Earlier this year I developed quite a severe pain in quite an uncomfortable area. Being the hypochondriac that I am, I immediately went to the medical centre where my worst fear was realised. I needed surgery. Immediately. And I was in Mexico.
This news was devastating! I had only just joined my new beautiful ship and had barely been onboard a month with my ever so handsome and caring Russian boyfriend, D. “Your health needs to come first” is what I kept being told. So despite my protests, that very same night I packed up my cabin and had to break the news to D that I would be disembarked in the morning and sent to the hospital. Needless to say this was not easy for us, just having gone 3 months apart from each other.
Early the next morning I went through immigration screening and was disembarked from the ship. The Port agent was a friendly Mexican named Gilberto who drove me to the hospital. He was the last person I saw who was fluent in english.
I was examined and taken to the operating room-which wasn’t the most sterile looking, and only closed with a curtain. But I didn’t have any options.A nurse came in and started speaking to me in Mexican, I tried to explain I only speak english. She pulled my arm and showed me a needle. She needed to insert an IV for the anesthesia. I have terrible veins which are difficult to locate and continually collapse, so I showed her my hand, which is where IV’s are normally able to take. She didn’t seem to understand this and proceeded to try find a vein in my arm. After 3 different nurses and six tries later the IV was finally inserted into my hand, my arm left black and blue.
Later that day I woke up in a hospital bed in sheer agony. The room was hella bright and cold. I looked over and saw another woman in a bed with her leg propped up with several silver pins sticking out her calf. The hospital experience was worse than the surgery and pain. No one could tell me much information about how my surgery went, my veins kept collapsing and my ward mate never turned off her light. In addition to her bright light she loved singing at 1am and pooping into a bedpan and leaving it bedside for hours. I was in hell.
On my third day in the ward I received a call from my father. It was 3 am at home. Something wasn’t right, I knew it before I even answered. “Ky my darling I have some bad news. Your brother has been in a car accident and has broken his neck.” My whole heart stopped. My lungs deflated and fear set in. He had several surgeries over the next coming days, and by some short miracle he was saved with no nerve damage.
Being far away from your family when you are ill and all alone is hard, but having a loved one in the hospital and close to death at the same time is uncomprehendable. Needless to say I couldnt wait to get out of Mexico.
My entire hospital stay was 7 days and then I was in a hotel for another 3 days before I flew to Florida to rejoin my ship and D. Joy Joy Joy! I was so happy to be going back and to have this experience behind me. Little did I know then that this was hardly the end and only the beginning to my life falling apart.
Three weeks back onboard. It was a sea day, I had terrible flu and I had 4 weddings to shoot. By the end of the last wedding I could barely walk and the pain coming from my surgical site was crippling. Back to the medical centre. My condition had returned and I would be disembarked again three days later in Florida. Packed up my cabin and said goodbye to D again.
Arrived at the hospital and taken into the ER, examined and told a dose of antibiotics should clear everything up. However it was discovered that my flu was in fact not flu but Metapneumovirus (a respiratory virus closely related to avian flu). Marvalous! So I was isolated and left alone, beside nurses coming in maybe once a day dressed in hazmat suit resemblance. After a few days I was released and sent to a hotel. This time though I was not returning to the ship. And as devastated as I was at the time, it was the best thing.
Arriving home was surreal, like I had just left-which i had. A couple weeks passed and though my virus had cleared up my surgical wound had still not healed and was still causing me pain and discomfort. I decided to go see a specialist. My condition had in fact worsened and I needed another surgery, with another one in the later future. The distress I felt, I cannot explain.
Whilst dealing with pain and sadness, D and I broke up and I was having battles with my insurance and the hospital. Surgery had to be postponed 3 times due to legal issues, as my insurer is an overseas insurer.
Today I am one week post op. The surgery went well, my surgeon was very nice and seemingly competent. I was in and out of the hospital within a day and lying in my bed at home waited on by my loving mother. The road ahead of me is very long. Huge lifestyle changes need to be made in order to ensure recovery and I am looking at my fridge full of fruit and veg and just wishing I could stuff my face with pizza, steak and chocolate. Instead I have a turmeric, honey, ghee and milk concoction to enjoy everyday. I am so depressed.
This condition has literally taken away my whole life. My boyfriend left me, I currently cannot work and have another surgery in a few months to look forward to. How did this happen? I wasn’t in bad health. But now my health is the only thought I have each day. I want my life back and in order to do that I have to get healthy.
Throughout all of this I do have something to be grateful for. The people in my life have been incredible. The handful of friends I have check in with me daily and keep things light hearted with their jokes and snap chats 🙂 My momma has been very helpful and my granna has been very concerned. I am also eternally thankful to see my brother up and walking and back to work already. This entire experience has taught me that people and health in your life, that’s what matters. Its what makes everything else happen and work. It gives happiness and opportunities. I promise myself to take better care of my health, for no one else but myself. With seemingly no drive within me, fingers crossed I can pull it together.