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A Powerful Story of God’s Grace

Abstract:


I went to the hospital with extreme leg weakness. I was diagnosed with A-Typical COVID-19. Four months later, I was discharged with my right leg amputated, nerve damage in both hands, Stage 4 kidney disease and a powerful story of God’s grace.



My Story:


On October 24, 2021, I got up in the early morning hours to use the restroom. My legs were very weak. They had been getting progressively weaker over the course of a few days, but I attributed it to a general feeling of tiredness. It had been a very busy week with ou daughter’s volleyball playoff games, the demands of my growing business, and going to Pilates classes that I was committed to for improving my physical and mental health.


I realized on the way back to bed that I was unable to make the distance walking, so I crawled. Halfway back, I was intercepted by my husband, Larry.


“What are you doing?” he inquired.


“My legs are too weak, I can’t walk,” I replied as I lay sprawled on the bedroom floor, too weak to move another inch.


He told me he was calling an ambulance. He woke our kids, Nick (20) and Montana (17), to tell them what was going on and he asked Nick to call 911. He tended to me as we waited on the emergency crew.


I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t have a fever. I just felt weak.


When the fire department arrived, they did all the usual checks. Because we were upstairs, they asked if I could walk downstairs to get on the gurney. I did, gripping the handrail, followed closely by the paramedics.


On the bottom step, I got onto the gurney, the first of many over the next 4 months. What I remember most about that moment was the fear and questioning in the eyes of my children.


The ambulance ride was uneventful. They watched my vitals and asked me questions.


Upon arriving at the Emergency Department, they asked me to walk to a chair, where a nurse did my intake. At the time, questions centered around COVID-19. It was what was on everyone’s mind. They did a nose swab and I continued to wait. I really wasn’t expecting a positive test. I had no “typical” symptoms.


But wouldn’t you know… my test came back positive, and I was whisked away into an isolated room where everyone was dressed in yellow gowns and layers of face masks. It made me really sad and to be honest, annoyed because I didn't have the symptoms that so many others went to ED for. I was sure there had to be an error.


After changing into my own hospital gown and being asked more questions, the rest of my story fades away in my memory for nearly 3 weeks.


I don’t recall anything more from my hospital bed in ED. I’m told that I went downhill quickly.


I cried with intense lower limb pain. Within the first 8 hours, I went into septic shock and my body began to shunt (meaning the blood in my extremities began to divert to my organs to protect them). I was intubated for hypercarbia (not hypoxia). I was breathing rapidly and my C02 was low. The medical team was testing me for all kinds of things because they felt that my body was responding in a way that led them to believe it was bacterial, not viral.


Fortunately, my step-daughter, Lesley, is an ED nurse and was beside me for 3 straight days, being my advocate and support to my husband.


One story that I was told of the events of that first night when I was still in ED was, while they were trying to problem-solve, the doctor called Larry, who had gone home to be with our kids and try to get some sleep. It was in the very early hours of the morning and my team wanted to know what chemicals I had been using to garden or clean the kitchen. We later laughed about this, because I don’t garden and I stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. They were just looking for answers and grasping for something that made sense. Some of the doctors believed it was metabolic poisoning.


Larry contacted a few of my close friends to let them know what was going on. Erica came on the next flight out from Tennessee.


Within the first 48 hours of my being admitted, Larry and Montana both tested positive for COVID. They both received antibodies and were on the mend within a couple of days. Lesley also got sick with COVID and had to stay home for 10 days per her employer's protocol.


On the second night, I coded. My kids were covertly snuck into my room (COVID restrictions and Montana being under 18 prevented them from visiting me in ICU) to say goodbye to me. The crash cart was opened, having been used. I was on a ventilator and unresponsive. The dialysis wasn't working because my blood was still shunting to protect my vital organs.


The medical team was whispering that the end was near. Lesley assured them it was not and thankfully stepped in to tell them they would absolutely not be “pulling the plug.” The medical team kept asking Larry if he wanted a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). He adamantly refused.


As they were standing by my bedside, Nick screamed with overwhelm and sorrow, and my eyes opened! Hearing his voice woke me. I’m so grateful that God used him to get through to me! (ahhhh, that part of the story always makes me cry!)


I recognized my family, but at this point in the story, I still don’t remember any of this happening though I was responsive and communicating. God blessed me by shielding my memory from the horrors that were happening. I just wish that the same could be true for my loved ones!


I remember a dream where I was in a small dark room, working on a computer, when the computer flatlined. The image on the screen was what you’d see on a cardiac monitor when a person’s heart stops.


In the dream, I was stressed, trying to figure out a way to reconnect it so I could communicate with the world outside the room.


To my relief, a second computer appeared, but just as quickly as it appeared, it too flatlined.


I remember thinking, “Tammy Gibson ceases to exist. No one will ever find me now.”


I wasn’t dead. I was just lost to the world, alone in a dark room with no way to communicate with the outside world.


Still in the dream, I remember activity and people trying to rebuild me, as if I myself was the computer.


When I saw my husband for the first time after that dream (to me it was still part of the dream), I thought, “You found me!” and I was so relieved that he had.


It wasn’t until I was out of the hospital, when I was brave enough to hear the stories that I didn’t remember about what happened to me, that I realized the dream likely coincided with the medical team using the crash cart on me.


During the first 4 weeks of my hospital stay, the crash cart was used and I was intubated 3 times.


God blessed me with not only a second, but a third chance at life.


My muscles were breaking down, releasing proteins into my blood (called rhabdomyolysis) which led to acute kidney failure. They treated me by flushing my body with a LOT of fluid to try and flush out the proteins from my system. Unfortunately, they had to give me so much fluid, I developed a complication from this treatment called compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome is caused by increased pressure from the overwhelming amount of fluids that restricts blood flow and can damage muscle and nerves. To treat compartment syndrome, they did an emergency procedure in the middle of the night on me called a fasciotomy. They had to cut open both sides of my right and left lower legs from ankle to the knee to relieve the pressure in an attempt to save my legs.


While I continued to fight for my life, the medical team continued to treat my sick body. I was on hemodialysis for my kidneys, which were not working on their own.


Erica and Ameris arranged a Prayer Vigil outside the hospital. Local friends came to pray for me and people around the country prayed for me. I will forever be grateful for this special gathering of loved ones on my behalf.


My friends and family were incredible and responded with so much love. Cassie and Marni created a GoFundMe campaign that eventually paid for our downstairs bathroom ADA- approved remodel, Denise set up a meal train for my family, many spread the word across the world through prayer chains and checked in on my family. Tiffany and Jeremiah took the volleyball team over to decorate our home during the Christmas season, others give blood for me, sent flowers, blankets, books, and the list goes on and on. I didn’t know any of this was going on until months later, but I am still overwhelmed to this day by the outpouring of love.


I was on and off the ventilator. I recall one of the times I was taken off, being told “my only job was to breathe.” I was still on heavy medication, so my reality was very fuzzy and dream-like. I remember fighting for every breath, knowing that if I stopped fighting, I’d be gone. I recall that I felt very alone in this struggle. I imagined that I was in a quiet room all by myself, trying to sit up straight to get more air into my lungs. There was something about feathery grass in that memory, though I can’t quite place it now… like I was fanning it to get more air or something.


After I got out of the hospital, I had a couple of bronchoscopies to take care of scar tissue caused by my many intubations. I asked my pulmonologist if he had indeed told me that breathing was my only job, and he said yes. I will always remember his voice in times of struggle or anxiety telling me that my only job was to breathe. Sometimes that’s all I can do and that is all that I need to do!


I do recall that I very much disliked all things related to helping me breath: ventilator, BiPap mask, trach, oxygen. I would negotiate with my nurses to let me breathe on my own. Occasionally, I won those negotiations and I would get a break from the oxygen.


I developed a hospital-acquired infection in both of my legs, but it was worse in my right leg.


My vascular team did another procedure to remove damaged tissue in both legs. They learned that a lot of my lower leg muscles had necrotic tissue and had died due to lack of oxygen to the blood supply. They removed my right gastrocnemius, and my soleus muscle was removed in my left calf. I had very deep wounds on both legs.


Thirty-three days after I entered the hospital for leg weakness, I lost my right leg, above the knee, to infection. It was either my life or my limb. I chose life.


My incredible ICU nurses were doing twice-daily dressing changes and packing my wounds with copious amounts of gauze. I was heavily medicated with 3 powerful pain medications during the dressing changes. Larry would sing in my ear and tell me they were almost done. Most of my memories of these dressing changes were hallucinations. I remember multiple times of “spinning out” and seeing a spiral of white tile, Alice in Wonderland style, thinking, “here we go…”


I had a few very powerful dreams during those times, one of which was me wearing my prosthetic leg, walking gracefully in high heels, onto a stage and speaking about how LOVE is the greatest and ultimate goal we should strive for. Love God, love others, love self. When we act with love, everything else falls into place.


I believe that dream was a message from God. Even while in the hospital, I began talking about the book I would write and the speeches I would give. God will use my story in ways I can’t even imagine!



Not all the dreams/hallucinations were nice. I had some doozies that left me panicked, confused, and determined to go home. A scenario that was playing out in my head led me to demand a phone call to Larry. I was quite adamant about it, and the nurse eventually complied!


It was late and Larry was on his way home. The nurse used the room phone to dial him and handed me the receiver.


“Hello?” Larry said, concerned as he recognized it as a hospital number.


“Larry! You need to come get me! Something bad is happening here. I need to get out of here!” I explained. I thought my nurses were playing life and death game, similar to Hunger Games only with guns instead of bow and arrow. I have no idea where that idea came from but I remember being so scared.


His memory of that phone call was different from mine (his was accurate, mine confused). He said I told him I was in LA, but I thought he told me he couldn’t come because I was in LA County and they wouldn’t release me because of that. (L.A. County had very strict COVID regulations)


Lesley was working, so he asked her to check on me. When she did, I was calmly sleeping.


The brain does weird things!


Once my leg was amputated (November 27, 2021), my body was able to use its energy to heal in other ways. My kidneys began producing urine again, my left leg began to heal more quickly, and I was becoming more aware of what was happening.


During this same time period, I was receiving treatment in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber (HBO) to help with the healing of my fasciotomy wounds. I have some very clear memories of these treatments, but oddly, they are all different. I was very confused about them and what they were. I even told Nick that it was sound therapy because I remember it was a lot of noise (I later learned that they played movies to keep me entertained. It was very irritating to me.) I was to receive 20 treatments, and I resisted every time I had to go, but they were helping my legs heal.


During the 5th treatment on November 30, I had a seizure. This was a possibility for any patient receiving HBO because it is 100% oxygen. A Code Blue team was called but because the chamber is pressurized, they had to wait and watch for 5-7 minutes while I continued to seize for the pressure to equalize before they could open the chamber and get to me. My vitals remained stable, but they intubated me again and then whisked me away to have a brain CT scan.


It was during this period of waiting that Larry said was the hardest for him- not knowing if my brain had been compromised or if he would get to see “Tammy” again. Thankfully, Lesley was able to be a huge support to him that night (and many others!). She even had friends on that team that treated me, which was comforting to them both. During one of my follow-up appointments with my pulmonologist months later, I met the nurse who was on my transportation team that day. She recognized me and told me about the big scare I had given them! God put so many good people on my team!


It was decided that I would not have anymore HBO treatments. While it had been helping my legs heal, it was not worth the risk of more seizures.



My Mom came to visit from Arizona, bringing with her sweet energy and happy hugs. She wrote thank you notes to my nurses!


I moved to the Basic Unit on December 17 after being in ICU for 53 days.


I spent Christmas with my family in my new room. As the tree that Ameris set up in my room twinkled, we opened gifts and watched It’s a Wonderful Life.


Once in basic, I was able to come off of some of the heavy medication, so I was more alert, though not aware of what I had been through in the last 2 months. I began praying for healing and freedom from the tubes and machines attached to me. While significantly less than what I had in ICU, I still had a feeding tube, biliary drain, oxygen saturation monitor, IVs, dialysis port, supplemental oxygen and a tracheotomy tube.


I was experiencing a lot of pain in my arms and hands. While my kidneys were starting to work, they were struggling to remove the extra fluid on my body. The pressure from the swelling has left me with nerve damage and contractures in both hands, though worse in the left hand.


My time in the basic unit was painful. I was more aware of the constant testing, rounds of medical teams, and struggle to move my body. What initially was a positive move and a step toward going home became a mental and physical battle to get well enough to move to the next step down, rehab.


I began to get sad and felt sick. I was throwing up multiple times a day for no obvious reason. I was fighting an infection and was disappointed by the daily labs that showed my white blood cell count was elevated. I had certain parameters that I had to meet to be discharged to rehab and my WBC was a major one. The longer I stayed in the basic unit, the sicker I felt.


In an effort to help my body get stronger, we began focusing on eating. I was severely malnourished. It had been months since I ate, so I had to do swallow studies to determine what degree of thickness I could swallow safely. Essentially, they had me take a spoonful of liquids that were varying degrees of thickness and take x-rays as I swallowed so they could see how my swallowing muscles responded. Pure liquids, like water, were too slippery. They made me cough because I couldn’t control swallowing them. I started off by eating thicker items like thickened water (gross), yogurt, applesauce and pudding. In addition to my enteral tube feeding, that was pretty much my diet on repeat for every meal. Eventually, we added in canned pears, peaches and mandarin oranges (my favorite). Larry would cut them into tiny pieces and a small cup filled me up. I couldn’t get enough ice chips. I was always thirsty and was craving a big, long gulp of water, which they wouldn’t let me do.


To advance to the next level of eating, I had to take an eating test and prove that I could chew and swallow chunks of canned fruit. I would get full quickly because my stomach wasn’t used to food, but I was going to pass this test! I ate the tropical blend as quickly as I could so I could just get it over with. I passed with flying colors, but I was so full! My reward was mashed potatoes and gravy at my next meal!


Larry and I talked about the low nutritional value of what I was consuming. How is a body going to get healthy by eating sugar and chemicals? While the enteral feeding was “complete,” it was not healthy by any means, so my amazing husband started bringing me food from home.


He made me small protein smoothies with organic strawberries that I would sip on throughout the day and mashed avocado (good fat) that I would take baby-sized bites of. I had a turning point after he started this. I began to get stronger and I got my fight back.


Inpatient physical therapy was interesting. I dreaded them coming because it was so much work, but I did love when my therapist spent time with me. I had two amazing therapists that nurtured my spirit while they stretched and strengthened my body. The first big goal we tackled was sitting up on the edge of the bed. It was so much work to just get to the edge! The first time I sat up unassisted, nurses, respiratory therapists and doctors popped in to celebrate with me! What an incredible support system I had!


The next goal was to transfer from bed to wheelchair. This was another major undertaking! I deeply resented the slide board that I had to scoot across from the bed to the chair. It was painful on my tailbone. I had lost so much weight that I didn’t have any padding to help soften the wood slide board. Also, it was scary. I couldn’t really use my one remaining leg, and my arms were swollen and painful so I relied heavily on the team, including Larry, to help me transfer. It took 3 people to assist. 4 was better. Being able to transfer was another requirement for getting into rehab (which in retrospect is crazy to me, because most patients in rehab were physically in worse shape than I was). So I practiced, knowing my goal. My therapist wrote a note on my board: “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It will be ok.” And, it was.


Larry was by my side all day, every day. The kids came to visit as often as they could. I had a few FaceTime calls with friends and phone calls with my parents. Larry kept updating my incredible community, Team TLT (Tough Like Tammy). Being in the basic unit was a waiting game, and I couldn’t wait to get out. We were counting the days. We had goals, but each time, the goal date came and went. We’d set a new goal, and that too came and went.


One of the problems with the basic unit was that the doctors/residents changed rotations weekly, so I never had the same team for more than a week. It was like starting over every week, having to explain my story, answer questions that I answered the week before, and never really having follow-through on treatments. It was frustrating. My nurses, who were amazing, did their best to intervene for me. Larry was on top of everything. That man was KEY to my survival! Honestly, I don’t know how people survive the hospital without an advocate like him!


Finally, during my last week of basic unit, a beautiful soul was assigned to my rotation. She knew I needed to get out of the hospital, where I continued to fight infections from “hospital bugs", and move into rehab. She called a friend over at rehab, who agreed to take me! Praise God! Together, she and I called Larry, who was at Montana’s basketball game, and gave him the great news. I bawled. It was an enormous relief!


Before the transfer happened, we had to wait for a patient to leave rehab, but we were told the bed was mine as soon as it opened up. During a late evening a day or two later, a nurse came in to share that they had secured a bed for me. I was just starting dialysis for the night, which took 3-4 hours, and Larry had already left for the evening. Through some back and forth talk, I realized she was talking about transferring me to a different floor in the hospital, not rehab. They wanted my room for another patient and were kicking me out of my room.


I had learned to “use my voice” and speak up for myself regarding my care, and I refused the transfer. I knew that if my next move was not to rehab, I likely wouldn’t be getting out for weeks. I was medically frail, but I was cognitively strong enough. Guess what? That transfer to rehab came the very next day!


January 21, after 88 days in the hospital, I moved to Acute Rehab,


They moved me at 11 PM. I didn’t care. I was so happy about the transfer. Getting out of the hospital building was a weight lifted for all of us. My only regret was that I didn’t get to say goodbye to the nursing and therapy staff!


The first question once I was in rehab was, “When can I wash my hair?” That actually didn’t happen for a couple of weeks, because I was still too weak and wounds needed to heal.


I had been prepped that being in rehab would be a lot of work. That was no joke. My days were filled with various types of therapy: physical therapy twice a day, occupational therapy, swallow therapy, computer therapy (for hand-eye coordination and mental stimulation), fun therapy (games and visits from the recreation therapist), twice-weekly dialysis, and power wheelchair training.



In the beginning, physical therapy was done in my room. As soon as they felt I was ready, they wanted to get me into the gym. This required me being lifted by a hoyer from my bed to the chair. It was pretty fun, and it was much quicker than the dreaded slide board. But eventually, of course, they wanted me to use the slide board. Much of the work I did in the gym was practicing sliding from side to side. I was weak from months in the hospital, but also, my balance was off from the loss of my right leg. The work was exhausting but necessary.


While in rehab, my occupational therapist helped me relearn how to hold a spoon to feed myself. It was beginning to dawn on me just how much I had lost.


As in the basic unit, I continued to have an unaccounted-for high WBC. They continued to do tests. I was transported back to the hospital several times for MRIs and CT scans. I had a muscle sample taken from the left calf. When that didn’t show any abnormalities, they took a bone sample from my left ankle. Again, thankfully, normal results. While the news was good, it was frustrating to be left with questions.


I did have a UTI that was stubborn, and I kept suggesting that they weren’t giving the antibiotics time to work. Ultimately, I think I was right. I also had a skin infection on my right residual leg that was red, angry and painful. Finding the right antibiotics that I could have was tricky. Good thing I had my pharmacist husband giving his input!


A couple of weeks after being admitted to rehab, I got a sore throat. I mentioned it to one of the many doctors that rounded. The very next time someone came into my room, they wore that yellow gown and face shield that will forever scar my memory. I was immediately tested for COVID. We begged God to please not let me have COVID again. Larry did a prayer walk around the rehab building. Our prayer warriors teamed up to petition for me. If I were to test positive, I would be sent to the medical unit at this facility and share a room with 2 other patients! God blessed us again that day. My test came back negative. I was just worn out from the rigorous schedule. Larry and I cried with relief.



In rehab, I had a few outside visitors that brightened my days! Erica and Natalie both came from Tennessee, Cassie flew in from New Jersey, Ameris stopped in several times, and Lesley came by on her way to work. Lori, Michael and Fred, Larry’s co-workers, came up from the pharmacy to say hi a few times.


The kids visited often and participated in family education day, where they learned how to change my leg dressing, which had been reduced from twice a day to once a day, and transfer me from the bed to my wheelchair in a manual hoyer. That part of the training was comical! I wish we had captured that on video! Imagine me spinning in the air, dangling from the hoyer, as the family tried to maneuver the clumsy lift toward my chair. It was stressful for them but entertaining for me. Once I was in my chair, we all laughed about it.



Another visitor I had was a lovely lady, Marsha, who was a friend of Erica’s and a hairdresser. My hair caused me many tears during my hospital stay. It was so tangled and so dirty. In addition, my skin was peeling everywhere on my body, including my scalp. I had scabs and bald spots. Many people had tried to comb out the knots. The very last time I let someone touch it was the day I learned I would be transferred from the basic unit to rehab.


An LVN promised that she would spend the entire shift working on those knots. I was traumatized by the sound of the hair being yanked out of my head as she pulled on the knots. She was not gentle. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I was sobbing and begged her to stop. That was the state I was in when the doctor came in and told me about my transfer. I instantly went from tears of anguish to tears of gratitude!


Marsha was called in to cut off the tangled mass on the back of my head. I cried when I lost my leg and I cried when I lost my hair. It was very upsetting, but she was so sweet. She prayed with me and assured me it would grow back.


The entire time I was in the hospital and 2 months after I got out, I never looked in a mirror. I’m so glad I didn’t. I knew I looked sick, but seeing pictures of myself with the cut-off hair, bald spots from COVID hair loss, the scabs all over my face, arms and chest, and missing eyelashes, I know I definitely would have been traumatized by the sight. I still have a significant bald spot on the back of my head that won’t grow back, according to my dermatologist.


The days went by, I got stronger, but really, I was still quite sick. My discharge was pending on a spot opening up at the dialysis center. With COVID restrictions, they were short-staffed, so I had to wait for someone to give up their time slot. Unfortunately, with dialysis, that often means someone passes away. The wait could be long, but my nephrologist was in charge of the clinic, so he was doing his best to find me a spot. Meanwhile, they required me to practice sitting upright in my chair for 4 hours at a time to prove I was strong enough to sit in their treatment chairs. After spending 4 months in bed, this was a challenge, but I worked up to it!


Each week we heard that I was going home, and then it would get delayed. First with the sore throat, then my WBC would spike, then a dialysis chair wasn’t available. Our emotions were on a rollercoaster!


Larry had to go back to work after being off for 4 months on family leave. Thankfully, his work was across the parking lot from my rehab facility, so he stopped in before work, trying to be there for the doctor rounds. He would come back at lunch and again after work.


Each morning, he would pack me nutritious food from home that I would eat instead of, or as a supplement to, the food they served. One of the yummy foods he brought, that I loved, was fresh avocado with lime. I ate it every day until, during a discussion with my nephrologist, I discovered that avocado is very high in potassium (not good for my kidneys). They put me on a low potassium diet (bland!), and I had to stop eating avocados. I did not eat a lot of solid food because the texture was so weird to me, but since I was still on enteral feeding, they encouraged me to eat more so I could get off the tube feeding.


The day Larry returned to work was Valentine’s Day 2022. He asked my private Tough Like Tammy community to send me texts, emails, and messages. It was incredible! They flooded in! I felt so loved!


At home, Larry hired contractors to remodel the downstairs bathroom so it was ADA-compliant. He also had tile floor put in downstairs so that it was easier to move my wheelchair on it. He and the kids moved my office furniture to the garage to make the office my bedroom. He purchased a power wheelchair and rented a hospital bed, hoyer, tube feeding pump, and manual wheelchair in an effort to get ready for my homecoming. Tiffany and Jeremiah came over to vacuum all the dust from the tile work and decorate my room.



This was February 2022. There were a lot of family events coming up that spring that I was determined to be well for. Nick’s college graduation at the end of April was the first. Montana had multiple senior events during April and May, with graduation in June. Lesley was also graduating with her BSN in June. I wasn’t going to miss those life events!


Eventually, the doctors told me I would be released on a specific day, but I didn’t get my hopes up. Too many times, we were disappointed. My regular attending was on vacation and the discharge day was approaching. Lori and Michael came to bring me my prescriptions (there were a lot), and Larry and the kids started to bring my personal items home.


I had a chair ready for me at the Dialysis Center, at 3 AM (yes, 3 AM!) on Sundays and 9 AM on Wednesdays. My mom was scheduled to come stay with us and care for me (she ended up staying 9 months! What a blessing she and my dad are!).


On the day of discharge, the doctor rounding for the weekend told me he wasn’t going to release me because my pulse was too high. It had been high from the beginning of my hospital stay. This was the first time I had seen this doctor and he didn’t know my case. We firmly stated our case. He knew how disappointed and upset we were. He checked with the only doctor available that was familiar with my case and got the ok to discharge me, but Larry had to sign something stating he understood the risk.


February 27, 2022. I was finally going home, 127 days after Larry called 911.


The kids came to help load my final belongings and to drive Larry’s truck home so he could ride with me in the medical transport. Many of my therapists stopped by to say goodbye. Robert from Angel Care Transportation (incredibly great guy and company!) came to pick us up. I was in my power chair and he just strapped the chair in.


As we drove down the driveway, Robert looked at me in his mirror.


“Are you ok, Mrs. Gibson?”


“Yes. I'm going home,” I said as tears rolled down my face.



______


There is so much more to tell about the year following my discharge, but I’ll save that for another story.


If you’d like to read the article my vascular surgeon wrote about my case, the link is below.


A few edits include:


  • I was intubated for hypercarbia, not hypoxia.

  • I was not vomiting, dry heaving, or blacking out before going to ED.

  • My kidney function was not normalized after 3 months. I was on dialysis until April 27, 2022.


**Before you click the link, be aware that once you see the pictures of my lower legs, before and after the fasciotomy, you can never unsee them.



If you’d like to join the Team TLT Movement, follow me on Instagram (@tammygibsononline) and purchase your Team TLT Merch (proceeds help pay for my prosthetic leg, Natasha).


I will be writing a book and sharing from stage! If you need a speaker at your next event, please let me know. Email me hellotammygibson@gmail.com


I want to say thank you to the following:


  • God, for saving my life not once, but 3 times. I will not waste it!

  • Larry, for being at my side the entire time, for being my advocate, singer, shoulder to cry on and the real hero in this story.

  • Nick, for being God’s chosen tool to bring me back to you all and for being the head of the household while Dad was with me 16 hours a day.

  • Montana for being so strong through this. I know it wasn’t easy having your mom in the hospital during such an important year in your life. You’ll use this strength to do great things in life.

  • Lesley for your incredible love, knowledge, support and connections.

  • Rob and Grayson for lending your wife and Mama to me for so many hours.

  • My mom for her loving gift of time and caregiving. I miss our daily conversations.

  • My dad for his generous sacrifice so mom could be my caregiver for so long.

  • My close friends for checking in on me and giving my family everything they needed when I couldn’t.

  • Team TLT for your prayers, encouragement and ongoing support.


Thank you isn’t enough. I love you all.



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