View Full Version : Back from near death experience...

12-26-2018, 06:24 PM
Well, it has been a while since I've been active on any forums, especially aquarium related forums.

Early in the year (Jan 28th to be exact), I was admitted to the hospital with severe chest pains. Long story short, I had pneumonia. Really bad pneumonia as a result of having had really bad FLU. On Jan 29th it was determined that my pneumonia was actually MRSSA Pneumonia and the decision was made to sedate me because the pain was so severe. On Feb 1st the MRSSA showed up in my blood and I literally started fighting for my life.

The MRSSA attacked pretty much every organ in my body and I wound up comatose for three and a half weeks and on February 27th, I was finally declared free of MRSSA and they began to reduce the sedation drugs. I was pretty much still unaware of anything for another week, and I remained in the hospital for nearly three months.

Of course, all of this was totally and completely unexpected. I was otherwise healthy, but a bout with the FLU lead to pneumonia, which went septic and within 5 days I went from healthy to my family not knowing if I would wake up the next day. The point is, medical emergencies can happen to any of us at any time with absolutely no warning.

I share this because there is a lesson for my fellow hobbyists. You see, while I was in the hospital, my family had no idea how to care for my fish. They knew I had nine tanks in my Man Cave, they knew I went there everyday to feed and once a week I would spend a few hours down there, but they didn't know what i was doing. They knew nothing about water changes, checking water parameters, what the different tank's requirements were etc. They knew fish need to eat, but that's about all they knew.

Long story short, while my family didn't know what to do, they did the best they could. However, by the time I was able to discuss what needed to be done, they had been fishing out dead fish almost daily. When I went into the hospital, I had nine tanks with over 120 fish. By the time I came home, I had less than 30 fish, and three of the tanks had suffered complete crashes. Three of the tanks were in such bad shape it was just a matter of time before I lost the fish remaining in those tanks, and two tanks were not healthy, but potentially salvageable. Only one tank seemed to be doing "OK" my large goldfish tank.

I tried, but within two more weeks, I had lost all the fish in six of nine tanks, and I was down to fewer than a dozen fish from well over 10 times that amount three months before. Over the next few months I continued to lose fish. I imagine it was just too much stress and even though I got their water parameters corrected, got them back on a regular feeding schedule of the correct foods, etc. I think it was just too much. I now have my snail tank (with a single raspbora who refuses to give up) and up until last week, one of my large goldfish, but a week ago, he started pine coning and didn't make it to Christmas.

So... Lesson. Teach SOMEONE how to care for you fish in your absence, or at the very least, write detailed instructions.

One of my tanks is built into the wall, and I don't want an empty hole there, so I will start again and keep at least one tank, but take it from me you will be well served to teach someone how to take care of your fish should you suddenly not be able to do so.

12-26-2018, 06:36 PM
My goodness, what an ordeal.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about all that you have been through, and my sincerest condolences for all of the fish you lost.

And it may sound cliche, and you've probably already heard this, but the fish can be replaced...YOU cannot.

Just glad that you have made it through this terrible health scare...welcome back, Paul.

I'm going to make a notebook for my family with detailed instructions on how to care for my fish, in case of something just like this happens to me...thanks for the inspiration

12-26-2018, 09:09 PM
So glad to hear you're OK after all of what you suffered through. Last year's flu season was a particularly bad one. A former work colleague of mine passed away last February within days of being diagnosed with the flu. Healthy, 57 yr old father and grandfather.

For those that might have a relationship with a LFS nearby, they might also be a source of assistance caring for someone's tanks. A visit to check on things, instruct others in the family, perform some water changes themselves, or even to find other fishkeepers nearby to help periodically. Established tanks can often go a few weeks without a water change, but a few months can certainly lead to disasters. And family members concerns are certainly focused on the person who is ill.

12-26-2018, 09:48 PM
I am also sorry to hear of the ordeal you went through, and glad you are well. Sorry for the loss of your fish and tanks as well. Very good idea to have a backup just in case. Thankfully my enthusiasm has rubbed off on my Sister and I always have a backup at home, and she has one in me.

12-26-2018, 10:07 PM
Last year's flu season was a particularly bad one. A former work colleague of mine passed away last February within days of being diagnosed with the flu. Healthy, 57 yr old father and grandfather.

That is some scary stuff...

12-27-2018, 12:44 AM
Oh my goodness, Paul! I'm so glad you are alright now!

12-27-2018, 08:30 PM
I've thought about this, off and on, ever since I started keeping aquariums. What would my hubby do about my tanks if something happened to me? First, he isn't the least bit interested in them, and secondly, he would be clueless as to how to maintain them.

So, I have to decide. Write out detailed instructions and hope he understands and follows them correctly (maybe yes, maybe no, maybe not quite), or instruct him to sell my fish and tanks altogether if he finds the tasks overwhelming, which he may. In the case of my death, that would probably be the best answer. Maintaining my tanks after I'm gone would be an unfair burden to impose on him, since he would have no desire to carry them on.

On the other hand, should I come back, I would probably be in the same situation you were -- having to start over. Then the question would be, would I feel up to the new challenge and want to continue keeping fish?

We never know when our lives might drastically change. I need to attend to these details while I can.

Glad you made it. You had a really close call. I hope you've now gotten the pneumococal pneumonia vaccine. I have had that, and also the shingles vaccine, as I had chicken pox as a kid.

Several decades ago, I caught the Hong Kong Flu while it was raging through the population. It almost killed me, but I've never contracted any Flu virus since, and I've never had a Flu shot. I credit a strengthened immune system for that. I'm not sure of the wisdom of getting a Flu shot, as I've heard of people contracting the Flu after getting vaccinated against it.

But, I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone else from getting a Flu shot, as some folks are really vulnerable to catching the Flu, and it can be deadly. Those who do get it after the vaccine usually find it much milder and certainly survivable.

Welcome back. Please post pics when you get your tank(s) up and going again. We'd love to see what you'll be having.

01-02-2019, 10:09 PM
Well now it's time for a near-life experience, hopefully.

01-04-2019, 12:54 PM
Well now it's time for a near-life experience, hopefully.

Trust me, I have not taken life lightly since that experience! I have been living life to the fullest!!

Now I'm just trying to figure out what I want to do with my 55 Gallon in wall tank.

02-26-2019, 01:05 AM
Hi, Paul. Just now read this. Congratulations on your continued existence! Sorry to hear about the fish losses. That must just add insult to injury, coming home to that. Small price to pay for coming home, though. Good to have you back with us.

03-05-2019, 06:25 PM
Hi, I only just read this now, wow, what a scary experience for you and the whole family! Your story really brings it. I do understand how life can change drastically at a glance, I don't take anything for granted.

But for my fish tanks, I'm in the same boat, it's all me in the fishroom. I really don't have anyone to take care of the tanks if something happens that I'm not there for months. I can't think of one person. Isn't that sad? Anyway, something to think about for sure.

Welcome back and thanks for sharing your story. Sorry about your tanks and fish, but slowly you can get them back I'm sure. It's just wonderful you are able to! Welcome back :)