“Doctors told my family I had a 9% percent chance of survival.” Kim’s family fought for a second opinion … and it changed her life. misdiagnosis health
One misdiagnosis changed my life forever
They should say goodbye.The next couple of days were touch and go, but the nurse on duty said I began listening to commands, and I was taken off the ventilator because I began breathing on my own. I made it.When I opened my eyes, I was still out of it, but when I looked down, I saw that my hands were black and shriveled. Like burnt hot dogs."Why are my hands black?" I kept asking. I knew these were my hands because of my pink manicured nails, but I wasn't grasping the severity of the situation. I also wasn't coherent enough to understand what the doctor was saying: He wanted to amputate immediately above the elbows and above my knees (I couldn't see my legs at this time, but they had suffered the same fate) because
he said gangrene(dead tissue from the lack of blood) that had been brought on by septic shock was spreading.My family fought for a second opinion because tests proved that the gangrene wasn't actually spreading. I didn't know it then, but this was a huge deal for my quality of life: If the doctor amputated above the elbow and above the knee, I would need a caretaker.
The second doctor was open to waiting and saving as much of my limbs as possible. We agreed to amputate my hands from the wrist first, which meant that with therapy I could still do things like drive and shower. For my legs, we coated them insulfadiazine headtopics.com
— a powerful antibiotic cream — to help heal my skin and save as much of my legs as possible. It wasn't long before I felt a thrill of hope seeing a new patch of pink skin.I was beyond thankful for the second opinion, but I was devastated that I was going to lose my hands and legs. Equally devastating: My husband decided to
divorceme. I felt abandoned. I was crushed. But in retrospect, that dark place strengthened my determination to live an independent life.My hand surgery was in June of 2016, and in July, I went to rehab where I was fitted for prosthetics and learned to brush my hair and do other everyday tasks.
After rehab, I stayed with my sister for three months. Every day, we did the same routine: drove to the doctor's office to remove the dead skin from my legs and reveal the progress. The monotony was enough to drive anyone mad, but the process worked: We saved more tissue than originally thought possible. The doctor was able to amputate below the knees in the same spot on both legs, and in November, I became a quad amputee.
After the surgery, I was taken to a rehab facility. When the elevator opened, so many nurses and patients were there to greet me. I had this overwhelming feeling of calm — the weirdest feeling — and I slept through the night for the first time in a long time. headtopics.com
The next morning, I went to therapy early. I thought of everything I had been through — without my husband — and it made me fight hard. I saw a counselor twice a week, and before I knew it, I was in a motorized wheelchair zipping around the facility.I began forming relationships with the stroke victims on my floor. Some of them were
depressedand didn't want to go to therapy. I was the only amputee at the facility, and I realized that we were all connected through a traumatic experience, but they felt like they couldn't live their lives. I wanted to show them that they could.Read more: HealthyWomen.org »
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