Hello everyone. I am now on day 5 of this hospital stay and the fact that I am back here in Hospital San Jose is finally starting to really sink in now. As you can imagine, it is no fun at all to be back here. I keep saying it is like sending a Vietnam war veteran that back to Vietnam—its not somewhere you would ever want to go back to! But I guess in life, we just don’t know the plans that God has for us and why things happen the way that they do.
I do have to say that coming into the hospital this time has been a very different experience for me.
This time, rather than being rushed in by ambulance through the emergency room, on a stretcher and severely ill, I rode to the hospital in a wheelchair-accessible van and was admitted under the usual process via the international patient coordinators office. From there we passed through security and the waiting area. I was given a hospital bracelet. “Jessica Stevens. Room 845” it read. Same name. Same room.
I saw the gift shop where so many brought balloons and things for me, the chapel where I know so many prayers were lifted up for me, the coffee shop where my Mom got her daily supply of energy to take care of me.
As weird as it this sounds, this was the first time I actually got to see any of the first floor of Hospital San Jose. Before this I had only seen the ER, the ICU, the operating room, the hallway on the 8th floor and the inside of my room.
Let’s just say that a sure way of knowing that you have spent too much time in a hospital is when, upon arriving and giving your name, the security guard- who you have never met before—recognizes not only the name, but recalls what room number you were in!
The only thing that would have enhanced this experience would have been if the Cheers theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”, somehow, had begun playing in the background as I was wheeled upstairs.
I thought that coming back here, into this room, would give me major deja-vu and flashbacks to the year that I spent in here fighting for my life, but oddly, that has not happened.
It is so different..
The room is no longer filled with all of the signs and “get well” cards, pictures and bible verses on the walls. It feels empty. The ceiling tile directly above my bed has been changed and no longer has the same little crack in it that I spent so many nights staring up at, the couch that my mom spent each night asleep on has been changed from a green one to a new blue one.
Some things have not changed.
The smells and sounds are the same. The toxic aroma of the big bottle of “Ex-germ” hand sanitizer that burns your eyes and nose, the sickly sweet lemon scent of a freshly cleaned hospital floor. The infusion pumps whirring and beeping, nurses speaking in spanish over the noisy intercoms and the squeaking sounds their shoes make as they walk up and down the halls, clicking doors open and shut as they check on their patients, the sound of others suffering as they call for assistance…These things all remain eerily the same.
I have changed though. Every nurse and doctor who has come in to see me has told me that I look “super bien”- which here in Mexico means “very, very good!” They can’t believe the improvement I have made and how much better I am doing! The chief nurse told my mom and I that I was one of the most ill patients and one of only two that have stayed in this hospital for over a year. Most patients who come in here are treated and than ‘lost to follow up’- the nurses do not see them again and do not get to see their progress. They keep saying how my recovery is a miracle. Everyone can see how this treatment truly works and for me, has been life-saving. It is rewarding for them, and I definitely never get tired of hearing it!
However, even though this time I am not acutely ill, I am still acutely aware of all that can and has gone wrong with me while being in a hospital.
Mom and I are being extremely cautious- making sure that the nurses are washing their hands, wearing masks and using alcohol swabs each time before connecting a medication to my medi-port. I am having some pain in my stomach, but I am grateful to be here in the capable and caring hands of the amazing Dr. Cantu (who wore a Green Shirt yesterday…) whose knowledge of this illness is surpassed by none, who knows my body and knows how to manage this pain so that it does not explode into a full blown RSD flare up.
My surgery will hopefully be sometme later this week. I have been switched from my regular blood-thinner that I have been on for the large blood clot in my arm, Coumadin, onto IV Heparin. I am being given Vitamin K to try and get my blood-clotting factors into a safe range for surgery. A “safe” INR level to have surgery is between a 1.0-1.5. Mine is still higher than that. Please pray that this level regulates soon so that we can proceed with the surgery and I can get out of here.
Even though a lot of things about this hospital experience may be different this time, the people who are here-- both with me physically and for me emotionally-- have not changed. Room 845 is a healing room and this is a healing place. God is still in this room with me. He never left. He is here and is still in control.
Please pray for strength for my Mom. Her love for me is unbelievable. Her happiness depends on my health and my being back in the hospital is harder on her in some ways than it is for me.Please also keep my Dad in your prayers, as he is going back into the hospital for hernia surgery again tomorrow.
Please pray for Dr. Cantu and all of the doctors and nurses here, that they have the wisdom to do what needs to be done to get me well.
I especially ask for prayers that I have no infections to prolong my hospital stay. Any type of infection is devastating for my body and seems to re-trigger a lot of my symptoms. We cannot afford to have any of those problems again… We have come way too far. .Bring on the Ex-germ!
Thanks again for the love and prayers.
In God’s love, Jessica
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
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