"Tychicus will tell you everything." Ephesians 6:21

September 7th, 2017 by Dennis Fuqua

A blow by blow of “The Incident”

My life was significantly altered by an “incident” between March and July of 2017.  Here is a record of what happened.  (You have no obligation to read it all!)  🙂

February 8 – I felt very tired in the evening, like I was getting sick.

February 9 – I was very exhausted and in bed nearly all day.  I only got up for 2 hours.

February 10 – As I got into bed, I felt a very sharp pain about 8 inches under my left arm pit.  About the size of a silver dollar.  I simply found a comfortable position to sleep in.

February 18 – This pain continued but only at night, and is spread across the front of my rib cage.  So, I went to “Zoom Care” for tests.  They did several tests and said they saw nothing unusual.

February 19 – At their suggestion, I had x-rays of my rib cage done at another Zoom Care.  These also showed nothing unusual.

February 20 – March 12 – The pain continued and worsened, but still only at night.  I took over-the-counter pain meds at night, but still facilitated 2 Prayer Summits.

March 12 – I preached my last scheduled sermon as Interim Pastor at Hockinson Community Church.

March 13 – The pain increased and was now no longer limited to nighttime.    I began to feel incapacitated.

March 14 – I saw my primary Dr.  He did blood tests, gave me pain meds and called for a C T Scan.  Scheduled the scan and had it done within a few days.  Pain grew.

Because of the results of the scan, the Dr scheduled a “CT guided liver biopsy.”

I also went to a chiropractor a couple times, but received no relief.  Much pain during these days.  Every day, all day.

March 24 – Did the biopsy.  Results were delayed because they wanted a second opinion from U of W.  I never have heard the results of this biopsy.  They only told me it did not reveal anything significant.

Still incapacitated.  Could do very little work-related things.  During this time, my right foot also began to swell and hurt.  I thought it was another bout of gout.  It became very painful as well.   A total of 5 ministry trips were cancelled during this time.

April 3 – Because I was down to my last pain pill, I called the Dr to ask what we should do.  He told me to come in for more blood tests.  Did so.  He prescribed more pain meds.  At 4:30 that afternoon he called and was very direct.  “Go to the emergency room right now…  Your white blood cell count is out of control.  Your body has major infection in it.”    By 5:30 Marilyn and I were at the emergency room.  Another CT scan.  By 7:30 a very young Dr told me “I know what is wrong with you.”  I said “Great!”  It had been 6 weeks of wondering by now.  He said, “It’s not so great…  You have an infection in your T 4&5 vertebrae.  You also have staph infection in your blood.”  They wanted to do another MRI, but it was too painful for me and I refused.  They moved me upstairs to a room by about 10:30.

April 4 – They did the MRI and another CT scan as well as an EKG and other tests.  They also began an IV line with serious antibiotics.  Typical hospital stay with pills and needles, visitors and food, doctors and nurses, etc.  Marilyn, my son, Josh, and my sister, Darlene were especially helpful during this stay.  This is when my addiction to opioids began during this time.

April 5 – Birthday at the hospital.

Soon the IV became quite painful.  They moved it often.  Within a few days, I developed blood clots in my left arm from the IV.  So, they began giving me blood thinner.  This continued for three months.

April 10 – They inserted a PIC line in my upper right arm.  This remained for 2 months.  The foot pain lasted until after I came home from the hospital.  Drs were looking at this and treating it as well.

April 16 – My blood work showed I was good enough to go home.  There’s a full story here, but I was whisked out of the hospital so quickly that I went home in my hospital gown!  By now the pain, which was very intense at times, turned more to exhaustion.

April 16 – May 20 – Convalescing at home.  My brother brought down a “sleep number” bed with adjustable back and feet.  I was in this bed most of the time.  I needed to have the antibiotic bag changed every 3 to 4 days.  Seventeen trips in all (Till June 9th).   This was nearly all the activity I did.  Josh was with me a lot.  He was a great help to me during these days.  I did go to a few other Dr appointments.

May 20-25 – This was my most difficult time.  The pain had turned to complete exhaustion.  During these days, I was more tired/exhausted then I have ever been.  In bed, doing nothing, all day long.

May 24 – Bag change.  Later that afternoon the infection Dr’s assistant called me saying they were looking at my charts and felt I should be feeling better than I had been.  He mentioned he thought my liver was reacting to the antibiotics.  So, they wanted to change the formula.

May 25th – They changed the formula.  I remember being so exhausted that I could not even talk on the phone for 30 seconds.

May 26 – I felt the difference overnight.  I could feel myself regaining a bit of energy.  Friends from Gig Harbor stopped by for a visit on their way home from California.  I was feeling better, but they left feeling very concerned for me.

June 8 – The infection Dr said the infection was gone.

June 9 – PIC line removed.

Middle of June –I began to cut back on pain meds.  I began to reduce the amount from 120 mil per day.  Began coming back to the office a few hours per week.

Middle of July – Blood thinner stopped and free from all drugs.  But I was clearly addicted.  I had hot flashes for a few weeks.  I also had some (mild) withdrawal symptoms when tried to reduce too quickly.  As I got off the pain meds, I began to feel the pain in my back.  Two drs said my T 4&5 vertebrae are fusing together.  This could take up to a year or two.  I need to sit in a supportive chair or my back will give me a dull pain.

End of July – We did cousins camp!  We did modify the schedule a bit because of me.  And Marilyn earned more gold stars for the extra work she did!

Middle of July till end of August – Worked to regain energy.  Began walking a mile per day and doing some other mild exercises.

September 1 – I have declared that I “officially” have all my energy back.  (Well, okay, I may not have had all that much energy before all of this, but I do have all that energy back!)  But I still do have to favor my back.  I am praying and believing it will be fully restored soon.

I am so very grateful for the care I received from many people!  People volunteered to help in many ways.  It was amazing and a bit overwhelming.  People gave money to IRM and to us, personally, to help with lost income and medical expenses.  I felt God’s love expressed to me in so many ways!  Many stories about this.  I am both very humbled and grateful!


One Response to “A blow by blow of “The Incident””
  1. What a fight and what warriors (you, Marilyn, your prayer supporters)!

    Reads like the outline for your next book…

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