Much Goings On


Hospital

Hospital (Photo credit: José Goulão)

     I know I know, it took me awhile to get around to my blog.  Apologies to all my readers, life has been crazy.

     I’ve always written that I want to be honest and true to myself in my writing, otherwise what’s the point?   It really was a rough summer for me and a personal low.  I think I already wrote about my new ulcer, if I haven’t just know that I have a new ulcer.  I think it was July when I landed  back  in the hospital and my labs were really good so I thought I would be going home, I didn’t realize that right behind me my blood pressure decided to do something ridiculous like be 50/30, so once again I found myself in ICU

     I think I’ve always made it clear to everyone that I’m a chronic pain patient in pain management and on some pretty heavy pain medication, and when I can’t keep anything down that includes my pain medicine so by the time I get to the ER I’m in pretty rough shape from the pain.  However I knew there wasn’t a lot they could do for me with my low bp, but by the next morning it was back to normal.  The doctor came in to make rounds and I asked him to put me back on my oral pain meds or injections and imagine my surprise when he said no that every time I’m in the hospital I’m on morphine and  I was a drug seeker.  Really?  I had my meds in my purse not 5 feet away from me.  I explained that to him to no avail.  I was so upset I left and I just managed to stay out of the hospital until last night.  A couple of trips to the ER aside.

     evidently, he was the only doctor on staff who felt that way, because every time I’ve been in the ER I’ve been given pain meds and no, I didn’t ask for them.  I guess I’m now a little defensive about the whole damn subject.

     Last week, my husband had to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and he’s been out of work for the better part of a month and I can’t remember a time when we’ve been this  broke.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re getting by day by day but wondering where the grocery money is going to come from is stressing us both out.  Did I mention we’re supposed to move in about 11 days and I have no idea where the money to close is going to come from?  I’m keeping the faith the Lord will provide.

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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.

My Apologies


     I’ve never gone this long without a post and I’m not sure I know why.  Getting through the holidays was hard for me this year.  Four months later and I’m still struggling with the loss of my best friend, Michelle.  I’m feeling mired in the mud and the muck of depression.

     I ended up right back in the hospital only a week after my last discharge.  I had a pancreatitis flare up that was as bad as it gets.  I was vomiting constantly for well over 2 days and I hardly had the energy to actually get up and go to the hospital.  Rudy kept telling me I needed to go, and for some reason when I’m that sick, my mind is telling me I’m not that sick.  It got really bad this time.  In fact while Rudy was at work, something in me finally told me I needed to get to the hospital RIGHT NOW.  I actually called him at work and told him I was going to call an ambulance.  Out of nowhere a feeling of impending doom came over me.  I thought I was going to die.

     In the morning my blood sugars were 148, a little high but I chose not to take an insulin injection due to not being able to keep anything down if they were to go too low.  When I checked again they were at 248, so I gave myself 3 units.  It was an hour later that I called Rudy and he came home immediately to take me.  When they drew my labs my blood sugars were just over 900!  I couldn’t believe they had gone that high, that fast.  One of my enzymes, I forget which were supposed to be in the 200 range were 1200, and even the next day instead of going lower went higher to 1500.

     As soon as the nausea and vomiting were under control I was starving.  I think at that point it had been 3 days that I hadn’t eaten.  Of course with the pancreatitis one of the treatments is complete rest of the digestive system.  I also had an infection somewhere because my wbc (white blood count)  was pretty high as well.  By day 3 in ICU my numbers were back to normal.

     I guess I’ve been getting pretty discouraged that I don’t seem to be able to have any control over my health or what my body decides to itself.

     I feel spent emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason why this pancreatitis flares up.  It seems to be out of nowhere.  Looking back I believe it was God that gave me the feeling of impending doom, given all my numbers Rudy and I both were surprised I was still conscious, and we do believe that if he had not gotten me to the hospital as quickly as he did that I might not have been alive had we waited until he got home from work.

     I’m going to spend more time in prayer and try to turn my perspective around.  I like me a lot better when I have a more positive frame of mind.  I do believe my emotions and mental state has a lot to do with my health.  I should have written sooner.  Won’t let that happen again.  Love to all, thanks for reading and as always comments are welcome and appreciated.

Mrsa, Mothers, Math, and Morphine


     There was a time back in ’01 and ’02 that hospital acquired MRSA was a struggle for my life.  I was recovering from a colostomy reversal and  for a while at least it seemed my post-op was fairly typical.  About 3 to 4 weeks into my recovery  I started getting cellulitis.  As long as I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics it seemed to hold the infection at bay.  Whenever I went home and was off the IV antibiotics, the infection would come back with a vengance.  Consequently, that year I was in and out of the hospital, there must have been at least 2 dozen admissions.

     That particular hospital was right across the street from my daughter’s school and I think she was in 4th or 5th grade at the time.  The hospital would be sure to put me in a 2 person room that was empty and if I was in the hospital, that’s where Sarah would go after school.  She would hang with me,  they would send up a meal tray for her and let her spend the night with me.  It was a great thing the hospital did for me and my daughter.  I remember one time she heard another elderly patient crying and my daughter asked my nurse about him.  The nurse told her that he was here from the nursing home and he was scared about being in an unfamilier environment.  Sarah picked up her paper and pencils and went across the hall to go visit with him.  She drew pictures for him while telling him that the people there were going to help him and that everything was going to be all right.  She said she was right across the hall if he needed anything, and you could hear him calm down.

     She came back across the hall and asked me if I could help her with her math homework.  I said I’d be more than happy to.  I remember going over each math question so carefully and taking so much time with each one to make sure she was on the right track.  I also remember the next day she came over and told me she got an “F.”  Well, damn.  To this day I believe a few things:  My daughter really touches my heart with her compassion and kindness, my math skills are far behind what is required these days, I can add, subtract, multiply and do long division, but in the end I blame it on the morphine.

What Was this Doctor Thinking????


     A couple of months after the hospital visit in Indianapolis I got really sick again.  I’m 5’6″ and got down to 110 pounds.  On my large frame it looked terrible.  I was having a pancreatitis flare-up and I was throwing up so much.  My poor husband said I looked like I was wasting away, and told me I really needed to get back to the hospital.  I knew it but was trying to avoid it.  It was time.

     I didn’t go to my usual hospital, I couldn’t deal with the 10 mile drive as sick as i was feeling so I went to the one right down the road from me.  They were bought by another hospital and I was starting to hear good things about them.  I should have known better.

     When I got there the nurse was one that I knew and was very kind.  I told her what had been going on with me and gave her my updated med list.  The doctor came in very quickly and asked me about the dilaudid and morphine, he wanted to know if I had the bottles with me in my purse.  I told him they were at home in a lock box and should I have someone bring them in.  He said not to bother that he would just verify with the pharmacy.  No problem though I thought it was unusual given that it had never happened before.  I also gave him my history and one of the things I mentioned was that when I was on antiflamatories before I got a GI bleed so severe that it put me in a coma and when I arrived at that very hospital my blood pressure was 40/20.  Easily verified because it was at the same hospial.

     He ordered phenergan for the nausea and torodol for pain.  Torodol is an antinflamatory which I refused due to the high risk of GI bleeding.  Then he hurt me.  He ordered a shot of nubain which is a narcotic with an opiate blocker, though I didn’t know that at the time.  He knew and verified with my pharmacy that I was on daily narcotics, the dilaudid and the morphine.  Anytime one is on daily narcotics they develops a tolerance to them and going off of them abruptly will cause physical withdrawal symptoms.  The pain medicine he gave me put me in instant withdrawal thereby making me sicker.  It took a good 6 hours to wear off and at that point I really did want someone to bring in my dilaudid and morphine.  I looked up the nubain when I came home and the manufacturer clearly states that it is not to be used with someone who is on daily opiate/narcotic maintenance, due to the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

     I’m so angry, why on earth did that doctor do that to me?  What was he thinking?  As a patient I have the right to appropriate pain management and that is not what I got.  How could I address this in the future?  I feel like anything I do or say is only going to make me appear “drug seeking.”  I wasn’t seeking drugs I have them at home.  I was however looking for pain relief and that is not what I got.  I feel like the doctor saw my med list and made judgements based on that.  The lab work supported that I was sick and in fact was admitted to the ICU.  The doctor making rounds in the morning would not change the ordered meds and I can only wonder if this is the hospital culture, to avoid the use of effective pain medicine.  I gave them my pain managements number and urged them to call him.  Of course that did not happen.  Please comment and hospitals workers please chime in.  Should I avoid this hospital al together?  That’s what I’m thinking now.

Dodging Bullets


     The title certainly seems to be the theme of the last couple of years.  I have much to tell.  I just got home from being in the hospital in Indianapolis after 8 long days.  The drive home was over 100 miles and I’m just worn out mentally,  physically,  and spiritually,   frankly I’m depleted.

     I’ve been through the gamut of emotions this past week, from despair, to finding whatever humor I could in the situation.  I’ll start blogging about it soon, now I’m still trying to process it all.  My timelines are confused and I haven’t even pieced it all together yet.