Michelle D. – ARDS Survivor

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Michelle D. – ARDS Survivor


Michele was admitted to the hospital on April 5, 2006 when she was 49 years old. She had to have emergency surgery at Winchester Hospital, in Winchester, MA, due to complete bowel obstruction and perforation caused by a hernia that was undetected. The result of this perforation caused her to become Septic. Michele went into a coma immediately after arriving at the emergency room, and she remained unconscious for seven weeks. She believes this hernia was caused by the gallbladder surgery she had 2 months prior. Michele developed ARDS, was put on a respirator and had to have kidney dialysis. Michele was on the vent for a total of three weeks.

Michele was released from the Intensive Care Unit after thirty days and sent to a re-hab with a tracheotomy. At this time, she was still totally unconscious. The staff soon recognized that Michele was sent to rehab too soon and she was transferred to another hospital’s ICU where she remained for another few weeks due to high fevers and infection. After, she was transferred to a regular floor for about another week.

Being in a coma that long without exercise left her entire body in a complete state of muscle atrophy. She then had to be transferred to another rehabilitation facility in order to try to begin to repair her muscles. It was not until July that Michele was able to return home only to end up being re-admitted to the hospital the following week.

Subsequently, she had to be treated on an out patient basis for numerous infections at her incision site. She was also admitted to the hospital again suffering from urinary problems which resulted in Michele being diagnosed with Intercystial Cystitis.

During her lengthy hospitalization, Michele developed multiple blood clots in both legs. She remains on coumidin therapy and have to have her blood checked at the hospital weekly as her levels have not remained stable.
Michele currently suffers from not only Crohns disease, but also extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, chronic de-hydration, Interstitial Cystitis, Pain, and severe muscle cramping from normal activity and movements. Michele cannot stand for long periods as she gets terrible back pain and also feels extremely weak and dizzy, causing nausea. Finally, Michele is not able to sit upright for long periods due to severe pressure, pain, and fatigue.

Michele is currently unable to work but keeps busy with family and friends in Massachusetts.