Elevated levels of troponen indicate a heart attack, so doctors suspect endocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart. I was also anemic, which indicates a chronic disease. Some doctors think it may be a connective tissue disease. Several doctors comment, “This is a real puzzle.”
My fever remained very high, as did the joint and muscle pain. Kim came and lightly put her hand on my chest. I rasped, “Don’t. I can’t breathe.” She called the nurse and I went from zero oxygen to the maximum: six liters. As doctors paraded in and out while I was getting worse, I thought for the very first time, “They don’t know what to do. I’m dying. I’m only 40 and I’m actually dying.”
To add to my list, I now had pneumonia. I had such a chest heaviness and shortness of breath. Doctors said that this pneumonia was not typical and they had to think outside the box. Doctors even looked for weird fungi from Arizona and China. Another MRI was looking at inflammation of the brain and lymphoma. Cancer along with bone marrow and lung biopsies were discussed with Kim, as well as heavy metal poisoning. Some doctors thought it was adult onset Still’s disease, but others disagreed. If they treated me incorrectly, it would kill me. However, doing nothing was also killing me. I was literally racked with pain from head to toe, chock full of inflammation, with stunning headaches. For untold hours, Kim put cold cloths on my feet and legs. My toes were swollen sausages.
I would want to see my boys so badly, who were 13 and 10 at the time. My parents would drive them the hour to the hospital, but I would be too sick to even see them. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I silently cried. Sobbing hurt too much.
When I thought I could take no more, I had a spiritual battle that was as tangible as the book you are holding.