To read part one of Ashley’s health journey, click here.
The surgery went smoothly, and I felt like I was on top of the world again. I felt happy and strong for the first time in a long time. It was like the sun was shining again in my life. I could eat. I could not run to the bathroom. I could make it through meetings and conversations. It was truly a whole new world.
The happiness and awe of it all only lasted about a week, then I found myself extremely depressed and anxious that I would have the symptoms again. Back to the doctor I went. When I arrived and explained how I was feeling, I was certain the doctor would stop my medications immediately. However, to my shock, he felt strongly that we should double the dosage. I was not in a good headspace at the time, and so desperate for relief, that I determined I had better do what the doctor said. I began the double dosage immediately.
After one week on that, I was ready to end my life. It was worse than ever before. Oddly, suicidal thoughts would just come from nowhere. I wasn’t sad about anything specific. In fact, at times I was even happy and laughing and then a thought would come. The thoughts were irrational and spontaneous.
Due to the extreme success I had been having with that doctor (can you hear my sarcasm?!), I finally decided it was time to make a change. After hearing my story, I was sure he would see that my physical symptoms were healed and that stopping the antidepressant would be the next step. Instead, he decided to switch that medication, add an anti-anxiety medication, and a sleeping pill.
Soon, I couldn’t get out of bed. The sleeping pill made me sleep for 12 hours a day. The only thing I did was wake up and go to work. I was feeling like a walking zombie, going through the motions. People were asking me questions and I didn’t know if I could answer them. They were depending on me, and I wanted to hide. No one should live their life like that. It didn’t feel like I was living at all. Then the physical symptoms started again.
On one really bad day, I began feeling extreme shooting pains in the upper left quadrant of my stomach. I fell to the floor of my town home and my roommate became extremely concerned. I was convulsing in pain. It hurt so severely that I couldn’t move, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It lasted for so long that she called my brother and he rushed me to the emergency room.
In the emergency room, they ran a million tests and were just about to send me home. I asked if I could go to the bathroom. While I was washing my hands, I fainted and fell to the floor. My head was so dizzy and spinning so much. I felt nauseated and vomited a couple of times. They determined it would be best to keep me overnight for observation. When nothing had changed despite being observed for many hours, I inquired about going home.
The doctor asked me to stand up and try walking around the hospital. Time and again, I would faint and fall down. They didn’t want me to get up. I am stubborn and after about 18 hours, I determined I wasn’t waiting for my nurse to take me to the bathroom because they weren’t coming and I had to go really badly. I sat up and made it partway out of my room. The doctors were watching closely and I felt confident and successful. Suddenly, my legs collapsed from beneath me and I was on the floor again.
At this point, they determined that I may need to be admitted to the cardiac unit of the hospital. For the next five days, I was monitored very closely. The episodes only continued to increase in frequency. It got to the point that I was only allowed to use a bedside commode with help of a nurse.
I don’t believe I have ever felt lower in my life. All dignity was stripped from me. Every test in the world was run. All I could see was my medical bill increasing but my results staying the same. I felt frustrated beyond belief, and tired too. Every doctor that would join the discussion would bring another pill for me try. Soon I was up to 13 prescription medications per day. No change.
This ER stay may have been one of the most trying times of my life, but just like I had help in the first part of this journey, I had help there too. My roommate was quick to respond. She couldn’t do much, but she got me the help I needed. She called for backup. My little brother stuck with me through the entire experience. He waited patiently and watched me closely. He prayed for and with me. He hugged me. He held my hand while I cried.
It really taught me a profound lesson: Sometimes we need to get others to the right help. My roommate saw that I was in trouble and didn’t wait. She acted quickly and did all she could. She helped me find my brother. The love of my brother felt truly symbolic of the love of my Savior, and I felt like God worked through him to be my support and my strength at that time. I believe my Savior was with me too.
Sometimes we can help, sometimes we can support, and most often we need to do all we can to get people connected to the Savior in their trials. I am thankful for this lesson that has continued with me on my journey.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.