July 4th 2007 - A Fateful Holiday

by Glenda Whittington
(Woodridge, Illinois)

Thank you for your beautiful story, Glenda.

Thank you for your beautiful story, Glenda.

Hi - July 4th 2007 was my fateful holiday while visiting family and friends in WI. What I was feeling that day and the night before was unquenchable thirst.

I was up during the night looking for something cool to drink, but yet I only wanted more to drink. So that I would not disturb others who were asleep, I would fill a pitcher from the kitchen with ice and sip water all through the night but wake up on occasion to take large gulps of it. It was the night before July 4th and I was excited about the holiday and time with family and friends.

During the next morning, I felt I had a flu with sore throat. Oh no! I didn't want to be ill on a holiday. I remember moving toward the bed and lying down, and my friend Iona (I call her Mom) came in with some juice that she obtains for her adopted challenged daughter.

Thinking about it now, I know that the juice contained sugar but my friend was doing what she felt was right to help me. She was holding the glass for me as I became so very weak.

That's all I remember.

My family and friends had already planned activities for the day, but I stayed in due to feeling so bad. I remember my brother was mowing the grass outside the window. I was thinking just how kind he was and how much he helped his mother with things. I was proud of him and how much he loves her.

I did not know until later at the hospital in Duluth that I had to be air-lifted over to a local hospital in Spooner but was then taken up to Duluth for surgery. As it was told to me, I had a badly infected gall bladder which needed immediate surgery.

I wonder now if that was part of it all, having more weight than I should have. I knew it was pretty bad, but I am a person of strong faith, and I wasn't afraid.

It was just that this was my second illness, as I had journeyed through having ovarian cancer starting in 2005. I had started a walking program but found myself in pain and was very weak.

Now I was back in the hospital on a second journey. Kind nurses who became friends later on were all around me two weeks later when I woke up. The faces I saw when I woke the first time were my friends looking down at me with sadness in their faces, as in their minds I might possibly leave them. I said to them "I'm o.k." so they wouldn't worry.

But it was a long journey to heal, to learn how to walk again and to use a spoon. I just loved St. Pete's Hospital. It became a large ship I was traveling on, and everyone felt like family.

The director of the hospital put me in a room with another long-term patient, and we talked and shared our experiences.

Family brought little gifts and flowers. I was glad to have so much space, and it became my temporary home! RN's and CNA's spoiled me. I just fell in love with all of them. Look what they had to put up with!

It was difficult to bring down my sugar levels, and I became very tired of liquids! I wanted real food. The month became a challenge to me with so much work to do.

My brother traveled hundreds of miles back and forth to be with me until I could to come home to Illinois. This is the dutiful soldier God put in my life; he has rescued me more than once!

I am happy to have survived those two crises. God surely must have plans for me. I am glad to be alive.

I do have damaged nerves, I feel, and fibromyalgia with a lot of pain. My legs bother me a lot, and my left leg from the knee down is numb. Doctors here have not acknowledged what I am going through, and I have changed doctors many times.

I go to a doctor now who so far is the best out of all of them. I am grateful to have some acknowledgement at last that I do have pain.

As I continue on this journey, my hope is a little higher. I search to find something I can offer to others. Pain does stop me from doing a lot, but I push forward. I do have depression a lot too, but I feel hopeful.

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