My story begins as I struggle to balance life including working, being a mother and wife, and all of my other hobbies and interests. As the director of Memphis City Schools Coordinated School Health Department, I was responsible for overseeing the health crisis that our District was facing dealing with H1N1 flu. Before I feel ill, we had three children die from complications related to H1N1.
Somehow in the mist of all the chaos, I began to feel ill. It was a Monday night, our usual Board of Education meeting night. I was poised to give a presentation to the Board and general public on H1N1 prevention measures. I had not been feeling well earlier in the day, but I knew that I could not miss this opportunity to decrease the panic our community felt by providing all the information about what we, as a District, were doing to protect our children. Upon arrival to the meeting, I knew immediately that I was not up for staying the typical 5 hours until the end. Therefore, I requested with the Superintendent to be moved up on the agenda so that I could leave early.
Following the meeting, I went to a Minor Medical Facilityadjacent to my residential neighborhood. That's where I was told that I had kidney infection. I was given a prescription for antibiotics and was told that I could either go home and rest for 3 days with the medicine or (the doctors preference) I should go to the hospital to receive immediate antibiotics. Thinking it wasn't that bad, I chose to go homehellip;where ultimately, I got worse. I couldn't function at all. Given my state, I decide to go to the Emergency Room only to be told after an examination that I was already on the appropriate antibiotics for my kidney infection and that I couldreturn home.
At home, I grew progressively worse. I knew that something was not right and that I needed to get back to the hospital toseek medical attention. At this point, I was finally given a CT scan, which indicated that my infection had spread to my liver. I was told by staff that I would remain in the hospital. I stayed in the hospital a complete week on antibodies with serious excruciating body pains. Little did I know that I had become septic and that my body was about to completely shut down.
On Sunday night, after getting up to go to the restroom, I have been told that I collapsed from heart failure. My mother, a nurse, called code and the paddles were used to restart my heart. At 32 years of age, I was on life support (the ventilator) for five days. When I awakened on Friday it was to everyone's amazement that I had no brain damage and no signs of my near death experience. I remained in the hospital for 5 additional days; however, the doctors gave no clear explanation as to why I nearly died.
Today, my heart and other major organs have completely recovered. I survived and I will forever tell my story to help others understand the importance of one's health and wellness.