Well, July is fast coming to an end and that means my vacation is just about over. I will be back on the bay in earnest in August right into October! I have been enjoying time off the water (if that’s even possible) with family and friends but I am so looking forward to the second half of the season with my clients. Charters are stacked up – Stay posted:
On another note, I was very, very sick the end of June and the first two weeks of July. Here is my story:
The last few days of June I was on charter. At the end of the trip, I emptied out a bait cooler of fresh macks that we had jigged up that day. I rinsed the cooler with saltwater and then I closed it up tight and threw it into my truck. Several days later, I took the cooler out and said to myself, “I know I cleaned out that cooler…” So I popped the lid and instantly, a gush of hot, rancid, odors slammed me in the face and I felt it go right down into my lungs and even deeper into my diaphragm. It was almost like a forced air pushing itself deep down into my lungs. An odd sensation, I thought, like I had never experienced. I spit out to clear my throat, blew my nose and thought nothing more of it.
The next morning on charter, I was zipping across the bay at 5:00am with clients, feeling fine. Then, I got the hiccups and could not shake them. They stayed with me the entire trip. When I got home that afternoon, I still had them. I tried every home recipe I knew to make them stop. Nothing worked.
Fast-forward eight days later. I have started my summer vacation. I still have the hiccups, non-stop for eight days. I went to the doctors, told him my story. He gave me an antibiotic as a precaution. The next day, the hiccups got really bad and my diaphragm started convulsing. My hiccups went from single hiccups to doubles and triples and sometimes four in rapid succession. That night, things got so bad, I drove myself to the ER. They gave me a half-dosage of a strong medicine and kept me to see what would happen. At 3:00am, they woke me up, my hiccups had stopped and they sent me home. As I walked out into the hospital parking lot to my truck, they started right back up again. I kept walking and drove home, thinking they would stop. They didn’t.
The next day, day ten, I tried exercising (running, jogging, etc.) thinking maybe that would help. The hiccups increased and got progressively worse. My diaphragm started convulsing eight times in a row and then locking up, cutting off my airway completely for twelve seconds. I quickly jumped into my truck and drove myself to the fire station. The EMTS gave me some water, checked my vitals, and a short time later the hiccups stopped! I felt absolutely great and refused transport. I walked out of the fire station, did a few jumps around and felt great. I got into my truck and headed home. The hiccups started up again in earnest as soon as I got home. My airway was sealing off again, and I got back into my truck and headed for the hospital. A few miles down the road and my airway completely shut off for twelve seconds, several times. I pulled over gasping for air. I whipped the truck around and headed for the fire station. This time, they transported me.
At the hospital, the ER was packed! Forty people or more in the waiting area, every trauma room had people in it, and triage was lined up on beds up and down the hall. The head nurse asked the EMT, “what do you got?” The EMT said “hiccups.” The nurse pointed down the hall to the waiting room and said, “Triage!” They put me in a wheelchair and three hours later, I was still sitting there. My hicccups were still going strong, non-stop, but my diaphragm convulsions had almost stopped. I looked around, the waiting room was still packed with the same people, and I figured there was no way they were going to get to a guy with “hiccups” tonight. I checked myself out in the middle of the night and went home exhausted.
DAY 11: The hiccups are still going strong and getting worse. My diaphragm is in convulsions again – big time. My diaphragm is convulsing eight times in one and a half seconds, and then sealing off my airway. I could feel it getting worse and worse and ran for the truck and drove myself back to the hospital ER. By the time I got there, things were not good. They checked my vitals and I was strong. In fact, my vitals had been strong throughout for the past eleven days. That is what had the doctors and nurses stumped. All tests kept coming back negative. They sat me in a chair in the waiting room (!). A few minutes later, my airway was sealed shut and I jumped up and waved my arms and then grabbed the side of a counter as I started to fall. I could not breathe at all. Zip. But my oxygen levels were perfect so they could not give me oxygen. They rushed me down to the trauma unit and my diaphragm released and let me gasp for air. But then the same situation kept happening over and over. It was very scary. They ran all the tests, all came back negative, and they put a heart monitor on me and watched for my heart to slow or stop.
I was convulsing wildly at this point, the worse in eleven days. My airway kept shutting off and then (thank God) would release and I could gasp for air. My eyes were closed and I was praying to Jesus for help because nobody there seemed to know what to do to make the hiccups and rapid convulsing stop. I was spent, exhausted, and honestly was just waiting to pass out. Soaked in sweat and drool, my eyes closed, I just kept praying for God to help me. Two hours passed. I was in a bad and desperate state. Then, I felt a cold, hard sweat come over me, I felt like I was about to pass out, and I felt nauseous all at the same time. I took a breath and yelled, “NURSE!” Then, I felt my diaphragm lock up, I couldn’t breathe and my body tried to throw up but couldn’t. I was slumped over in a dream-like state, eyes closed, totally zoned out. Several minutes passed… I suddenly realized all my symptoms had vanished! No hiccups, no diaphragm convulsions, and my breathing was relaxed and normal. I was scared to open my eyes. And then I heard a man’s voice in my left ear: “David, I’ve heard your prayer.” I kept my eyes closed, overwhelmed that for the first time in eleven days, all symptoms had disappeared. I felt a total calm of peace come over me. I stayed slumped over with my eyes closed for about five more minutes and then very slowly opened them. There was an empty chair sitting by my bed to my left. A nurse walked into the room and asked me what happened? I told her, “everything stopped. All my symptoms are gone.” Another nurse came in and asked me, “what did they give you?” I said, “nothing. I was just praying my heart out to Jesus and suddenly everything stopped. All my symptoms are gone.” The nurse said, “I was praying for you.” Another nurse came in and checked all my vitals. All good, as usual. My eyes were glued to the clock on the wall. Ten minutes, fifteen, thirty, forty-five… still no symptoms. An hour, two hours… Other than being totally exhausted, I felt peace and relief. The doctor came in to see me and check me over. He must have had a dozen cups of coffee because he was fired up! I told him what happened and he said that he often prays as well for his patients. He said, “I can find nothing wrong with you and am going to release you.” An hour later, on shaky legs and utterly exhausted, I walked out of the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, and drove home.
In the eleven days of my illness, I lost twelve pounds. Stress level was through the roof due to my airway that kept shutting off, not allowing me to breathe. Fortunately, I did not lose a single day of work because this all started at the beginning of my vacation. If you are a person of faith, you will understand that God heard my prayer that night and healed me in that trauma unit. If you are not a person of faith, all I can tell you is, if you seek God, you will find Him. Put all your faith in Him and He will be with you.
I have been symptom-free for ten days now. I am feeling stronger every day and almost back to my normal self. I hope to get back on a daily exercise program again soon. One day at a time…
***A Wise word of advice about fish coolers: When you rinse them out, leave the tops OFF until all moisture has evaporated and dried up. The cooler that I rinsed out, had maybe a teaspoon of moisture in it when I sealed it up and left it in my hot truck. A bacteria was able to breed in the cooler. When I opened it, spoors rushed right up my nostrils and into my mouth and down into my lungs, almost like under a power of their own. Those spoors are deadly and they made me very, very ill. Thanks be to God, He cut their work short.