugs to you all, and may I say? You’re a STUD, returning to (a shadow) of your former self, as articulate and thoughtful as ever. To come through what you’ve been through (and I know, both from the medical side and in some ways the patient’s side) and emerge to write this post, is a true miracle.

    We will do whatever we can to help you, from wherever you are. Hugs to you all, (gingerly for you),

    ~ Audrey

  52. I am so grateful to see your words. I cannot imagine the hell you and your family are going through. I’m typing through tears. Keep getting better, I still need my math tutor >.> and more seriously we all still need you around for a long while ❤

  53. oh. my. god. What an ordeal (I KNOW, that’s a huge understatement)

    So glad the worst is over, let the healing begin!

    Can’t even imagine what your loved ones were going through as they watched you go through this.

    Hugs to your kids and you and Willem. wow. just wow.

  54. I’m so glad to read this post and know that you’re coming out of this nightmare. I just don’t understand why they didn’t take you seriously when you were obviously sick. WTH? Ugh, I’m sure you will pursue this and get answers for yourself, and I’m glad you have such good friends and family around you now.

  55. Wow.

    I am so glad you’re back…I missed you like crazy cakes. Words cannot even begin….

    Take care of you.

    Love, k

  56. Holy crap, Kate!! You are the definition of a remarkable woman…..WOW!! Unbelievable!! My positive thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to you and your family. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this nightmare. Keep strong and good luck with the rest of your recovery. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you….ginormous and gentle (((HUGS)))!!!

  57. What happened to your feet and how is that related?!

    scary.

    • My understanding of the illness Kate had is that it’s very systemic, and a potential outcome is gangrene in the extremities. She’s very lucky her hands are OK — and can you imagine a world with no more lovely Kate knitting creations!?!

  58. So happy to see your words. I wish you all the best for your recovery and the battles ahead with whichever course of action you choose to take with the hospital.
    I will now continue my sniffle-y teariness from hearing from you, sitting at my desk at work!

  59. First of all, I am so relieved to know you are OK.

    AND I am very angry about everything you went through. My God.

  60. Kate I am so, so happy that you are on the other side of this ordeal and on the mend. It is great to see you back online – I am also so sad (your story brought me to tears) that you and your family had to go through all that – medical staff really need to learn to listen to the patient.
    I wish you a very speedy recovery, and that you get home with your lovely family very soon!

  61. I’m speechless. And grateful beyond words, if I had any, that you made it through.

    And I’m sorry to say it, because it will consume a huge amount of life force and you need it elsewhere, but you seriously, SERIOUSLY need to go forward with a malpractice action. Find the best-respected med-mal firm in your area and let them do their thing.

    Pulling for you. xo

  62. What a complete nightmare. I’ve been so worried. You are so strong and wonderful.

  63. Kate, I have been thinking of you and praying for you since we found out what was going on. You are in my heart, thoughts and prayers still. I cannot imagine the pain and unspeakable anger you must feel. I am so thankful you are alive and I Thank God that you are strong enough to handle this. Thinking of you.

  64. Thinking of you and your family.

  65. It is wonderful to hear your voice again, Kate. I have been thinking of you constantly since Isaac’s birth, and am horrified to learn what led to your illness.

    You’re right, Willem is a star, and I am beyond pleased to hear how supportive and present your loved ones have been for you. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers while you are on the road back.

  66. Aw, Kate, Kate, Kate — I’ve missed ya girl! So good to hear from you! I know you’ll beat this the same way you’ve slayed every other dragon in your life – with that same fierce determination.

    I’ll continue to pray for you and send good positive energy to ya.

    (P.S. You should know we’ve all fallen a little more in love with Willem…)

  67. Oh man. That sounds horrible. Sending you lots of prayers and healing vibes. xo

  68. I got connected to your blog from Heather G. and just am in shock of all you have endured in the last few weeks. My heart aches for you and prayers are coming your way. Look forward to hearing all the improvements you make in the near future!

  69. Kate,

    You have been in my thoughts and prayers. I am very happy you are doing better.

    ~Heather

  70. I am so relieved to hear you’re ok-ish. I hadn’t left a comment before now because I thought you’d be overwhelmed and now look, I’m, like, 71st. What an awful, horrible, scary ordeal. I don’t even know what to say, other than thank goodness things have turned out the way they have.

  71. Hi Kate,

    You don’t know me; I found your blog page which was included in a prayer request from one of your friend’s Facebook page. I’m sorry I don’t remember which friend. Anyway, I’ve been praying for you and your recovery, and I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend. God does Great Things when you ask Him to! I’ll continue to pray for your recovery, and the recovery of your family to you, and whatever comes next in this journey of yours. Hugs, Karen 🙂

  72. OMG Kate I’m in shock. When my laptop crashed and burned all my favs were lost. I haven’t been keeping up. Congrats on new baby joyful. Death to the idiots who def committed malpratice(my opinion). I was taught in nusing school never to ignore new or acute pain in post partum women.

    I’m glad you’re alive. I’m postal about what happened. Good thing I live 3000 miles away.

    Love and prayers.

  73. […] I was recovering from 2010’s medical insanity, we hired L, initially to be a mother’s helper in the hours between school and dinner, when I […]


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