Thankfully, my story has a happy ending. I know too many that have tragic endings.
Whether you’ve lost a loved one or had a very emotional experience that ended well, we need to process through our journeys. Being able to finally write it out is a part of my healing.
I hope in sharing, those who have suffered tragedy can find the strength to share their stories and thus find healing.
I'm always here to listen.
|This was right before we went to Urgent Care.|
When I said my wedding vows on May 11, 2012, I never expected the "in sickness" part to come so quickly, and I certainly didn't think I'd face "'til death do us part" for another 40 or 50 years.
But both came just days after we said I do. Kevin was sick with an ear infection the week leading up to our wedding day. After a few prescribed medications, he was well for the big day. Unfortunately, very soon after, his health went downhill quickly, and we went to urgent care where Kevin was given his first dose of antibiotics.
I vaguely remember a text from my mother-in-law about the need for Kevin to be careful with antibiotics. But I had only met Ronna a few days earlier, didn’t understand what she meant and didn't realize Kevin could have a reaction to medication that was supposed to help him.
Little did I know...
It only took five hours after Kevin’s first dose for his fever spiked to 103 and for him to become delirious. His fever never went below 103, and at times went higher, for two very scary weeks.
I knew Kevin felt the affects from his fever as he lay in our bed and had this conversation with me while I packed our bags:
Kevin - "Baby, you know what my three favorite words are?"
Me - "What lovie?"
Kevin - "I love you."
Kevin - "Baby, you know what my second three favorite words are?"
Me - "What baby?"
Kevin - "Lindsay Blake Grimes”
I packed our suitcases that night, drinking the bottle of Merlot I was supposed to share with my new husband, not having a clue how sick he had actually become.
Originally, Kevin thought he had a malaria relapse. Just three months earlier he caught malaria in Togo while doing medical care work.
We arrived back in Kona on a Friday, and on Saturday I took him to the emergency room because he could not keep anything down and made a permanent residence in the bathroom.
We told the emergency room nurses we thought he had C. diff or the medical name: Clostridium difficile. From the Mayo Clinic: "C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat."
Kevin unknowingly caught C. difficile when he had back surgery in 1999. In 2003, he took antibiotics for an infected toe, and was hospitalized soon after. He suffered three months in the hospital and had his appendix and gallbladder removed because the bacteria was beyond repair. They finally got it under control and Kevin figured the C. diff was gone.
The emergency room nurses hydrated Kevin with IVs, and took a CT scan. They released him just a few hours later saying the tests showed nothing. However, Kevin’s gut was in so much pain he could not walk.
|Coconut water is great for hydrating the body.|
It had been two weeks since Kevin took the antibiotics and a week since he left the emergency room, and Kevin only got worse. His still had a 103+ fever, he could not eat and he used the toilet often.
I became very concerned for Kevin and talked with our friends, Rog and Deb, who both came from a medical background. They highly encouraged us to see a doctor. We had Kevin's test results sent to the doctor’s office, and we took him right away. Upon seeing Kevin, the doctor said he looked entirely too sick to be just in a doctor’s office.
The doctor heard our story and looked at Kevin's test results; the same test results the emergency room doctor said looked good. The doctor in the office told us the CT scan results showed thickening and inflammation of his sigmoid colon wall (lower colon). As well as free form fluid (fluid in abdominal cavity that's not supposed to be there). There were also elevated liver enzymes.
The doctor thought that it was an infectious inflammation and possibly Krohn’s disease or some rare bug they hadn't tested for yet. The abdominal fluid had the doctor concerned about a bowel perforation, and said we needed to get to the hospital immediately. Unfortunately, in Hawaii doctors cannot admit patients into the hospital. We had to be admitted through the ER.
We arrived at the emergency room around 5pm on Wednesday and finally got a room in the hospital just after midnight on Thursday, May 24th - 13 days after we said, “I do” and two days after my 31st birthday. They took another CT scan and his whole colon was inflamed. They had Kevin on a high dose of pain medicine which made him loopy and confused with moments of unconsciousness. They had him on oxygen and a heart monitor because of the amount of pain medicine he was on.
|C. Diff is contagious, so I had to protect myself.|
The doctors would not believe us when we said Kevin had C. diff. I can't tell you how bad some of the care was we received at the Kona Hospital. One doctor, with a thick heavy accent from an African country, answered phone calls while he spoke “doctor” terms to me. He left before I could have him translate.
I asked one of Kevin’s day nurse if she could explain what the doctor said in simple terms. She was irritated and asked why she needed to repeat what the doctor already told me. I said politely (yes I was still being polite) that I didn't understand the terminology and wanted to know what he said about my husband’s condition.
She finally agreed and helped me understand what the doctor felt was going on with Kevin (which was incorrect in the end). However, she told the doctor she had to explain what he said, because he came in later and confronted me. In my husband’s hospital room the doctor yelled, "Why did you need the nurse to explain what I already told you?” I told him that I was flustered and I didn't understand the terms he threw at me while he talked on his phone. The doctor was upset and continued to yell at me.
Finally my super sick husband pointed at the doctor and very firmly said, "You need to stop yelling at my wife right now." The doctor lowered his tone but still kept questioning me. I finally asked what he wanted from me. Did he want me to apologize for asking the nurse to explain what he said to me?
He said no and walked out.
No one believed the pain that Kevin said he felt. Not until the GI specialist came.
|We had friends who loved us through this very difficult time.|
We didn’t see a GI specialist until Saturday, May 27th. When he looked at the CT scan and x-rays, he understood exactly what was going on, and knew exactly what needed to happen to relieve some of the pain Kevin felt. Not only did Kevin have C. Diff, but he also had colitis and ileus, and the GI specialist knew Kevin was in very bad shape.
Because Kevin's large and small intestine were blocked, the doctor put a tube into Kevin's nose that ran all the way into his gut. The doctor thought it would take at least three full days to clean our Kevin's insides. There was even talk of surgery. He put Kevin on more IVs with pain medication, antibiotics, nausea medicine and fluids. Because of the amount of medication Kevin was on, they also monitored his heart rate and oxygen levels.
The night of the 27th was the hardest. The night nurse told me I needed to monitor Kevin’s breathing. If he went below eight breaths a minute I was to call her. I had so many thoughts running through my head. Isn't eight breaths pretty low?! Is it my job to monitor Kevin’s breathing? Aren't you the nurse?
The nurses and doctors could not get a handle on Kevin’s fever. As a last resort, they pulled out a cooling blanket in hopes to lower it.
This was also the night the GI specialist pulled me out of the room to tell me they were preparing a room in the ICU for Kevin. I will never forget the doctor’s next words, “Honestly, we aren’t sure what will happen, and we’re afraid he will go septic.”
I knew the ICU was pretty serious.
And I knew the doctor’s tone and grim words were not reassuring.
I went back into the room and googled “septic”.
“Septic shock is a serious condition that occurs when an overwhelming infection leads to life‑threatening low blood pressure. The mortality rate from septic shock is approximately 25–50%."
I started bawling immediately. I cried out to God and told Him I didn't want my husband to die. I said it took me a long time to love someone and I would not do it again. I immediately wrote an email to my entire email list calling all the saints to plead for my husband’s life. We prayed for complete healing. We prayed that Kevin’s body would come into alignment with his original design and that the plans of the enemy would be over. I asked for peace over our hospital room and that Kevin’s fever would break.
That night I sat by my husband’s bed with my hand on his chest and counted the number of breaths he took every five minutes. I prayed, cried and pleaded for my husband’s life. I remember he got as low as ten breaths a few different times and once down to nine.
On May 28th, Pentecost Sunday, Kevin’s nasal gastric tube was removed. The GI Specialist said all the gas was gone from the small intestine and moved to the large. He said this would help with the inflammation that was taking place in Kevin’s colon and intestines. Another positive sign, Kevin’s fever broke.
I asked the doctor when he thought we could leave, and he said maybe by the end of next week.
|Speaking Life over Kevin & his room.|
During this whole process I prayed scripture over our room. Proverbs 14:30a, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” I believed as my heart was at peace and trusting the Lord, then that would speak life to Kevin’s body.
May 31st was day eight in the hospital. Kevin’s ileus was nearly resolved, but we were still dealing with inflammation throughout his colon and intestines. The inflammation was causing the majority of Kevin’s pain. He was off his oxygen and no longer needed his heart monitored. Kevin had received nutrients through an IV, and moved to a liquid diet. His pain was not manageable and he continually feels nauseated. His white blood cell count was going up.
Logic said we should have been in the hospital for weeks. But, we walked out of the hospital 10 days after Kevin was admitted. What a joyful day that was! Kevin was no where near 100% and came out of the hospital 20lbs lighter, but with all of his organs functioning.
There are so many miracle stories within this one story. We were in the process of applying for insurance when all of this happened. We were approved while in the hospital, and found out after we were released that Kevin would be covered for only 10 days in the hospital. TEN DAYS! The exact length of his stay. The Lord could not have timed it better. Our $20,000+ hospital bills were covered!