Janet Fort

My story began on April 28, 2007. It was a Saturday and I had to work, which was rare. I went out the night before to my boyfriend's cousins house to play cards, so I was out late (not normal for me). I was tired so I went to bed early when I got home from work. I noticed that my upper right thigh was sore. I didn't think much of it because I have hidradenitis suppertiva, which is a swelling of the sweat glands that causes boils and cysts. I knew that I had one on the right thigh and didn't think much of it since I had been dealing with this condition since I was 12 years old. I stayed in bed most of the day Sunday and noticed that my thigh was hurting more and more. I felt bad Monday morning, but I didn't want to miss work so I went. At about 10am, I felt so bad that I called my daughter to come and pick me up. I went out in front of the building and almost passed out while I was waiting for her. I had to hold on to one of the building pillars for support. I should have gone to the hospital then, but all I could think of was getting home to my bed. The pain in my thigh got worse and worse. All I did was get up to go to the bathroom and the distance seemed farther and farther. I didn't have an appetite and kept painfully going to the bathroom with a limp. Tuesday, close to midnight, my boyfriend came in from work and I told him to call 911. I remember hearing the paramedics say my blood pressure was 54/22 and later I remember something about my blood count. They took me right to surgery. I barely remember seeing my daughter in the recovery room. I had a morphine pump. A few days later I was back in surgery for more debridement of the area. In the days and months to come I had five more surgeries (I think). One was on my left thigh for the hidradenitis since I had a painful area there (not NF), because debridement is the only way to treat hidradenitis when antibiotics don't work. So I had Vac dressings on both thighs and had to remain flat on my back. I had 3 or 4 blood transfusions and became anemic. I couldn't eat because some of the medication I was on caused everything to taste horrible. They eventually put a feeding tube in my nose , over my objections, so that I could get nourishment. The wounds weren't healing because I had become so malnourished. I must mention that I had never been sick or hospitalized, except for child birth 32 years ago. I had to have a colostomy because I kept having diarrhea and it was getting into my wound area and slowing the healing process. I lost 88 pounds. On August 26, 2007, I was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. The vac dressings had been removed, but the wounds had not healed. It was then that I found that I could not walk since I had been flat on my back for 4 months. I couldn't even sit up for more than 5-10 minutes without feeling woozy and ill. I was in Manor Care Nursing Home from August 26, 2007 until February 12, 2008. Emotionally, it was a real roller coaster. Besides my illness, there were quite a few other things going on. My house was foreclosed on (part of the current foreclosure crisis). It was the house that belonged to my parents and I grew up there. I lost by dog. To any pet owner, you can understand my pain. My daughter moved all of our stuff when we got a notice that the house was being put up for Sheriff's sale. Unfortunatley, the new location didn't have a pitt-bull ban, but it was a small locale and they were constantly harassed by the police there because of the dog and told to get rid of it. They took it to a friends house and began looking for a new place to move to. Somehow the dog got loose or was stolen (I believe). I didn't know about this until recently because they didn't want to upset me while I was so ill. I always wondered why they changed the subject when I mentioned Mandie and they didn't want to bring her to see me. I saw her only once about a month after my first surgeries. I had her 7 years since she was 2 months old. She wouldn't hurt a fly. While I was in the nursing home I was informed that my position at work had been filled and I would have to apply as a new hire if I came back. I had been with the company 14 years. Also, my live-in boyfriend who called the ambulance for me, never called the hospital or came to see me. My nephew evicted him after my second surgery. So 2007 was a year or losses for me. Both physical and emotional. However, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in October 2007, so now I am a grandma! I think knowing that my daughter was having a baby helped me get through this whole ordeal. I came home February 12, 2008 using a walker. I have been home almost 7 months now. I can get around the house ok but I still use a cane or a motorized card in the grocery store. I was able to get my colostomy reversed in May, 2008 and all went well. Since I have hidradenitis, I am very worried that I could get NF again since I almost always have an open cyst somewhere in my groin under my breasts. Like I said, I was never sick before. The hidradenitis is hereditary and a normal part of life for me. But the months in the hospital and having doctors and nurses tell me that they didn't think I was going to make it still surprises me. I knew I was sick but I didn't realize how sick I was. But there is a beautiful baby boy that knew his Nana would make it!