On May 8 of last year, I was hospitalized with double-pneumonia and fluid around my lungs. I had drainage tubes inserted in both sides of my torso to drain the fluid around my lungs. But, that was not all. A fistula, or hole, was discovered in my trachea. This allowed fluid to leak into my lungs from my esophagus, which caused the pneumonia and the infection that caused the fluid around my lungs. My pulmonologist, Dr. Eiseman, was unsure if the fistula could be repaired. I thought I was going to die. Luckily, Scripp's Memorial Hospital in Encinitas (in California north of San Diego) has a very skilled ear, nose, and throat surgeon on staff. Dr. Ling knew how to go about fixing the fistula.
The surgery involved removing some muscle tissue from my neck and using it to seal the fistula. It was a success. I was put in to a drug-induced coma for three weeks so as not to undo the surgery. On July 3 I returned home. Since then my recovery has been slow and frustrating. I have had a few setbacks with my trach. Scar tissue blocked my trach quite a few times; twice I stopped breathing and blacked out. Luckily, my mom knows how to use the ambu bag! The paramedics were called both times and I was rushed to the hospital. I have been hospitalized twice and been to the ER numerous times since returning home. I've become a regular at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas. They should name a wing after me. I lost the ability to swallow; I am fed formula through the peg in my stomach. Also, I am not able to talk most of the time. But, I am hopeful to regain my voice. I am determined not to lose my ability to speak. Although I have gone through many trials and tribulations over the last 10 months, I feel that my life is slowly improving. I am glad to have cheated death once again.