How did you realize you were sick? I am a US citizen, born and raised in Massachusetts. In 2006, I married my husband, Albert, and we live in the country of Bermuda. Albert was born and raised in Bermuda and with two elderly parents, it was just easier for us to live in Bermuda to take care of them since Al is an only child. In 2018, Al and I flew to Massachusetts for my 40th birthday at Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, MA, and was staying at a hotel just around the corner from that restaurant. About a week after the party, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and was admitted to Lahey Clinic in Burlington. 12 hours later, I was rushed to ICU where I went into cardiac arrest for 11 minutes. After reviving me with the paddles, I was placed in a medically induced coma for 2 weeks. It was during those two weeks that I was diagnosed with ARDS.
What was the toughest part about your illness? Recovery was relatively fast and normal. It seemed that every 12/24 hours I was turning over a new leaf. Within 3 weeks, I was at my mom’s home for rehab with a visiting nurse, PT and OT. Roughly 2 weeks later, my GP told me that I should be going to an out patient facility for PT because they have more equipment. However, the toughest part of this time was the guilt trip I put upon myself. I was apologizing for getting sick and putting my husband and family through hell. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. The other hardship was trying to sleep and getting on a sleep pattern.
How did the LEISHLine Financial Aid Grant help you? What was it used for? I was granted money for: utility bills, food, etc. I am so grateful for the money because my husband and I have been in financial hardship due to my hospital stay.
What is your message to other survivors? Don’t give up…you can do this! Yes, you will loose some hair, your skin will be dry and itchy, it will be difficult to roll over in bed, difficult to walk and take showers, but guess what? This to shall pass.
What is your message to people who don’t know the signs and symptoms of Sepsis, ARDS or TSS? For those who don’t have ARDS or TSS, educate yourself about the disease, make the patient comfortable AND meet or call your local state representative. Tell him or her about the disease. Push until your state representative spreads awareness of the disease, gets funding for the disease, etc. I did this in Massachusetts and my state representative is having a state ARDS awareness day.