My short bio: I am normal 26 year old, living a normal life. I was in college, had a part time job and was excited to finally start journey to become a clinical psychologist. I started college late in my 20's, but finally found my calling. I was in my second semester of college, spring semester 2016, when , on April 7th, out of nowhere, I got really sick. I suddenly had the chills, horribly, and a high fever. I took ibuprofen, and I felt a little better, until the next morning when I had a horrible headache and started coughing. I checked my temperature and had a 102 fever, which I had years before, so I figured I could shake it; I was wrong. The next day I had a 104.5 fever, and I was extremely out of it. I decided it was time to go to the hospital. After a day in the hospital, I called my mom to talk about the food menu (I have never stayed the night in a hospital) and how I was. When I got off the phone, they gave me a nebulizer for my breathing; which didn't help at all. I started having a little trouble breathing, which went down hill fast. I started gasping for breathing, and called the nurse. She came in and immediately said she was going to get the doctor. I started freaking out, as minutes flew by and my breathing was getting worse. A nurse came in and stayed with me to help with my anxiety. After 15 minutes, 10 people came in, consisting of doctors and nurses. The doctor told me he was going to induce a coma, which I was ok with. They entered the needle and that's all I remember.

this next part I have no recollection of, but was told this from doctors and my family

My lungs had completely shut down and the ventilator didn't work, so a nurse had to pump oxygen into my lungs for 5 hours. They had to do an emergency tracheotomy, also. The doctor told my mom I needed and ECMO machine, which was an external lung machine that pumped my blood out of my body, added oxygen and pumped it back into my body. The only thing was, the only ECMO machine was in Penn Presbyterian, in Philadelphia; luckily, because of advancements in the ECMO, the hospital had a portable machine. The doctor flew over, with the ecmo machine and had to hook it up himself, for he was the only person qualified. After they hooked it up they flew me over to Penn; and I stayed there the remainder of the time. Through out the rest of the time it was aback and forth struggle for my survival.

I woke up a month and half later; which seemed like the next day for me. I was released from the hospital after a week and sent to a rehab to strengthen my leg muscles so I could walk again. The doctor, in the first hospital I was in, called my mom and asked if he could present my case to the Department of Medicine, to show how effective the ECMO machine is and how more hospitals should have it. He told me that my case was when the Swine flu goes horribly wrong.

I have made a full recovery, with a minor heart complication, which is getting resolved.

My Proof:

In the hospital before I was flown over to Penn -

When I was in the rehab -

This is me now -

Comments: 80 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

LouGnar25 karma

How much did all of your medical bills and up being? I am still in debt for staying in icu for two nights, couldn't imagine being in there for a month and a half!

abundanceofcreation59 karma

At first, the insurance wouldnt pay for the Ecmo or the helicopter. My mom called the governers office, in NJ, and the lady who ran the medical department got it all taken care of. I didnt have to pay anything.

FanOfGoodMovies10 karma

So would you tell anyone hesitant to get a flu shot
to get one?

abundanceofcreation29 karma

Oh yeah, get your flu shot.

Anyone who tries to talk you out of it, is misinformed or fearmongering.

JamesGoodall3 karma

I caught the flu two years ago. The doctor at the clinic that diagnosed it fucking told my girlfriend not to get the flu shot ever, cause they never get one and haven't caught the flu yet!

abundanceofcreation3 karma

Sadly, not all doctors are rational human beings.

People tend to hang on to an article that confirms their view, instead of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary


A_confusedlover9 karma

It's sad that you had to go through all of this, hope you recover soon. I wanted to ask that when you were so close to death, did you think about it? Did the prospect of never waking up again scare you or were you able to accept it? Death has always been a weird thing with me, i was wondering if others thought along the same lines....

abundanceofcreation22 karma

I was okay with it. I am not afraid to die, so when I was put into an induced coma, and even I did die, I wouldn't remember anything.

Everything has to die. Since some religions promote an after life, it has given people this notion that we may one day get to exist again. Since some think this, the thought of not living past this life, upsets some. If we didn't have this ideology, no one would be as upset with death, as some are.

xbk17 karma

Seems about as sick as one can be from flu without dying. Lucky you made it through.

My question: how do you feel about flu shots?

abundanceofcreation20 karma

I am an advocate for getting vaccinated, but I never have gotten a flu shot.

My family did and none of them got sick. The thing about flu shots is, even if a certain strand isn't in the vaccine, you wouldnt get that strand as bad as you would if you didn't get a flu shot. |

After this whole thing, I will get my flu shot, and I suggest that everyone do the same.

maschine016 karma

So you don't remember anything while you were under? No dreams feelings nothing?

abundanceofcreation20 karma

I had one horrific nightmare, of a devilish like man, with a British voice telling me I'm going to see each of my family members die.

The saddest dream I had was my ex, who, in my opinion, was that one girl I let slip away, was comforting me on my grandmother's dock, saying, "you'll get through this, I'll be here when you recover." When I finally did wake up, even though my family was there, It took me a while to get over that dream. It sucked that she wasn't there.

robot_destroyer3 karma

I have always been intrigued with what people remember from being in a coma. I feel like the dream with your ex sounded very comforting and peaceful. The devil man, I'm sorry you experienced that but I am so interested! I also sub to r/creepy so...

abundanceofcreation4 karma

I am right with you. I love dark shit; horror movies, black comedy, ect.

It was comforting, but waking up remembering she was with another guy wasn't so comforting.

Snowbank_Lake6 karma

I was in college at the time too. I remember people doing bar crawls with t-shirts that said "Swine '09." And there were jokes because Obama had just been elected and people said "They said we'd get a black president when pigs fly! Well, here we go... Swine Flu (flew)!" Did it bother you hearing/seeing people joke about it while you had actually been suffering from the illness?

abundanceofcreation10 karma

The jokes don't bother me because people are always trying to make light of tragedy.

While this wasn't a joke; after I got out of rehab my mom told me I punched a nurse in the face, while I was in a coma. I started laughing at how ridiculous it was.

Snowbank_Lake3 karma

That makes me think of that Kayak commercial where the doctor is doing brain surgery, and while he's in there, he's manipulating the guy's brain to make his hands work the computer for him. I imagine the nurse touching some nerve and your hand just coming up... smack!

abundanceofcreation3 karma

They said I was aware, somewhat, because the coma was induced, so my frustration of being restrained, resulted in a nurse getting punched. I have no recollection of this.

The nurses told me I was trying to pull out the ecmo machine so they had to put me in restraints.

tuckjohn374 karma

A bit of a different question here: What major change(s) happened in the world while you were in the coma that affected you the most? How long did it take you to adjust to the changes?

abundanceofcreation11 karma

I missed my brothers 24th birthday and, believe it or not, I was surprised to know that prince died. Other than that, not a whole lot happened.

-_-__--_-_--_-_----_3 karma

Why did you need the tracheotomy if the issue was with your lungs?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

The ventilator wouldn't work, and my mouth doesn't open wide enough to fit a tube down my throat, so the only option left was to put a trach in my neck.

Czcom2 karma

What was it like falling asleep and waking up 1,5 months later?

abundanceofcreation6 karma

It was like waking up the day after I was induced. Even when they told me I was out for a month and a half, it really didnt hit that hard. I was a little upset to see all the trees and plants were green because when I went nothing had bloomed yet.....

Dixzon2 karma

How is it that you almost died? You were young and healthy, right? I got the swine flu that year, and it was more or less a normal flu, perhaps more painful in the chest/lungs, but that's about it.

abundanceofcreation3 karma

My lungs had completely shut down. From when they induced the coma, a nurse had to pump oxygen into my lungs for 5 hrs before Dr Gucci, from Penn Presbyterian flew over in a helicopter with the portable ECMO. The doc said I had 2 hrs to live, if the ECMO didn't show up.

Dixzon1 karma

Why do you think it was so bad for you? Just bad luck? Prior lung condition? Compromised immune system?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

It was bad because I decided to wait until I had a 104.5 fever to go to the hospital.

Birdwatchingyou2 karma

What is your favorite species of bird?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

While I was in upstate NY with the family, I saw this bird dive in and out of the water and it looked really odd. I found out it was a Anhinga or snake bird.

MsNewKicks2 karma

I'm glad you made it. I'm sure this was one stressful situation for everyone from yourself, your family and the hospital staff.

What did the doctor's tell your family while you were fighting? Did they say it didn't look good, if it was wait and see or were they confident in their treatment?

abundanceofcreation6 karma

When my first arrived at the hospital, she was greeted by 6 doctors, which she knew was bad because you rarely can get a hold of a doctor. They were optimistic, but at the same time they said it could both ways. during the first few weeks i was bad shape; I had a high fever almost the whole time.

The thing that sucked for my mom was she went through this with her husband around the same age I am. He flew through a windshield and was in a coma fro three months. His brain reset and he had to learn how to do everything all over again. The doctors told my mom that her husband would not be the guy she married. So my mom was rally struggling......

abundanceofcreation4 karma

My mom told me that I really made light of how bad it was. My mom asked the doctor, "When do you think my son will be out of the woods." He said, " If he can get out of ICU."

drecio1 karma

Have you ever met others affected by H1N1 like yourself? In 2009 I got it and was in and out of hospitals and it ended up attacking my nervous system. I developed a type of Polyneuropathy and it really harmed the nerves in my legs. I am still learning how to walk again. Glad you're okay. Must've been hell

abundanceofcreation2 karma

I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with it. I have not met anyone else with H1N1.

ParentPostLacksWang1 karma

I had H1N1 too, but was fortunate enough that it didn't impact my lungs too badly. I was very, very out of it for about a week, and in total spent two weeks sick as a dog and another week after getting over the weakness and residual pain. People often don't believe me when I say I had swine flu, or try to minimise how bad it is, and I try to describe how it feels, to give them an idea that it's no joke. I say it was like getting the flu when you already have the flu.

So, my question for you is - how would you describe your experience of the flu before the lung issues properly kicked in - say compared to a normal flu? Also, do you now (or did you previously) get yearly flu vaccinations? Lastly, has this changed your outlook on sickness, and end of life / death and death care?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

I came home from college on April 5th, and I sort of had a headache, but it was tolerable, but out of no where I got really sick. The chills kicked instantaneously, which I've never experienced before. I suddenly felt really weak and worst of all was the coughing and the feeling of disconnect to the world. After two days of a raising fever, which got to 104.5 before I went into the hospital. It was a rough two days.

It's only been a few months since I've been out, and I haven't gotten my flu shot yet, but I will for now on.

The only thing that has changed for me is what I do in public places. After I go to a store I use hand sanitizer.

My view on death is the same; I am not afraid to die, even when I'm staring death in the face.

Everything has to die. Since some religions promote an after life, it has given people this notion that we may one day get to exist again. Since some think this, the thought of not living past this life, upsets some. If we didn't have this ideology, no one would be as upset with death, as some are.

GettingDatEPA1 karma

I contracted H1N1 as well during this time while I was in college. I didn't really have any harsh side effects, it mainly seemed like a really bad cold. The only reason I found out I had it was due to a friend getting diagnosed. I went I about 2 weeks after the bad part of what I thought was a cold was over and was told that I had it. Worst part was that I joked with a professor about it when I asked if I could skip a lecture because I wasn't feeling well. He still made me go to the lecture.

Anyways, did you have any preexisting medical issues prior to getting really sick? Myself and two of my friends had very mild symptoms, but we played varsity athletics in college and we're in pretty ridiculously good shape at the time.

abundanceofcreation2 karma

I didn't have an prior medical conditions. I was overweight, which raised my blood pressure a bit, so that could've contributed to the new heart condition.

ChiefGamken1 karma

Do you think you would have been better off going to the hospital sooner? I had H1N1, unknowingly, but we went to the doctor when I had a 102 fever and could barely walk. The doctor took a nasal swab, and the immediate result was H1N1+. He strongly recommended that I be checked into the hospital until the thorough 24 hour results came back (the results were also positive). They immediately put me on Tamiflu, Relenza, and a nebulizer, and I was released 2 days later. I guess you could say I got lucky, due to the intensity and outcome of others experiences, but do you feel the serious, genuinely life threatening, part could have been avoided?

abundanceofcreation1 karma

It wouldn't have been as bad if I didn't wait and got on tamiflu.

wyn101 karma

Did your job and college take you back? How hard was it getting back into rythm?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

The doctors wondered if id have any cognitive problems, but I dont, which is amazing. My mom knew the GM at my work, so she said I could come back when I was ready. I start college in Sept.

It wasnt that hard getting back into the swing of things. I took a few weeks of depression and anxiety; especially coming off all the medications I was on while in the hospital. Other then that I am pretty much back to normal.....It didn't take that long.

Albizzy1 karma

Gingers always live through the worst. I'm joking, but how much work did it take to get your leg muscles back in shape?

abundanceofcreation2 karma

It only took a week of rehab; an hrs each day working leg and arm muscles.

knick0071 karma

So what now? I saw you are going back to college. Are you going to study the same thing?

abundanceofcreation7 karma

Yea, I have to redo my second semester again, so that sucks, but we all face setbacks. I am still going to major in clinical psychology. I am more determined them ever.

givepositivecomments1 karma

Were you awake while on ECMO? Did you have a chance to move at all while on it?

abundanceofcreation3 karma

I was put on ECMO the same day I was put under an induced coma. I had it on for 3 weeks, so when I woke up I didn't have the ECMO hooked up to me. I was also paralyzed because you can't move while on ECMO.

However, it was hard to sleep with the trach in my neck.

124816321684211 karma

Is there anything that the ICU docs did or didn't do that helped you to deal with the psychological burden of being that sick?

Congrats on making it out btw... If you've been on ECMO you've been closer to death than almost anyone, and lived to tell the tale! Best of luck with college... If you can beat swine flu you can do anything!

abundanceofcreation3 karma

While in an induced coma they had me on propofol, but they couldn't get me out of the coma because I kept freaking out. The doctor called my mom and asked how my personality ways and my mom explained how I love a good intellectual debate/conversation and how I have a little bit of an anxiety problem

After telling them that, they dropped the propofol and put me on seroquel. After that, I started coming out of the coma.

ifurmothronlyknw1 karma

Did they say how you got it? How did they confirm it was really H1N1?

abundanceofcreation7 karma

I could have gotten from college, work, or anywhere else I've gone. The doctors in Penn had 15 other cases of the swine flu, that were just as bad as me and there was no connection between any of us.