Sickest you've ever been

Here’s the top three sicknesses I’ve had:

  1. Appendicitis/Peritonitis 1999: When I was 17 my appendix burst. My mom kept telling me, oh, you caught a flu bug, you’ll be ok. Well a week later I was very weak, so sick I could barely get out of bed to vomit green spinach colored vomit every 10 to 15 minutes. My temp wasn’t too high, only about 101 to 102. But the stomach pain was intense and I was hospitalized for 2 weeks. It became peritonitis. I had fever, sweats, inability to poop for well over a week, intense stomach pain like male child birth. Vomiting spinach green thick vomit, almost like spinach guacamole, if such a thing existed, and intense thirst. I wanted a drink so bad, anything. But they wouldn’t let me drink anything until the infection cleared up, or even eat soft foods. This particular ailment was about 95% deadly until modern medicine. Now, luckily, with antibiotics its only about 10% deadly. I was weak for about a month afterwords. It took me that long to fully recover at such a young age. I was home-schooled for that period of time, until I was fully better.

  2. Bacterial Pneumonia/Smoker’s Asthma 2014: This one wasn’t that scary, in many ways, except for the intense fatigue and 62% Blood oxygen level and shortness of breath, it was milder than the flu in overall sick feeling. However, I knew I was much worse off than a flu victim. I was hospitalized for a week, At times I almost felt normal thanks to norco and percocet. At other times I drifted in and out of sleep filled with weird dreams and short of breath anytime I slowly ambled off the hospital bed. General Bacterial pneumonia has a 5% mortality rate untreated and severe Bacterial pneumonia has a 20% mortality rate if left untreated. Asthma can be bad too and here I was first diagnosed with it.

  3. Flu 1997: What made it so bad was I think it was the Bird Flu. It could have killed me I suppose, If I got it know with my current issues. High fever, body/back aches, and even delirium are what made this one really bad. It went away then relapsed when I got the original playstation for Christmas. Lasted a few more days then finally I got better.

How about you, what were the hardest times in your life related to your own personal ailments?

[FONT=“Comic Sans MS”]Sickest? Passing a kidney stone. Never felt so much pain in my life!! Even when a dentist tried to pull a tooth without using anesthetic. Was give Oxycontin to kill the pain and it worked. However, 20 minutes before it was time for my next dose, the pain came slamming back. The whole mess lasted about a week. FONT]

I’ve flirted with the grim reaper on three occasions.

  1. Obstructive gall bladder disease. I had abdominal pain that wouldn’t go away. I kept thinking that once I felt better I’d make a long-overdue doctor’s appointment, but the pain persisted. Stubbornly, I kept trying to ride it out. After two sleepless nights, it was the inability to sleep that drove me to a doctor. The doctor had his receptionist call me an ambulance, but I drove to the hospital (figured I’d rather have my car with me).

I was in the hospital with a Jackson-Pratt drain for a week post-op. I swore I’d never have surgery again.

  1. Unstable angina and heart attack. I thought that my occasional, horrible chest pain was GERD, since I kept surviving the episodes. Sure the pain was awful, but I thought I was being a wimp. After the episodes became almost nightly, I made an appointment with my doctor. Turns out I’d already had a small heart attack. A coronary artery stent and I was back to work (against doctor’s advice) two days later.

  2. Idiosyncratic mushroom poisoning. My gf and I do some mushroom hunting and belong to a mushroom club. We found and definitively identified some edible mushrooms. Even knowing they were not toxic, we should have each done a small taste test, since some people can have idiosyncratic reactions to certain species.

But they were so nice, we both had a huge mushroom dinner. My gf was fine. I woke around midnight and vomited profusely. Repeatedly. So forceful was my vomiting that on one occasion I collapsed, losing consciousness for a bit. Before the vomiting stopped, the diarrhea began. It was unbelievable.

The vomiting and diarrhea continued all night. I was actually crawling from the guest bedroom to the guest bathroom (My gf slept soundly all night) as I was too weak to walk. I realized I needed medical care, so I tried putting clothes on, but my legs cramped up while putting underwear on and I fell to the floor. I pulled a blanket from the bed and passed out on the floor. I was alive in the morning!

Nowhere near the experiences of some of our other posters.

Gall Bladder surgery. Didn’t wait as long as Kayaker to see a doctor, but suffered a lot of pain before finally going sleepless one night and getting myself to the Doctors’ office. They did a laproscopic operation and I was out the next day and recurerated in about a week.

Strep Throat (or something): Early teens, and I could barely move except to go to the bathroom to empty myself out of one orifice or another. Mom took my temperature in the evening and it was something like 104F and next thing I know my family was packing ice around me. Probably should have been in the hospital, but I recovered anyway.

Other 24-72 hour bugs that you would expect in 63 years, I did have measles mumps and chicken pox when I was young (in the 1950’s), but I don’t remember much about them.

Hypertension Urgency. Admitted to hospital with a BP of 208/135 ! Yipes! Spent 5 days on the cardiac ward and was fortunate to escape a life changing outcome like stroke or damage to any of my organs. Extremely fortunate! I was left with what was effectively a wicked concussion which it took five weeks to recover from.

Five weeks of lying on my couch holding my head, ice pack on my brain stem, taking the strongest anti nausea meds available. The slightest movement or stimulation caused swooning and nausea. I felt really, really awful in a way that’s hard to describe, truly.

How did I manage for five weeks? It was like being in suspended animation, time just passed. And very slowly, I was able to feel normal a little bit longer each day! It was not an experience I’ll ever forget.

This won’t hold a candle to some others, but: in December, at the close of my first semester in law school, I apparently ate something bad and got food poisoning. I vomited up my toenails, and stayed feverish and nauseated for four days, which meant that I ate practically nothing for four days. Basically it went like this: first day, nothing. Second day, one plain grilled chicken sandwich. Third day, nothing again. Fourth day, another chicken sandwich. On the fifth day, I was able to eat a normal meal.

And like I said, it was the end of my first semester of law school, so I had final exams to do while this was going on. Joy.


  1. Two cases of strep throat, one at home in PA, the other on a drilling rig location in Wyoming. Both cases involved a fever so severe that I wasn’t fully coherent.

  2. Kidney stones. I’ve had nearly a dozen since the late 1990s, one of which required a surgical procedure to remove. Last one passed just this last weekend. Ugh.

2006-Brain aneurysm rupturing at the base of my brain, causing massive swelling and bleeding in the right side of my brain.

2014- I had a stroke. I have still not recovered completely and there have been mental/personality changes.

2002- pneumonia and dehydration.

1994- a systemic fungal infection that my doctor told me I would not survive without use of some serious medication.

1965 - I developed acute hemorrhagic perpera (a bleeding disease with similar symptoms to hemophilia) as a direct result of a bout of 3-day measles. I was bleeding from my tear ducts, my hair follicles, everywhere you can imagine. There was no treatment, we just had to wait and see if my body righted itself. Thankfully it did, but it was 3 very scary weeks.

1982 - I’m strongly allergic to bees and was stung on a mule pack trip in the Grand Canyon. Somehow I’d forgotten my epipen and no one in the group had any Benedryl or something similar to alleviate the symptoms. The tour leader radioed for a helicopter, but the 30 minutes it took for the helicopter to get to us, while I gasped like a fish trying to get air, were terrifying.

I’m not sure what the definition of sickest is.
In the sense of feeling bad, I had pneumonia early last year. I slept for 18 hours straight when I came down with it, and coughed so hard I blacked out three times.
In terms of being near death, I suppose my AFib, though I have no symptoms except maybe slight shortness of breath which could just be from getting old.
I’ve only been in the hospital one night since I came home as a baby, and that was for a thyroid operation which came from a swelled thyroid which was also asymptomatic.

I had Scarlet Fever as a child. I was 5 or 6. My parents had to hold me down in an ice bath to keep my brain from frying with a fever approaching 106. I don’t remember any of it.

I had bacterial pneumonia around the same age. All I remember is having to sleep inside an oxygen tent in the hospital.

The most memorable recent one (not nearly as deadly as some that have been mentioned) was contracting Norwalk virus. We had friends staying with us from Australia at the time, and we didn’t know it, but there was a Norwalk epidemic there. Well sir, they brought it straight to me. I was in bed for days, I lost 17 pounds, nearly died of dehydration, and it affected my digestive system for months. I seriously didn’t poop normally for almost half a year, despite probiotics, water, fiber, yogurt, you name it. It was AWFUL.

  1. Father’s Day 2014: My fifth gall bladder attack in 9 months resulted in the gall bladder itself turning necrotic, and I was about a day from it breaching from gangrene. If that wasn’t bad enough, it infected and damaged my liver to the point that I’m on the long term transplant list.

  2. Related: I had a follow-up liver biopsy that September to quantify the damage done. In between June and September, I lost a metric shit-ton of weight, but never adjusted my BP meds to suit. Day of the biopsy, direct doctor’s orders were to take my BP meds before the procedure, and when I went to bed that night. I spent a lot of time in recovery because my BP was low, but finally got home, barely able to lift my head.

Around 2 AM I woke up having to pee. I got out of bed, and it took superhuman effort not to fall on my ass. I was also deaf; it was like I had a Mason jar full of cotton balls over each ear. I knew my BP was dangerously low because I am a retired EMT, but I couldn’t take it myself because I couldn’t hear the stethoscope, and I couldn’t teach my wife in 5 minutes how to do it. The ambulance crew that carted me to the hospital measured 80/40, and wondered out loud why I was even conscious…

The hospital crew had a fit about the biopsy, and all they would do was look for internal bleeding. I argued with them continuously that I felt no pain or rigidity where the punctures were, that they should consider a BP med overdose/anesthesia reaction. I spent 36 hours in intensive care, and had a fight with a nurse that wanted to feed me more BP meds. The next morning, just around the time anyone in the know would expect my BP meds to wear off, my pressure started climbing, and about 4 hours later, I was back to normal. Another day of observation in a surgical ward, that I spent walking the halls out of sheer boredom and the desire to torment a nurse that was paranoid about me falling (I didn’t).

  1. Plane crash 1973. Missed death by 2 or 3 millimeters, when a shard of metal opened my inner thigh and femoral artery sheath without opening the femoral artery.

  2. Myocardial infarction 1997. Small one, but with some nasty arrhythmias.

  3. Canoe capsized 2010, into the water in Lake Michigan a mile or so offshore, no life vest, no one else around. Cold water. It was a failed rescue attempt of a little girl lost on the lake. I chased her boat far, far out into the lake, and when I found it, it was empty. :frowning: Then I tipped over.

Last month, I had Influenza A. Couldn’t eat of keep fluids down. RAGING headache. Brought on diabetic complication called Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I was hospitalized for 5 days.

Crap. :frowning:

  1. Mono when I was in high school. Shared soda with a co-worker. High fever, couldn’t eat, got mad at my best friend for coming over to play board games to cheer me up. For some reason, she kept winning everything, and then doing a victory dance. I lost 10% of my body weight in a week.

  2. H1N1. My daughter’s school mates had a confirmed case and then it came to our house. The kids both caught it first. I remember being really worried about them, but they sailed through it. I was in bed for 2 weeks. I couldn’t do anything. When I was conscious I watched QVC and the Jewelry channel. They were enthralling. Haven’t watched them since. I’m just lucky I was too sick to figure out how to order anything. :rolleyes:

  3. Pneumonia. I’ve had it several times now (yay - asthma is my friend). It just sucks. High fever, can’t breath, coughing all the frickin’ time. Hate it.

Kidney stones suck. Also unmedicated childbirth (seriously don’t do it).

I’ve never been so sick I thought I might die, but there is one day in particular that I won’t soon forget. I was a young soldier in the Army doing AIT. I went home for Christmas leave. A part of the AIT culture is that all the students were expected to wear their uniforms to and from, and they literally had Drill Sergeants standing in the airport to enforce this rule.

All went well, until the day I had to travel back. The day before, my father got a vicious stomach bug and was completely incapacitated with vomiting and diarrhea. On the day of my flight I was in the airport, all dressed up in my Class A uniform, when I realized I had caught it, too. Practically the moment my plane left the ground I was in the latrine doing my thing. I was literally vomiting and suffering diarrhea at the same time. I had two flights that day, and then an hour-long bus ride back to the post. At one point I think I spent literally an hour sitting on an airplane lavatory. The plane would land and I would have to run to the nearest bathroom. I don’t even want to think about how many people probably got sick because of me.

Somehow I survived, so that night all my muscles were aching and I couldn’t even drink a Gatorade to replenish my fluids. The next morning the entire company had a 100% urinalysis, which is common whenever soldiers come back from block leave (that is, time set aside where virtually all the soldiers are expected to take leave, such as Christmas). I was so completely dehydrated that it took me probably five minutes of squeezing to produce just a tiny amount of urine, and it was so dark the color looked like apple juice. The NCO supervising the urinalysis was astonished and immediately sent me to the medic for an IV.