I woke up from a coma, about a week later, DIOS MIO!! What a terrible experience! I wished I wouldn’t have opened my eyes again, but I did, and I had to confront the cruel reality. I remembered I was in a very dark, and small room, a couple of souls was there with me, my sister and her husband, I think. I tried to move, I couldn’t, I tried to get out the bed, I couldn’t, and when I tried to speak and ask what was happening, I couldn’t do that either. I started to cry, but I couldn’t cry out loud like a normal person, only moaning and big, ugly gestures were showing. It was such a devastating, frightening and miserable situation, I can’t describe it, like a nightmare! I was feeling so sorry for myself, thinking my life was over, and I turned into a living vegetable. I couldn’t look straight, my neck was all messed up, twisted like when a chicken gets killed by grabbing it from the head and spinning it around. I wasn’t able to stay lying down on my back, because every bone of my body hurt. I had to be only on my right side, and my head was in the opposite direction. My only way to communicate with them and answer back and forth any questions was by blinking my eyes.
I couldn’t breathe, so a tube was put in my neck to help me get enough air in my lungs. A feeding tube was inserted into my belly, as well, because I couldn’t eat, or swallow anything. After nearly, a couple of months, the hospital told my sister and beloved mother, who came in to see me at the hospital, they couldn’t take care of me anymore, they had to, either, send me back to Mexico, or look for another place/hospital that would take me in. They found a hospital, that accepted people like me, in the city of Berkeley, so I was sent all the way there. I was discharged from the hospital, Memorial Hospital, of Santa Rosa, around September 2003, maybe, while I had a UTI infection.
I had a terrible time in the hospital of Berkeley, I don’t remember what was it called, or the name, I just know if my family didn’t get me out of there, I wouldn’t be alive today! The UTI was spreading very fast, because I wasn’t cleaning, bathing, and suctioning the flame/mucus from my neck, as often as required, so it was consuming me quickly. Luckily, my family found a hospital in the city, of Healdsburg, ready to take me in. I got transferred a couple of months before the end of the year, when I arrived at that hospital, the UTI was so bad, it was all the way up to my neck. The very first day, they took care of it, cleaned it and changed the collar, suctioned it, and treated me nicely! I started to get better and the infection soon disappeared.
The year of 2003 hit the final day, and I was going to spend the arrival of 2004 in a hospital bed, alone and unable to celebrate, or do anything. HOW SAD! I don’t wish that situation to my worst enemy. As time traveled, I got better, it didn’t seem like, but I did, and v the infection went away. There was in the hospital a young nurse assistant, or how are called, CNA, he was very nice and smart. He started sitting me in a wheelchair and figured out a way for me to communicate with my family and friends. He attached and taped, a laser light on a baseball cap, and a letter board with the alphabet posted on the wall in front of my bed. That way, I could wear the baseball hat and point to the alphabet letter board, when necessary.
In 2004, the desire to learn English started to grow in my head, but I had no idea how to begin, my options were very tight. I started reading a bilingual dictionary, one with English on the right side and Spanish on the left, or vice-versa. I had my bed elevated from the head all the way up, so I could be in a sitting position and placed the book on my lap. The nursing staff put the call button under my chin, it was a round shape pad, so I could press it whenever I needed the page flipped over. The social worker of the hospital, sometimes, brought bilingual magazines and read them to me, she was very nice! Surprisingly, I was absorbing some words very quickly, I wasn’t a “burro” 😂 ! When I was a little kid and go to school, the smart kids used to call “burro” the non-smart ones. I was able to learn enough English to communicate with my nurses and nonspeaking Spanish people. They had terrible times trying to put together sentences and decipher what I tried to say, I didn’t know much about grammar, but I didn’t care, I felt pretty good about myself.
I had over two years since my unfortunate life almost ended, yes, it was the beginning of 2006, so quick, right!? They at the hospital purchased a laptop, pc windows HP, and a baseball cap with a stick attached to it, so I could poke the keyboard with it. I have never had anything like that before, I thought it was AWESOME! I had no idea how to operate a computer, TURN IT ON, I didn’t know how! Technology was the first time I learned about that stuff, and I LOVE IT. It was quite difficult to hit the keys from the keyboard with my wand, Oh jeez! I took several weeks, to get the hang of it, but I did it. I was so desperate for a taste of food, suck candies and lollipops, and drink a coca-cola with ice cubes in it, but to my unfortunate being, that was a NONO! I am so happy to say that, “miracles” are indeed amazingly true, and happened when you hold on to your faith in God for real and never let go.
One day, after I had a shower, a nurse came into my room, she was going to change the collar for the tube I had on my neck, Tracher, to help me breathe, but she couldn’t, because I had no such tube; it was hanging completely off my neck, and I was breathing normally without it, WHAT!? Then the same thing happened to my feeding tube, it sprout off my stomach one night, “it could’ve been put back in by the nurses or a doctor”, you may say, I couldn’t agree more. However, they weren’t able to do it, they were thinking about sending me out to Santa Rosa hospital, but it was during the weekend and for some reason, they couldn’t. Since I knew a couple of words in English, I was bugging them constantly to feed me real food and water, so they agreed to ask for the speech therapist to evaluate me, and she did. I almost flunk, but I did it, I was able to swallow! I started getting fed by the nurses, pureed food and thick liquids, NOT very tasty food, but I was very excited about eating again.
Because I could eat, drink, and breathe without the Tracher and feeding tube, the hospital couldn’t keep me with them anymore, I had to go to a nursing home. It was a bittersweet excitement. I loved my nursing and all the staff members, but I was so excited to get out of the hospital.
It was the last few months of the year, 2006, when they were trying to find a place for me to go. They found a nursing home in Sonoma, California, my sister, and her family were living there, so they thought, it would be good for me to be close to family members, it was called, London House, at the time. I was scheduled to leave Healdsburg hospital sometime in January 2007. I was wondering what a nursing home was, I never heard that name, or seen one before, it was going to be a completely new experience for me, so I asked what was that. I was told that it was a big facility where many elderly people live in because of age, or health problems. Also, they said, a nurse was in charge to take care of a lot of people, at the same time. I got a little nervous when I heard that, but I thought, what could be worse than living in a hospital!?