Irene Baylon Never Imagined Knee Pain Would End Up Saving Her Life.

Irene Baylon Never Imagined Knee Pain Would End Up Saving Her Life.

Irene BaylonIt was two days before Christmas but celebrating the holidays was the last thing on my mind.

I was in the emergency room at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System and in unbearable pain. I had deep ulcers on my knees - I have lupus, which makes me susceptible to infection. The ulcers had gotten so bad the skin and tissue were broken down almost to the bone. I couldn't even walk into the emergency room on my own, and to top it off, I was having trouble breathing.

It didn't take long for doctors and nurses to see I had an even bigger problem. That's when I met Dr. Machado. He diagnosed me with pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening condition that causes arteries in the lungs to narrow or become blocked, also referred to as high blood pressure in the lungs. My heart was under a dangerous level of stress, made even worse by the excess fluid my body was holding after intravenous therapy I'd recently had for my lupus. It's what was also causing my breathing problems.

Dr. Machado worried I wouldn't make it; things looked so bad he stayed at the hospital well into the night over the next two days, watching over me.

Thanks to my guardian angel, the team of doctors and nurses taking care of me, and powerful medication, I did make it. Over the next three weeks in the hospital, I lost 50 pounds of fluid. They cleaned the blackened tissue from my knees so those wounds could start healing. I started physical therapy to learn to walk again.

It took six months but my wounds finally healed. I'm walking, and even driving again and my lupus is under control. I'm on IV medication 24 hours a day and will be for the rest of my life to prevent heart failure from the pulmonary hypertension. But I also have new friends who are there for me 24 hours a day too. I can call or text Dr. Machado and his nurse Kami, any time for anything, and I hear back from them right away. They were on top of anything I needed.