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How Camping Saved My Life

The journey from a hospital bed to nature


“We have to put this catheter in now.”

I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t say, “Hey wait, I am awake and can feel that. Are you sure?” I couldn’t refuse treatment, because I couldn’t speak at all. I couldn’t protest when I heard, “We are a teaching hospital and our “student” is going to practice putting this into your vagina, okay?” 

I had no choice. 

All I could see from lying flat on my back with my legs spread wide, was a familiar man’s red face, and he looked scared, or more accurately terrified. This 6’ 2” muscular, shaved head, nothing gets-to -him man whom I loved, was crumbling right before my eyes. Ironically, I thought he was the stronger one of us two but by the look of fear in my husband, Rusty’s, eyes I knew this night had taken a hard turn.  Tears started rolling down his face as he feigned a half smile to somehow let me believe everything would be okay. 

But it was far from okay.  Something was seriously wrong for a relatively healthy, 28 year old woman to be in this state. I was a powerhouse who could always manage it all and take care of myself emotionally, physically and financially. I was beyond this sort of nonsense, but it was happening, and it was beyond my control.  Everything from the eight people moving around me like a well oiled machine to being rolled from one room to the next, scan after scan - first brain then heart - was beyond my control.

So there I lay, with a catheter in me, that the actual nurse had finally inserted after multiple botched attempts, staring blankly at Rusty who in our six year marriage had never shown a more scared side of himself.  Oddly, I wasn’t thinking about the catheter. I was wondering how the hell I ended up in the hospital in the first place. Drama was not part of my life. Why was this happening now?

To understand this less than desirable outcome, I need to explain how it all began.

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