After arriving in Spain in January of 2020, I escaped China right before the pandemic blew up and I started working in Spain.
Everything was going normally until June. Jenny was pregnant and we were both happy and healthy. Then my valve failed. I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
At first, they tried to repair the original valve but it was in too bad of shape. Then my second operation, they took out all of the valve and tubing to inspect the flow of liquid. That was also a failure. So I ended up having a 3rd operation that lasted 12 hours and was quite dangerous as a result, they gave me two brand new valves to control the 4 ventricles in my brain. These valves can have their pressure regulated by using magnets instead of operating on me again.
It wasn't like the movies or TV where they came in and explained all the procedure to me and got my permission etc. They just did what they needed to do to save my life. For that, I am thankful.
Well I ended up spending 12 weeks in the hospital and I had to leave and return to the hospital 5 different times. It was a huge pain in the butt. I ended up losing about 35 pounds of weight and I was being fed via a tube for a while.
As a consequence of these operations and in addition to my weight loss, I ended up having a lazy left eye and no perifial vision. My speech was also affected and I have some facial paralysis. I was constantly vomiting and couldn't hold down any food. Due to all the vomiting I damaged my throat from the stomach acid. My symptoms are similar to a stroke even though I didn't have one.
I have had (and tested negative) 7 different times for covid. I hate those tests but every time I went to the hospital they gave me one.
My mom came over from Texas back in September when I was still in and out of the hospital. I didn't get to feeling semi normal until October 2020.
However, since September 2020, I have been going to private rehab and rehab provided by the Spanish government, 5 days a week.
I was doing speech therapy 4 to 5 times a week plus physical therapy 3 to 4 times a week. At first, the only thing that I could eat was jello due to my facial paralysis. I couldn't even have water! I started out unable to walk or shower or do anything for myself.
Then I progressed to not using a wheelchair but to using a walker. Now I have been able to quit even the walker.
My left eye is still crooked (supposed to be corrected on February 22nd) but I have regained my speech about 99% all of my facial muscles move (although not like before) I can eat, drink, walk, shower and shave myself.
I have now been able to decrease my speech therapy to once a week and increase my physical therapy to 4 to 5 times a week to help me regain weight, muscle mass and to help my walking.
So basically I want to say how grateful I am to be alive and for all of the support my family and friends have given me. Everyone was super generous helping us financially since neither Jenny nor I are working.
Poor Jenny and her family (along with my mom) made huge sacrifices to help me get better and I will never forget it. Jenny was 9 months pregnant and having to deal with my health scare but we made it through!
Eliana is a perfect happy, healthy little girl and the greatest blessing of my life. She is what motivates me to keep going and get back to 100% normal.
I am also super thankful for the Spanish health care system and the government for taking good care of me. I have received excellent care and have great doctors and nurses. Even if I was extremely annoyed at my loss of independence while in the hospital.
2020 was crappy for me. But then Eliana was born. I am not 100% and I have been through a lot. However, I am confident that I will get back to 100% slowly but surely. I'm regaining weight and strength and now in January of 2021, I just need my eye to get fixed and work a little on my walking then I will be back to normal.
I am super thankful not to have thousands of euros in medical debt or having to worry about insurance or whether my doctor was in network or not, at the same time as having a new baby.
Now I will concentrate on getting better, getting a job and being the best husband and father I can be. This has not been easy for me or anyone, but it could have been much worse. I'm alive and more or less in OK shape. I'm a lucky man.