Michelle Castle

First post: Apr 14, 2019 Latest post: Nov 28, 2019
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The last 6 weeks have been a lot and life changing. It started out as a cold which turned into an ear infection. And then I basically had every complication possible. I ended up going into the hospital on March 7th to Aurora Medical Center for most of the day and having basically every test possible. I was diagnosed with an extradural and subdural abcess, bacterial meningitis caused by streptocccus pneumoniae, mastoiditis, necrotizing vasculopathy and aphasia. They then transferred me to Swedish and rushed me to emergency brain surgery. The brain surgery was to remove the mastoid bone in my left ear as well as to try to get the infection that went from the ear into my brain. I got a super cool hair cut as part of the deal. I spent 2 weeks at Swedish and then was discharged home. While at Swedish I am so grateful for the care I received. It is more than I can say to have familiar faces taking care of me in the Neuro Critical Care unit and on the 10th floor. I started to do some therapy there being helped by occupational therapy and physical therapy and got some speech therapy homework that came home with me.

 My family was all there. My sister, Kate, was at my house by the time 911 was called and the  EMTs and fire crew were at my house and she followed me the entire time. She called my sister Mary and my Mom who both got on planes and were here the next day. My brother Frank from Florida came the next week and spent 2 weeks with us. My mom is staying here indefinitely at this point to help with the care and help me organize things. 

Since leaving the hospital, I've been at the VA hospital a lot, finally figuring out how to get therapy there which took awhile and was very frustrating. Now, I am doing speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. I am in still doing IV antibiotics for the next week and then hopefully will be able to take the PICC line out of my arm. The biggest deficits I have at this point are my right leg is pretty weak and my right hand is extremely weak. It functions less than half of what my left hand can do, so that's our focus for PT and OT. I also have aphasia and apraxia and so I am working with speech for both of those, To allow me to recall words and find the words that I want to say, =since I can't necessarily say the words correctly due to the trauma. 

At this point I am not working due to the injury and will hopefully be able to get back to where I will be able to go back to work.  It will be a long journey, probably about a year. I do have the prognosis of a full recovery with time.  I'm still on staff at Children's Hospital as a PRN chaplain and that is my big goal is to be able to get back to doing the work that I'm should be doing in the world. 

This week will be filled with speech therapy, physical therapy and seeing the infectious disease department. As long as they remove the PICC line, I will be able to  see my dog, Noctis, on Friday. I haven't seen him since this all happened and I went into the hospital. Kate and her family have been taking amazing care of him and he is loving being with the family and their shepherds and having the time of his life, but I miss him dearly. 

I will keep this updated with my journey, how I am progressing and my thoughts about what happened. I don't remember much of the first week in the hospital, it was filled with being confused and terrified. I now have a better appreciation of being a patient, as I experienced not being able to use the right side of my body or talk. As I progress I appreciate friendship, well wishes and prayers. And know that I appreciate all of you for being with me on this journey and helping. Even know my days are becoming filled with appointments, there will be times where I will need help and will reach out. As well as I will always welcome visits.

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