One Foot in the Grave and the other on a Banana Peel, and then I Slipped

     It’s been a bad few weeks and I don’t even know where to begin.  I guess I’ll start with the bladder infection, only because any time I get an infection of any kind my blood sugars spiral out of control very quickly and I end up chasing them.  It doesn’t work, I just get sicker and sicker and the sicker I get, the higher my blood sugars get and all cognitive function and reasoning flies out the window.

     All I could do was sleep, and that should have been my first clue that things were going to spiral out of control.  I just didn’t see it.  I had a change in my pain meds, and some other meds and I attributed my sleepiness to that.  What a fool I was, and this time it almost cost me my life.

     My daughter Sarah came home on Friday and immediately knew that something was very wrong.  I had been vomiting and she emptied my basin for me and told me I needed to get to the hospital.  I’m ashamed to say that all I could do was beg her not to wake up her dad and I do remember telling her that if I didn’t feel better the next day I would go.  It was extremely unfair of me to put that burden on her.  If I had died I can only imagine how she would blame herself.  When I see her this weekend I’m going to tell her that when I’m that sick she should ignore whatever I’m saying and just do what she thinks is the right thing.

     Rudy was getting an idea already that I was getting pretty sick, but I’ve become a master at hiding from him just how sick I am.  The rest of the story is based on what I remember, which is pretty sketchy and filled in by what Rudy, Sarah and the Doctors and Nurses at the hospital told me.

     It was now Saturday and I don’t remember if all of this took place before or after Sarah’s shift at Walgreens.  I remember that she was pretty mad at me for not going to the hospital like I promised her and for not letting Rudy know just how bad it had gotten, I didn’t realize how sick I really was.  It must have been late, he had fallen asleep on the couch and he tells me that something, he doesn’t know what, but we credit it to God woke him from a sound sleep telling him that he needed to check on me.  He said he could smell the acetone on my breath as soon as he opened the door and I remember him saying that I had to get to the hospital.  Even then I tried to argue with him that I wasn’t that sick.

     He said I was slurring my words and I looked like I was dying.  I heard him tell Sarah to call 911 for an ambulance, even then I thought he was overreacting.  I remember him dressing me before the ambulance got here and I remember him saying that if it didn’t get here in a minute he was going to put me in the truck and take me himself.  He picked me up and carried me out of the bedroom into the living room.  I remember seeing the ambulance pull up to our door and Rudy lifted me up and carried me to the gurney and walked me outside.

     Our town just within this past month went from strictly EMS service to advanced life support with paramedics, and what a blessing that was to me.  Rudy walking me outside is the last thing I remember before getting to the hospital. 

     I remember only a few minutes of the ER., and I’m ashamed of every one of them.  I was surrounded by doctors and nurses and it seemed they all had their hands on me at once cutting off my clothes and doing things to me, all without talking to me and I was extremely combative.  I remember trying to fight them all off of me and in my head I was thinking I just needed them to slow down and tell me what they were doing.  That’s the last thing I remember and the next thing I knew was that I was in a room and there was a cna in there and I asked where I was.  I was told in ICU and then I asked what hospital I was in.  I had no sense of time lost even though it was almost 3 days later.

     It was my husband who told me I was intubated in the ER.  Evidently my efforts to breathe was not moving oxygen.  I do know that my first day of awareness, I was hallucinating.  I don’t know if that was residual effects from the sedation drugs or not.  I kept hearing Rudy call my name when he wasn’t in the room.  I also remember thinking or knowing that I was hallucinating but not to tell anyone or I’d be heading to the “One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” hospital.

     This is what I know now.  I’ve been sufferring from anxiety attacks ever since I’ve been home and I’m afraid to fall asleep when I’m here by myself.  I don’t know if you can get PTSD from a hospital stay, but I really do feel shell shocked.  The ER doctor told Rudy that had he waited another hour I would not be here.  I’m frightened,  and I don’t remember ever feeling quite so vulnerable as I do now.  I don’t know how to cope with this, it’s beyond me.


Time to Talk about it.

     I guess it’s time to talk about it.  Right before Thanksgiving I got really sick in a way that I’ve never been before.  I went to the hospital I usually go to and it was pretty quickly determined that I needed to go to Indianapolis by ambulance.  By the time the ambulance arrived I’d had about 4 bags of saline IV run wide open.  This will be important later.

     It was about a 3 hour trip and it became clear halfway there that they should have put a foley catheter in because I had to pee in the worst way.  There were no bed pans and as much as I begged the paramedics they would not pull over at a gas station so I could pee while wearing my paper gown and carrying my IV bag.  So picture this.  I have to pee standing up in the ambulance doing 79  mph while trying to hold my paper gown closed and using the same hand to balance on the wall while peeing into what could best be described as a diaper wipe container.  I also made the medic crawl into the front seat with his partner.  I have to say I’m pretty pissed (pun intended) about the whole damn issue.  My next post will be all about the new disease I managed to get requiring another surgery.

3 Doctors, No Waiting

     Pancreatitis is an inflamation of the pancreas that can  cause severe pain, vomiting, organ failure or even death.  It’s not something you want to mess around with.  There is some debate among my doctors on whether I have acute or chronic that becomes acute.

     At one point when I was in the hospital with it, I had three doctors coming to see me every morning.  A general practioneer, an internist, and a surgeon.  They would come in one at a time, and every doctor would contradict the one that came in before.  It was crazy, the surgeon wanted to cut, the internist didn’t, and the GP would want to wait and see.  I finally called them on it and told all of them to meet for coffee in the morning and come to a consensus before coming to see me.  It’s completely unfair and confusing to the patient. 

     I can think of a couple things they did agree on.  I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2002, not too long after the multiple surgery fiasco that began with a perfed bowel and ended with MRSA.  I was only on the oral diabetic meds for a couple of months before I was put on insulin.  That, coupled with the times I had DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) gave the internist reason to think I was a type 1 diabetic and not a type 2.  Further testing did bear that out.  To be honest at the time I didn’t think it made a difference what type I am, but it turns out to be very relavent.  The complications are more severe, and tighter control at least for me seems to be harder.  I’m still struggling with it every day.  Every time I get sick my sugars increase, the more my sugars increase the sicker I get and on and on it goes.

     It’s also when I found out, that all the infection I got after my colostomy reversal surgery was hospital aquired MRSA.  I remember on my upteenth community hospital stay for mrsa when my doctor came in and told me they didn’t have the capability to adaquetely treat me there and had to tranfer me via ambulance to the larger city hospital.  It’s so hard when they transfer me.  I’m farther from home, so I don’t get many visits, and it’s always long distance so I can’t make phone calls.  It feels very isolating and lonely.

     Pain meds are another thing that’s likely to cause issues in the hospital.  If you’re supposed to get a shot every 4 hours, you frequently will wait 5 before you get another one.  A lot of nurses were very judgemental and would lecture me while giving me my shot, there would be alot of discomfort about asking for one for that reason.  I do remember a nurse waking me up about a half hour after giving me a shot to ask me to rate my pain.  It does happen folks, I really was woken up to see if I wanted my sleeping pill.

     To be fair, I also had some wonderful nurses, I remeber one in particular that sat at the end of my bed and just listened to me.  It was a few days after I woke from a coma, and was scared to death.  I’ll write more about that later.