Tiffany Owens - Survivor
I am 35 years old and work as a hospice nurse. It has been a year since my battle began and I am still fighting to recover back to "normal". It was the end of July when me and my now ex husband signed our divorce papers on a Friday.
That Monday I had started a Z Pack and medrol dose pack for a sore throat, felt great that Friday. Saturday I woke up with a strange soreness in my left shoulder, general fatigue, and headache. I spent most of the day in bed.
Sunday I felt even worse with nausea,vomiting and fever added to the symptoms. Decided that afternoon to go to the ER. Diagnosis was dehydration and bronchitis, even though I had no respitory symptoms. I received two bags of IV fluids,
and another Z pack and was sent home feeling NO better. that night I went back and forth between having severe chills for up to an hour at a time and sweating profusely. Kept motrin in me to control pain and fever but was uneffective.
Woke up Monday and needed assistance getting dressed due to my intense shoulder pain and weakness. Was unable to put on makeup or fix my hair. I tried to drink as much as possible. I work as a hospice nurse and even my patients
could see how ill I was but I fought it and kept going. Took a nap after work that day and woke up to a 105 degree temp. Treated myself for fever and continued pouring fluids in. Continued with chills and night swaets. Tuesday I woke up in more pain,
unable to move my left arm but somehow managed to drive to work and see 6 patients. By the end of the day I was short of breath, unable to hold my head up and pale.
Finally I went to Er again. I was in Septic Shock, hadn't urinated all day, BP was 80/40, pulse 150 , Respirations 32 and in the most sever pain I ever felt. ER doctor and nurse were amazing and ver attentive.
They began explaining my course of treatment and informed me I would be staying a while. I was terrified and heart broken. They worked to raise my BP before anything else, got a central line in my neck, xrays etc. Spent 12 hours in Er before being moved
to CVICU , then the next day to ICU. They decided I needed a PICC Line in my arm at this point. Began receiving Morphine for the pain which took several days to get under control.
Was getting 4 different antibiotics around the clock. O2 dependent. Couldn't get myself out of bed or care for my personal needs. I was literaly dying and it felt horrible. Diagnosed with pneumonia and septic arthritis. My heart was affected making my ejetion
fraction 35%, normal is 60%. Finally convinced my doctor to let me go home after 12 days. Continued antibiotics and the pain was minimal. I could barely walk. I couldn't shower myself. I got short of breath just repositioning myself. For the next two weeks at home I spent
all of my time either crying or sleeping. I was so weak. I had no appetite and lost 25 pounds. 2 weeks in the hospital had me completely atrophied. I had been physically fit and active before this. Went back to work too soon, but couldn't sit at home any longer. Felt good to be back
and see my patients, but I was still weak. I had patients praying for me, send their chaplains to pray with me, and care givers coming to visit me. It was beautiful and sad at the same time that people I was caring for
as a nurse were doing there part to tend to me. Traumatized I would often sit in my car and cry before i could visit my patient because I had trouble coping with what I went through and how weak I was. I suffer mostly
now with anxiety, complete muscle fatigue after short activities, very poor activity tolerance, shortness of breath walking short distances, BP and pulse spikes, and abnormal bowel movements and other issues. I hide it as much as possible. At the end of some day I can no longer
stand as much , my legs just give out. I know I am luky to be alive. I look at every day as a blessingespecially in my work as a hospice nurse. I contiue to try to regain strength. I pray to keep my spirits up. I love the people in my life as much as possible
knowing how short life truly is. I can relate to my patients as they adjust to chronic illness that has changed their lives and created a new normal. My doctor says if I hadn't been so healthy before I wouldn't have made it.